Aug 08, 2020  
2018-2019 Graduate Catalog 
    
2018-2019 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Liberal Studies, (DLS)


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Doctor of Liberal Studies Degree Program


Admission Standards


  • Hold an earned Master’s degree from a regionally accredited U.S. college or university.  International Master’s degrees will be evaluated on an individual basis.
  • Have a cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.25 on a 4.0 scale in all earned graduate coursework.
  • Acceptance to the University of Memphis Graduate School.
  • Submit a portfolio of professional work experience along with a detailed statement of educational and professional goals, along with three letters of recommendation.
  • Submit an original, research-based writing sample of 20-30 pages.
  • Submit a proposed Course of Study identifying specific courses (with substitutes) to be completed outside of the University College DLS Core.
  • Potential Interview with the Graduate Admissions Committee in the University College.
  • GRE is not required.

Program Requirements


  • Earn 54 hours of post-master’s coursework at the 7000 and/or 8000 course level.
  • Complete the 21 hours of University College core requirements (including the 6-hour Dissertation/Capstone Project)
    • Foundations in Liberal Studies (3)
    • Research in Interdisciplinary Studies (3)
    • Data-Based Decision Making (3)
    • Liberal Studies Seminar (3)
    • Prospectus Design (3)
    • Dissertation/Capstone Project (6)
    • Students who have previously completed UNIV 7000 , UNIV 7100 , or a quantitative research methods course may petition the Graduate Coordinator to apply these courses for the degree, though total credits required will not be reduced.
    • Students who have previously completed UNIV 7200  will need to complete UNIV 8200  with a separate topic than UNIV 7200 .
  • Complete 33 hours in two or more disciplines with no more than 18 hours in any one discipline.
  • Successfully complete comprehensive exams and defend the Dissertation/Capstone Project.
  • No more than two courses with a grade below B- may be counted towards the degree.
  • Students whose GPA remains below 3.0 for more than 2 consecutive semesters may be dropped from the program.

Comprehensive Exams


  • Comprehensive Exam committee
    • Each student’s committee members must include at least one member from each concentration and at least one member from the University College. Students, in conjunction with their advisor, will identify a Chair for their Oral Exams. This individual could also chair their Dissertation/Capstone Project.
  • Comprehensive Exam Questions
    • Questions will be determined by the faculty of the student’s program and based on the topics of the concentrations they have pursued. Comprehensive exams will include both written responses to faculty questions and an oral defense of those answers. Students will be required to answer written questions from each committee member, with up to two hours to answer questions posed by each committee member.
    • Oral exams will normally be held no sooner than two weeks after the written exams have been completed and no later than a month after written exams have been completed. Oral exams will include all members of the exam committee. Each committee member may question the student for up to 30 minutes.

For Students Completing a Dissertation


  • Dissertation Committee
    • The dissertation committee will normally consist of the student’s Comprehensive Exam committee, with, if needed, an appropriate qualitative or quantitative research specialist. At least one member from each of the student’s concentrations and at least one member from the University College is required. The Chair of the dissertation committee must have full graduate faculty status, and will receive a monetary stipend to act as Chair for a student outside of their department. Typically, a committee will include four to five people. 

  • Dissertation Expectations
    • The student’s committee must approve each dissertation prospectus. During the prospectus course (UNIV 8990), the dissertation will be outlined and approved by the committee with the expectation of appropriate professionalism, as well as academic rigor. Students are required to get this approved prior to registering for any dissertation hours.
    • Students completing a dissertation will create a research-based, interdisciplinary, original contribution that reflects the student’s ability to conduct independent research.

For Students Completing a Capstone Project


  • Capstone Project Committee
    • The Capstone Project Committee will normally consist of the student’s Comprehensive Exam committee, with, if needed, an appropriate qualitative or quantitative research specialist. At least one member from each of the student’s concentrations and at least one member from the University College is required. The Chair of the Capstone Project Committee must have full graduate faculty status, and will receive a monetary stipend to act as Chair for a student outside of their department. Typically, a committee will include four to five people.
  • Capstone Project Expectations
    • The student’s committee must approve each capstone project. During the prospectus course (UNIV 8990), the project will be outlined and approved by the committee with the expectation of appropriate professionalism, as well as academic rigor. Students are required to get this approved prior to registering for any capstone project hours. 

    • Though each project will be individualized for each project focus, every project will be required to include the following components, but are not limited to these topics alone:
      • Needs Analysis
      • Inventory of other similar community-based resources 

      • Potential stakeholders 

      • Impact within the community (For example; cultural, environmental, 
policy, or political impacts)
      • Literature review
        • Include case studies of similar projects should be identified
      • Methodology
      • Potential Budget, Financial Plan, and Sustainability
      • Results/Findings
        • If implementation is not planned during the duration of the capstone project, then a pilot must be implemented and results/findings discussed at the Defense.
      • Recommendations

Dissertation/Capstone Project Defense


  • Each student will provide either an electronic or hard copy of the written portion of her or his dissertation/capstone project to their committee members at least four 
weeks prior to the scheduled defense date. 

  • The defense of the student’s dissertation/capstone project will normally be an oral defense. Students should be prepared to give a brief summary of their work to the committee before fielding questions. The defense of the dissertation/capstone project should not last more than two hours, after which the committee should inform the candidate of its decision. 

  • As the University of Memphis offers dissertation and capstone hours on a Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory/In Progress basis, University College will not assign final grades to a student’s dissertation or capstone project. Nonetheless, each student should obtain a Defense Assessment Rubric from the Graduate Studies Coordinator and provide a copy to each member of her/his committee along with one copy of the Graduate School’s “Final Defense Results Form” to the committee chair. 


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