Special Field

The Special Field is similar to the General Field, except that the Special Field represents a narrower topic and prepares you to justify your dissertation research questions and the contribution that your dissertation research will make.

This page and the related Admin updates will guide you through the process of identifying your Special Field of interest and identifying literature associated with your Special Field. This seminar will culminate in a literature review that you will then submit for your Special Field Qualifying Examination.


Refer to the General Field Workshop presentation for a reminder of key principles.

Assignments and Examination

Community Updates

Admin Updates with a prefix of 2

Admin UpdatesAction Item(s)
(specific instructions are found within each admin update)
2.0 Special Field Research Seminar and Examination
2.1 Addressing the Special Field
Your Annotated Bibliography
2.3 Special Field Literature Review

EDS Survey

  • Complete the latest iteration of the EDS Survey
Manuscript Milestones

Write a Literature Review, as outlined in the admin updates referred to above.

  • Your Special Field Literature Review should be a deep examination of your special field of interest. It should demonstrate that you have a wide understanding of the special field. It should address the theories, debates, challenges, findings, etc. as reported by the literature. It should not be a summary of what you know, think, or conclude. This should also address gaps from your general field.
  • Be sure to follow the Literature Review Guidance and tips outlined in our General Field presentation (which aligns with the special field).


  • Refer to the Work Submission and Review Process webpage for specific submission and review details and instructions (at this stage you will be duplicating the prior work, but do not do this too early. Follow the steps on the Work Submission page).
  • You earn a grade for the seminar once your work has been approved for peer review.
  • Earning a grade for the seminar is not the same as passing your examination. See below for examination details.

See Also


The work that will be assessed by your committee members for the examination will be the final peer reviewed work of that seminar, after you have completed necessary revisions based on peer review and then advisor feedback. Once you have completed the final deliverables of a particular course, complete the College of Education’s Qualifying Exam Information form indicating your desired exam(s).