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Collegial Cloud: Milestone 1

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Dissertation Prospectus

NOTE: This section applies to all programs except Health and Human Performance. The equivalent information for Health and Human Performance students is included in the document “HHP Milestone 1”.

The Dissertation Prospectus

The dissertation prospectus is a forward looking, preliminary plan for a student’s dissertation research. The prospectus is developed and evaluated in DISS 7010 for meaningful topic selection, logical soundness, and initial substantiation. Doctoral candidates may be asked to revise and refine their prospectus before submitting it to potential dissertation committee members. Potential committee members then assess the document relative to their interest and/or expertise in the research area which will determine their decision to serve on the committee or not.

Acceptable HHP Dissertation Research


All HHP pre-proposals are subject to approval by the Program Lead [See Milestone 2 document: Concordia University HHP Proposal Approval Form]. All topics must be directly related to the field of Exercise Science. Students must collect original data as part of their dissertation, and this cannot begin until they have CUC IRB approval. Retrospective data or secondary analysis of database content will NOT be approved for dissertations.  Dissertation project inquiries may be sent to the program coordinator or department chair at any time during your CUC residency to determine if a future idea or area of inquiry would be appropriate for a doctoral dissertation.

Comprehensive Exam FAQ (does not apply to DBA students)

NOTE: This section applies to all EdD/PhD programs except Health and Human Performance. The equivalent information for Health and Human Performance students is included in the document “HHP Milestone 1”.

Q: What is the Comprehensive Exam?

The comprehensive exam is a written exam in two parts that is administered in Blackboard. The purpose of the exam is to evaluate a) your content knowledge and your ability to apply that knowledge to address a problem in the field, and b) your ability to formulate a scholarly argument based on a literature review on a topic of your choice. Successful completion of the comprehensive exam is a major step that leads to admission to doctoral candidacy in the Concordia University Chicago doctoral programs. College of Education comprehensive exam guidance can be found here.

Q: What does the Comprehensive Exam entail?

There are two parts to the exam. Each part requires a comprehensive written response of no more than 15 pages per part (not including references or appendices). You are expected to follow the format of the current version of the APA manual. You must demonstrate the ability to communicate in a scholarly manner throughout your written responses. You are expected to use a substantial number of scholarly, peer-reviewed references to support your responses. A list of references cited should be included at the end of each response.

The two parts of the exam are:

  • Part A: Content Specialization
  • Part B: Scholarly Literature Review on a topic in your area of specialization.

Q: When am I eligible to take the Comprehensive Exam?

Students must have successfully completed all the coursework with a GPA of 3.0. Successful completion of the comprehensive exam is a major step that leads to admission to doctoral candidacy in the Concordia University Chicago doctoral programs. Admission to doctoral candidacy means that you may request the formation of your doctoral dissertation committee and begin working on your dissertation proposal.

Q: How do I register for the exam?

You must submit the required Intent to Take Comprehensive Examination form and then register for the examination in Banner. The form is located in the Collegial Cloud under the “Milestone 1” tab. Your Intent is submitted via e-mail to the Office of Doctoral Programs at

Q: How long do I have to complete the exam?

You have 3 weeks from the opening of the examination period on Blackboard to submit your examination. Late exams are not accepted. If the exam is not submitted by the stated deadline it will not be reviewed and you will need to re-register for the next term.

Q: How do I submit my exam?

Your exam is submitted as an assignment in Blackboard: Select “Comprehensive Examinations” from the menu on the left and then click on the title of your exam (e.g., “COMPREHENSIVE EXAMINATION – EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION”) from the list. You will be brought to the “Upload Assignment” page. Attach your exam in the “Assignment Submission” section and then click the “Submit” button at the bottom of the screen.

The exam must include page numbers and references after each part of the exam. Parts 1 and 2 must be submitted together as one document. Since your exam will be reviewed anonymously, please DO NOT include your name on any portion of the exam. Neither a cover page nor a running head is necessary.

Q: How is the comprehensive exam graded?

The submitted exam will undergo a blind review by two faculty members who will evaluate your work based on the rubrics. You will be notified via your CUC email by the Office of Doctoral Programs whether or not you have passed each or both parts of your comprehensive exam approximately two weeks after the exam due date.

In order to earn a Pass, you must have earned a Proficient/Pass in all categories in both the Part A: Specialization Rubric and the Part B: Literature Review Rubric. The grade (Pass/Fail) will be posted on your grade section of the Banner Services and will be reflected on your transcript after the end of the term. In order to pass the Comprehensive Exam and move onto Doctoral Candidacy, you must receive a PASS on both parts of the exam.

Q: What if I earn “Developing/Not yet pass” or “Unacceptable” on one or both parts of the exam?

If this is the case, you will be given the opportunity to revise your exam. You may contact the CULearn Writing Center for additional writing support. You will have two weeks from the time you receive your Comprehensive Exam evaluation results to complete your revisions. Your examination will be re-assessed and you will be notified of the results within two weeks after the re-write due date. If you do not revise your comprehensive exams, based on the rubrics and reader feedback on areas in which you earned Developing or Unacceptable, you will earn a FAIL and will have to register for the exam again.

Q: What happens after I pass the exam?

Upon successful completion of the comprehensive examination, you may apply for candidacy by submitting the Application for Admission to Candidacy to the Office of Doctoral Programs. You will receive this form as an e-sign document from Adobe Sign.

Leave of Absence

A leave of absence is a temporary postponement of studies at the university with the intention of resuming within 180 days. A student currently enrolled at Concordia University Chicago, and who plans to return within 180 days, must request an official leave of absence. The student must submit the University Withdrawal/Leave of Absence form (available in the CUConnect Repository) to his/her Graduate Program Specialist (GPS). Leave of absence status indicates that no course work is being taken at that time. Please contact the Financial Aid office ( with questions about financial aid and the Office of the Registrar ( with questions about enrollment verification. Only under extraordinary circumstances, as approved by the Office of the Registrar, may the leave of absence status be extended. A student on leave of absence does not need to apply for readmission to the university, but must contact his/her academic advisor to resume studies. A student who is absent for more than 180 days will be administratively withdrawn from the university for non-attendance. International students requesting a leave of absence (which is different from Annual Leave) should contact the Center for International Student Services at

Doctoral Research Support


When locating empirical research and peer-reviewed content for your dissertation, use the Library’s resources: