Getting Started with the Exam-Dissertation Sequence

The Exam-Dissertation Sequence (EDS) is a 6-step, scaffolded process that enables you to earn credit for work that prepares you for your qualifying exams and dissertation research. Use these checklists to get started.

Select the links on the left to learn more or to complete the checklist item. (Each link will open in a new window)

Become Familiar with the High Level Exam-Dissertation Sequence

Also, check out the EDS Mythbusters!
Read about our fundamental approach to this self-regulated, yet scaffolded and supported process.

When you think about getting started with the EDS and having to write a dissertation, that can sound overwhelming. But when you think about small milestones and being on a “journey of discovery”, this can open yourself up to having a more encouraging and enjoyable experience.
Create your EDS Progress ReportCreate your EDS Progress Report to indicate your intent to begin the Exam-Dissertation Sequence and share your tentative research question (if known). At the early stages, that tentative question is simply to help us have an idea of your potential domain. You should add a status entry at least once per term to keep us updated on your progress.
View the EDS Onboarding Video and Attend the Live Session

View the Happening Now page for an upcoming schedule
The purpose of the EDS Onboarding (video and Q&A session) is to help you become familiar with the Exam-Dissertation Sequence (EDS), including the process and requirements before you are officially ready to begin. However, the EDS Prework page links you to several admin updates in the community that provide additional detail.
Become Familiar with the EDS ResourcesThe EDS part of our LDL website is where all of the “process” details can be found, but there are several resources embedded into the Community on CGSCholar. Note that we regularly update the website, so it is important that you revisit it often.
Map Out Your TimelineSetting goals early can help you stay motivated during this mostly self-regulated and self-paced process. It is possible to get distracted or discouraged during this process, but not unsurmountable if you leverage the scaffolding and support opportunities that we provide. While registration may be for a single term, the milestones of the EDS each typically take one semester. The overall process will typically take a minimum of 3 years for someone who is working on this part-time.
Complete the EDS SurveyComplete the EDS Survey as close to when you are starting the EDS Prework as possible to provide us with a baseline of your perspectives. This survey is used to help us improve your experience and for research purposes. Your participation is greatly appreciated. We ask that you complete the survey again periodically (about two to three times a year) throughout your experience in the EDS.
Join the EDS Online CommunityWe use a single community on CGScholar (LDL Doctoral Dissertation Sequence) for all steps in this sequence, regardless of when you begin.
Complete the EDS Prework

Optional: Look ahead at the  General Field admin updates
Complete the EDS Prework at least one semester prior to formally beginning the EDS. Anytime following, you are welcome to begin the General Field admin updates to become acclimated to the small action items we ask you to complete before jumping into your full General Field literature review.
Complete the EDS Registration (Seminar Request) FormRegistering for courses in the EDS requires a form (you’ll see a message in the registration system that this requires instructor approval).
Schedule Individual Advising Session(s)This is a brief (5-15 minutes) session to check-in and ensure that you feel equipped to begin the EDS. You are welcome to come prepared to discuss your tentative research question, but you will dig into this more while working on the General Field steps. Contact Dr. Francis to arrange your initial individual advising session before you formally begin working on the General Field steps and after you have completed the EDS Onboarding steps referred to above.
Consider attending at least one EDS Group Advising Session prior to officially beginning

Visit the Happening Now page to see the latest schedule
Much of the work at this stage is self-directed. However, we hold periodic workshops, peer group sessions, writing retreats, individual advising sessions, and weekly group advising sessions.

*Workshops, peer presentations for prelim or final defense, and peer group sessions are typically held on Mondays between 5:30 and 7:30 p.m. CT
*Group Advising Sessions are typically held most Mondays from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. CT and some Tuesdays from 9 to 10 a.m. CT.

This action item technically falls within your progress in the general field, but we are placing it here because you are encouraged to look at the General Field requirements and updates in advance and complete this step before officially beginning the EDS if you feel you have already read a fair amount of literature on your proposed general field. But you are welcome to wait until you are actively ready to begin the EDS (and the General Field).

  • This advising session will be with both Dr. Kalantzis and Dr. Francis and/or during a group advising session.
  • Complete the update in the community to document your initial thinking
  • Prepare a single slide that outlines your tentative research question, proposed general field domain(s), and any questions that you might have (i.e. is this too narrow? too broad? My question has multiple domains, which one should I pursue for my general field? etc.)
  • Record a short video summarizing your thoughts. Include the recording date and the current stage of your journey to provide context, as we’ll have you record another video once you finalize your general field
  • This advising session is focused around your tentative research question and your proposed general field domain (not about a problem you want to solve or a perspective you want to prove). The general field is about exploring the history, definitions, theories, findings, and debates of your selected field.
  • Depending on the complexity of your interests, the duration can vary between 15 and 30 minutes
  • Sign up on the Google tracker to arrange this advising session after you have completed the update in the community