PhD Student Site


1st Year 1) Focus on course work. 2) Make a strong attempt to select a dissertation topic. 3) Make friends- a study buddy is essential to your progress. 4) Apply for Pi Alpha Alpha honor society induction
2nd Year1) Continue coursework. 2) Present paper at conferences- ASPA, SECOPA, etc. Continue refining your dissertation topic. 3) Publish (if possible). 4) Summer - Complete D1 to form dissertation committee. 5) Complete IRB training. 6) Complete Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) certificate.
3rd Year 1) Prepare for Comps. 2) Complete Proposal prior to taking the Comps exam 3) Prepare to defend proposal (D3) by specified deadlines to graduate within three semesters. 4) Attach IRB and RCR Certificate to D3. 5) Apply for funding (fellowship, grants, etc.) 6) Publish 7) Dissertation Writing
4th Year and beyond 1) Dissertation writing. 2) Complete forms D4-D7


Written One Day Exam

  • Morning Session: 8:00am - 12:00pm (2 questions)
  • Lunch: 12:00pm - 1:00pm
  • Afternoon Session: 1:00pm - 5:00pm (2 questions)


  • Proposal is due one week after the test.
  • 15 page maximum (as of Nov 16, 2010).
  • Note: Write your proposal prior to the test. Following the exam, expect physical and emotional exhaustion.

Oral Defense

  • 1 hour session
  • 30 min (approx) answering questions related to the exam
  • 30 min (approx) answering questions related to the proposal
  • Thoroughly review your exam to prepare for the oral defense.
  • Defense is scheduled approximately two weeks after the proposal is due
  • Note: One day prior to the written exam, you will receive the journal article. Take the day to read the article and prepare an outline or notes.

Study Guide

  1. History of PA
  2. Reforms
  3. Performance Management
  4. Quant & Qual - Article
  5. Practical Application
  6. Organizational Theory
  7. Bureaucratic Government

Comps Study Guide by Dr. Agatha Caraballo (PPT)


Dissertations from previous program graduates are available online at FIU Digital Commons