Foundation/Methodology Requirement

Students take at least four courses, often taught outside the department administering their major, that provide foundations for their major course work and methodology for their research. The faculty in each major specify the range of choice for these courses.


Early Research Requirement

Each student must complete two early research papers.  Normally the first is completed during the summer after the first year, and the second during the summer after the second year.  The student submits a one-page plan for summer research as part of their updated study plan on May 1.  This plan must be endorsed by a member of the doctoral faculty, who may or may not be the student’s adviser.  The student enrolls for three credits of early research under the faculty member’s supervision.  The faculty member assigns a grade at the end of the summer on the basis of the written paper, which must be submitted to the program office as approved by the faculty member in order for the grade for the three-credit summer work to be recorded. 

  • The first summer paper often either reviews an important but focused area of literature or replicates an important empirical study.
  • The second summer paper should demonstrate the student’s ability to initiate and complete an original research project. It may evolve into the student’s dissertation proposal.


All students must enroll in the first Early Research Requirement in the summer after their first year or earlier. Full-time students normally enroll in the second Early Research Requirement in the summer after their second year.


Professional Development Requirement

During their first year, students must attend a Professional Development Seminar that provides information about the university, the program, and the profession of university teaching.  The seminar meets on selected Monday mornings, mainly in the fall semester.  Attendance by all first year students is required.  Information about the seminar during the current academic year is maintained on a Blackboard site that can be accessed by all students and faculty in the program.


Teaching and Teacher-Training Requirement

In order to graduate, a student must teach at least one course in RBS in the area in which he or she is earning a doctoral degree. The student must also prepare a teaching portfolio, designed for prospective employers and containing a statement of teaching philosophy, syllabi and other teaching material, and peer evaluations of the student’s teaching.  These requirements apply whether or not a student is supported by the university with a TA stipend.  Students who are not supported as TAs are paid by the university as adjunct instructors when they teach.  The duties for students with TA stipends vary and may include working as a teaching assistant and occasionally as a research assistant, but during at least one semester, and possibly during several semesters, the TA duty will be to teach a section on one’s own. Students may request to waive the teaching requirements by consulting, and receiving approval from their department chair, doctoral coordinator, and advisor.  Please see the Teaching Waiver Form.

Students who are not already prepared to teach at the university level when they enter the program must complete an individualized Teacher Training Program, planned in consultation with their department chair and approved by their doctoral coordinator.  Students develop this plan as part of the study-plan update due December 1 of their first year.

Students with TA stipends attend a two-day teacher training program in August before they enter the program.  International students who enter as TAs attend an additional two-week teacher-training program in August.  All students, whether or not they have a TA stipend, may be required, as part of the plan for their teacher training, to attend additional training sessions or enroll in specific courses.  Many students take 26:120:560 Effective College Teaching before they teach a section on their own.

A student with a TA stipend may have different duties each semester.  Sometimes they work as a teaching assistant to a faculty member, sometimes they teach on their own, and sometimes they work as a research assistant.  When the student works as a teaching assistant to a faculty member, that faculty member is also responsible for further the student’s teacher training.  This is explained in the letter that is sent each semester to faculty with teaching assistants.

For additional information about improving teaching skills and preparing a teaching portfolio, see the Rutgers - New Brunswick Teaching Excellence Center, and the Teaching Assistant Project of the Rutgers – New Brunswick Graduate School.

English Proficiency Requirement

Students whose primary language is not English may need to take courses to improve their spoken and written English.

On entry, each student whose primary language is not English takes an examination to find out whether they need to take one or more of the following:

  • 26:049:109  Comprehension and Conversation
  • 26:049:110  Grammar and Composition
  • 26:049:113  Advanced Pronunciation
  • 26:049:501  Writing Seminar (Prerequisite: 26:049:110 or exemption)


These courses are offered at least once every year.  They are designed to bring the student’s English and writing proficiency up to the level of a U.S. high school graduate. The student may need to repeat one or more of the courses.

Students should take 26:049:501 in the first year or as soon as they have completed the prerequisite.  This course is also offered at least once each year.  It involves 1.5 hours of work in class each week, together with 1.5 hours of individual tutoring. It is a college-level writing course.  Students who need to take more than one of the high-school level courses (21:049:109, 21:049:110, 21:049:113) should give priority to 110 so that they can take 26:049:501 as soon as possible afterwards.  A student may request exemption from 26:049:501 on the basis of a sample of writing done for a course in their first semester and submitted to the instructor of the course for a grade.


Additional Requirements

At any time in the program, the faculty may ask a student to take additional work in order to correct deficiencies.  Decisions on additional course requirements are normally made by the student’s adviser, with the approval of the doctoral coordinator and the program director, when the student’s study plan is updated.  The additional work may be a full course, a short course, or individualized instruction such as that offered by the Rutgers-Newark Writing Center

The major part of the course requirements must be completed before the student takes the qualifying examination.  After the qualifying examination, students are expected to spend most of their time working on their dissertation.  But in many cases students find it wise to continue developing the breadth of their knowledge by taking a course or two each year at the dissertation stage.

Courses in English, writing, and pedagogy are not degree courses; they do not count towards the 72 credits required for the doctoral degree.  The normal course load at the course-work stage for a full-time student with an assistantship is 4 courses:  3 degree courses plus an English, writing, or pedagogy course if needed.  Self-supported full-time students frequently take 4 degree courses.


Changed by the Executive Committee, February 28, 2007.