Third Year Theme Paper


Students will complete a Theme Paper requirement, in their third year of study. The Theme Paper can take several forms. It can be a publishable conceptual paper that would review the literature in the student's chosen sub-field, and, in doing so, put forth and defend a thesis. It can be a publishable policy paper, which would be similar to a conceptual paper but would focus more on policy. It can be an in-depth course outline that would describe in detail a new course that a student wishes to teach, explain its conceptual underpinnings, and discuss analytically and synthetically its readings and assignments.

This requirement will be fulfilled by approval of the Theme Paper by a committee of two Senate Faculty members in the Department of Education, with final review by the Ph.D. Steering Committee. One of the committee members will be the student’s advisor; the second member will be appointed by the Ph.D. in Education program director, in consultation with the student’s advisor.

Within 10 days of receipt of the paper, the committee will provide one of three marks: Pass, Revise/Resubmit, or No Pass, and will also provide written commentary for the student. The Ph.D. Steering Committee will review the scoring and the Dean will provide written notification of the Committee’s decision to each student.

Papers given a Pass successfully complete the requirement. Students who receive a Revise/Resubmit or a No Pass will have 30 days to revise and resubmit their paper for a second scoring by the committee. Students who receive a second No Pass will not be allowed to continue in the program.

(From Student Handbook, revised July 2012, pages 17-18)

Submission Guidelines

Students may submit their Third Year Theme Paper anytime from passing the Second Year Research Paper to September 15 of their Year 4.

Students email one .doc copy and one .pdf copy to

Submission Window for 2013

Papers may be submitted at any point during a rolling deadline following passage of the Second Year Research Paper through 5:00 pm on September 15, 2013.

Theme Essay Examples

Additional examples can be found in the following journals: