What questions do you have?

by | November 12, 2008

You’ve read what we have to say, but now it’s your turn. What questions do you have? Let our collective expertise and experience help you with the most challenging of situations. Our commitment to you is to have at least two of our advisors respond with advice. We recognize that your learning needs vary greatly, as does your experience, goals, skills, and responsibilities. Similarly, our advising techniques can vary, so let the group perspective help you make a more informed decision before you take your next steps.

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125 Responses to "What questions do you have?"

  1. Sais Singh says:

    One of my colleagues had a problem with his mentor. She had some personal problems that prevented her from reviewing his work, causing him to be delayed by two quarters. He had to pay for the two additional quarters. Has anyone else experienced this?

  2. Laura Hutt says:

    Dear Sais,

    Thank you for your question. It is unusual that anyone must pay for additional quarters because of a mentor’s personal problems. Remember that the dissertation process is a reciprocal process. The best way to avoid the scenario is to establish a working relationship with your mentor before you begin the dissertation process.

    • Establish realistic timelines for each milestone.
    • Establish communication schedule with your mentor and honor it.
    • If you need to speak with your mentor at an unscheduled time, make an appointment.
    • Keep in contact with your academic advisor; make an appointment.
    • Post all emails and written communications to your mentor through the 9920 courseroom.
    • If you don’t keep to the schedule; don’t expect your mentor to respond on schedule.

    We know that occasionally the mentor/learner relationship is not working effectively and must be changed. If a learner’s mentor is unable to perform his or her duties, then the learner should seek a new mentor: this could be the original mentor’s chair, a current committee member, or a new mentor altogether. Most mentors will recuse themselves if they are not able to perform their duties. However, if the learner feels that the mentor is not responsive, then the learner should discuss this with his or her advisor and seek a new mentor.

    Laura Hutt
    Doctoral Advisor
    School of Business and Technology

  3. Jonathan Gehrz says:


    An interesting and somewhat unfortunate scenario, yet a good reminder to all of us that when it comes to a dissertation, it really requires all parties to be present and accounted for.

    Not having some critical information, it’s difficult to fully assess the situation and know exactly what happened, but a few initial thoughts:

    (1) Was each party diligent? That is, were resources and communication channels exhausted? How did the mentor communicate her situation and establish expectations for the period of time she was facing her challenges? What did your colleague do after two weeks of delay/no response? Did your colleague call, email, post in the courseroom to his mentor and express his concern about the delay? Was the mentor truly absent or did she acknowledge the work and simply not get back to your colleague with feedback promised? After a quarter delay, did your colleague and the mentor discuss the situation further or did he continue to let it move forward unresolved? Upon entering the second quarter, what communication occurred to help curtail the now established delays? If empty promises were being made, did your colleague explore all options with his advisor? Options such as a change in mentor, perhaps?

    (2) Where in the dissertation process is actually a significant variable to this equation too. A dissertation is rarely a linear process, so would be interesting to know what your colleague did these two quarters to continue his own progress. Certainly, there are points where a mentor’s review and approval is needed to move forward, but oftentimes, it important to remember that such delays can be minimized by approaching the dissertation on various fronts. Gets to the question, why exactly did this situation result in a two week delay?

    (3) Finally, options. Every situation always has options, so important to always remember that there no one path through a situation. Dissertation especially, at any stage, the process never goes forward as first planned. Having a “Plan B” at the ready is an always must for me, so looking back on the situation, what should Plan B have been for both your colleague and the mentor?

    Jon Gehrz
    Doctoral Advisor
    School of Education

  4. Sheryl Hess says:

    Sais, thank you for your question.

    The dissertation phase allows for the learner and mentor to establish a working relationship; this may be a bit different than in coursework. I agree with the factors that Laura outlined in her response so I will not repeat them.

    It is your responsibility to be proactive in the mentor/mentee relationship. If you do not receive a response in a timely manner, reach out to them and inquire about a status on the situation. Creating a schedule for contact or even outlining a timeline structure from which to guide you through your dissertation is an excellent way to keep on track; when things don’t go according to plan you then have a reference for restructuring.

    As much as there is variation in people’s style of working, so goes the mentor/mentee relationship. It is prudent to discuss expectations and work together to be cordial and productive. When adjustments need to be made, make them. Being clear in your communication is half the battle.

    Sheryl Hess
    Doctoral Advisor
    School of Education


    Question: What is the least number of literature review required for Comp’s and Dissertation purposes?

  6. Sheryl Hess says:


    Thank you for your question; it is one I am often asked. If I understand it correctly you are asking about the number of resources/references needed for the comprehensive exam.

    This question should truly be directed to your comps courseroom mentor as s/he would know the particulars of your specialization and School. Aside from that I typically tell learners to think about the number of references used for their course papers; although that may not be a valid indicator either.

    Consider how many sources you would need to thoroughly answer the comps question. I venture to say that 5 references is too few for one question and 50 may be too many – BUT once again, it depends on the topic and the extent of published scholarship. Have you addressed what you need to in order to answer the questions in a clear and concise manner.

    A good question for an incredibly situational circumstance.

    Sheryl Hess
    Advanced Learner Doctoral Advisor
    School of Education

  7. Mark Larson says:


    The first answer that pops into my head is: “As many as it takes.” While that may sound a bit flip, it really gets to the crux of the issue. This is a question that is often posed by learners. But because it is truly a question that pertains to the academic side of your program, I suggest you discuss it with faculty when you reach these phases of your program. You will then have a better idea of the scope of the examination questions and your proposed dissertation topic.

    With that said, I thought you might be interested in these examples. The bibliography (Capella uses the term References) in my dissertation contains 92 sources that provide the underpinnings of my study. I chose them carefully following a thorough review of the literature in my field. I also recently saw quite a good comprehensive exam paper that had around 120 references. Of course these numbers are not intended to suggest a miminum or maximum. I only provide them as a point of reference.

    One final thought: as you approach your comprehensive exam and dissertation, try to view these phases as critical steps of your program in which you demonstrate your abilities as a budding researcher. Think in terms of being thorough rather than merely meeting a minimal standard. The remainder of your doctoral journey will require you to probe deeper, challenge existing thought and stretch yourself beyond your current intellectual imaginings. Above all, be prepared to receive critical feedback in all stages of your work. If you do these things, your goal will become easier to reach.

  8. Marilyn Ebler says:

    How can I get the College Officials that I speak to to say “yes” I can conduct the data collection at this college? I am stuck in a difficult situation. At first I kept on working, though I am not getting anywhere. Therefore, I took a sick day off yesterday but my brain would not quit. Then I got an idea.

    Keep It Simple! I think, what I have been doing is simple.

    I wrote a script for what I was going to say. Then, getting online and looking on college web sites for information and a phone number, so I would know a little about the college. Taking a few notes about their online program. Making a call and asking to speak to a decision maker, usually being routed to a VP. Introducing myself and asking if I could use their college to collect data for the research project. Then come the questions. So I had my proposal handy, and answered questions. Well, that was tough, so I put together a list of questions and answers, which helped. Then I was asked to send some information, So with the help of my mentor I put together a summary. I like that; it provides just enough information about the study providing a clearer picture about what the study is about. Well my script is now a letter and this past month I added my time-line. Deadlines that I proposed to follow. Only one problem with that, I gave myself deadlines that I thought were achievable, not happening.

    Last night I had an idea. You know the Keep it Simple but not according to my idea, Keep it Simple with someone else in mind. Today I asked myself if I were someone else, what would be a simple way to sell my idea. Today, I am thinking like a designer, not a student. This is what I came up with:

    My thoughts so far are to state what needs to be stated as if though I was asking someone if they would like some birthday cake.

    Hello ___, my name is Marilyn. Would you like some birthday cake?

    In other words:
    Hello Dr. Ms. or Mr. ____, my name is Marilyn. Would you allow students at _ _ _ _ _ College to participate in a data collection process? ? I am designing a research project that requires:
    Number of classes…
    Number of students…
    Data collection during the ___ term…
    Answer other questions are asked.

    This is a different tone, than reciting what I have been saying, which sounds just like the letter that I wrote.

    What do you think? Should I try it? I’d appreciate your feedback and any suggestions you may have. My deadline for getting a college official to say “yes, you can collect your data here” is coming soon.

  9. Johnna Williams says:


    Obtaining permission to conduct research from most any site can be a very difficult process. I think that you have some good elements here: keeping it simple is not a bad mantra, but don’t under-sell your research.

    You should at all times represent yourself professionally: no scripts, no birthday cake. You are applying for a position with these sites: how do you prepare for job seeking? First and foremost, you don’t apply to jobs that are not within your area of expertise – this means that you shouldn’t be looking at sites that perhaps have their own resarch departments, and aren’t going to let anyone in.

    Second: You connect with the job site and find out who the important people are (which you have done!), then you create a short but effective cover letter and resume and send it out directly to those important people. This means that you know your audience. You write a letter of introduction explaining your reason for contacting them, and your research interest. You provide a curriculum vita and a summary of your proposal. You describe why the research is important, and how it will benefit the site. I think you have started this and have some strong elements of this going on. But, you need to insist on being scholarly in tone at all times, yet be able to again write to your audience.

    Third: FOLLOW UP! As a former Career Counselor and Manager, I cannot stress enough that sending a resume and cover letter isn’t going to get you an interview or job. You have to follow-up. Check back in with the site via phone and verify that the important person received your inquiry. Ask if they would be available to schedule some time with you for an interview, so that you can provide them more details about your proposed study, as well as answer any questions they may have.

    Fourth: Be prepared. If they ask you to come in for an interview, you have your foot in the door! But you have to be ready to discuss your research, ideaology, theoretical framework, and methodology on the fly. This means unscripted, coherently, and professionally. This is the expectation of an expert in their field for a job, or for a scholar-practitioner about to conduct research. They want to know that you will be an asset to their organization – you need to tell them why, and how you will do this.

    Finally: If they hedge, know the art of negotiation. They may think your research is great, but maybe they haven’t had anyone come in before. and they aren’t sure of their internal process. They may like you, but aren’t sure that your research really will benefit them. Be prepared to sell your work in spite of their reservations. But knowing when to push or not push is an art – get comfortable with this.

    I hope this helps reframe the situation a bit. Figuring out how to clarify your goals and convey them to a professional audience does take some practice! And remember that, in many “job” situations, you might mail 100 resumes and get interviews with 10% of the sites. Be strategic on how and who you target!

    Johnna Williams

  10. Nancy Kuzmak says:


    RE: Dissertation

    Are we allowed to study Capella Learners in our study?


  11. Tina Jerrell says:

    I am working on a time line with my MRF. I have been granted a second extension. The problem I am running into is with the Dean(hasop) of the school. When I submit my MRF to my mentor he submits it to the dean. It usually takes the dean anywhere from 2-2 1/2 weeks to review the form. If he recommends changes, you go through the process again. In total this could take anywhere from 4-5 weeks. How long does the dean have to review your MRF? I’m sure he has tons of forms to review, and I am trying to be resonable. However, I am ready to move forward with my dissertation.


  12. Janice Roberson says:

    I need to know how to research my topic to see if others are research it. The biggest problem is writing a concise topic and problem to guide my research. Presently, I am conducting a literature review, but I am not finding any information tailor to my topic. Can someone provide some suggestions?

  13. Erin Brothen says:


    Without knowing your specific topic, it’s hard to provide focused advice. I would recommend that you contact a librarian to talk about your topic and the avenues you can take for your research.

    When conducting a literature review, you’ll want to look at a variety of resources to develop a comprehensive view of the literature on your topic. This means you will search multiple databases for articles, books, conference proceedings, and dissertations on your topic. You will also want to look at the bibliographies of the items you find, and use Google Scholar to find cited references going forward. As you become familiar with the literature, you’ll see trends and gaps that can inform your own dissertation topic.

    If you contact a librarian, we’ll be able to recommend the best databases and tools for your search, and help you build effective searches for your topic.

    librarian@capella.edu or 1-888-375-8221 to contact a librarian directly

  14. Vera Kovacovic says:

    Hello Janice,

    I would like to offer a perspective on your dilemma.

    I will start with the fact, that very likely the topic you are interested in is being addressed by others. In working with a large number of learners as a doctoral psychology advisor, I can let you know that there are multitudes of learners all of whom are interested in addiction, in PTSD, in abuse issues, in assessment…When I was in graduate school I was told, somewhat facetiously, that “there is no such thing as an original research”, so don’t be discouraged. What you may bring to the research table is a unique perspective, a different population, and a compelling purpose.

    I know that that you can find out more about how to do the actual searches and necessary steps from our librarian, which you can call or connect with on iGuide.

    Below is a strategy presented a few years back by Dr. Garvey House a Capella faculty, that you may find helpful:

    1) look up two years of peer reviewed journals from your area of interest
    2) single out about 25 – 30 article titles that you find relevant (emphasis is on titles only)
    3) pull out abstracts from 10 – 15 articles and read them
    4) get 5 – 7 full length articles

    This will accomplish several things:
    1) it will give you an idea what is being done (OR NOT) in your field and area of interest
    2) it will let you know who is doing it
    3) what kind of research methodology is being used
    4) what research instrument may be used, and how you could adapt this to your population and study
    5) it provides bibliography of relevant literature
    6) IMPORTANTLY, frequently these articles conclude with identifying areas of need for future research

    For a concise statement, try to finish the sentence:

    The purpose of my dissertation research is to…..
    Finally, below are a few headlines about choosing a topic from

    Choose a topic you love
    Pick a topic that will be helpful in your career path.
    Find a topic that establishes your niche in your field.
    Think carefully before you choose a controversial topic.
    Pick a topic that you already have some expertise about.
    Pick a manageable topic.


    Dr. Vera

  15. Jonathan Gehrz says:

    Hi Nancy!

    You asked, “Are we allowed to research Capella learners in our study?”

    Short answer, yes. But a few pieces for you to consider:

    Prior to using Capella University’s learner, staff, or faculty populations for primary research (data collection such as surveys) or Capella University’s existing data resources for secondary research (existing data such as course evaluation results), the Office of Assessment & Institutional Research (AIR) must approve a formal request to access the population and/or existing data. Obtaining approval for the use of these populations from the Office of Assessment & Institutional Research (AIR) must be obtained prior to submitting an application for IRB approval, so think about the timing of your request.

    If you are proposing a primary research study, The population requested may not be asked to participate in more than one primary research project in a given six month period. (Capella University’s ongoing mid-course and end-of-course evaluations are not considered primary research.)

    (1) Data collection may not occur during previously determined black-out dates:
    a. Weeks 1, 5, and 10-12 of each quarter for quarterly courses
    b. Weeks 1, 4, 5, and 10-12 for monthly-start courses
    c. Weeks 1, 3, and 6 for MBA 9xxx courses).

    (2) Your mentor must support the request.

    If you are proposing a study for secondary research The data requested are not publicly available.

    (1) The data are classified as “non-sensitive.”
    (2) Privacy is protected at all times (AIR will not release any identifying information including names, university identifying numbers, section numbers, etc.)
    (3) Other Capella University departments (Schools, Marketing, etc.) required to fulfill the requirements agree to accommodate the request.
    (4) Your mentor must support the request and, if necessary, intervene to assure data privacy.

    If you do pursue this avenue, be sure to consult with your mentor early in the proposal stage of your dissertation. Like any study, it always wise to have a Plan B research population, in the event your research request is denied.


  16. Johnna Williams says:


    Your questions about the processing and approval of the Methodology Review Form (MRF) are specific to the Harold Abel School of Psychology, but I believe that there are some guidances that all dissertation learners (regardless of their school) will benefit from. The MRF is an important document, as it sets the tone for your proposal and provides your mentor, your Chair, and the School details about your proposed study. Notice I left the “Dean” out? It is actually the Chair of your specialization that reviews and approves the first section of your MRF.

    The biggest piece that all learners must understand is this: Each and every time a faculty member reviews your work, they get 14 business days. This is a general guidance – they may take less time or they may sometimes take longer (if they become ill, have an emergency, etc). All faculty are charged with ensuring the voracity of your work. They aren’t editors – they review and provide critique which takes time.

    Learners go through multiple iterations of each part of their writing process during the dissertation – Capella is not unique in this sense! You must write a dissertation that will stand up to the scrutiny of a global readership. I do not believe that anyone wants their name associated with a sub-standard piece of work, so the faculty will continue to ask for revisions until your writing satisfies a doctoral standard – not an easy feat for anyone.

    One of my wise colleagues (who has a PhD) has indicated in a prior blog post that the number of iterations required for the dissertation is directly correlated to the writer’s skill. I promise that is not an easy thing for most learners to hear, but try to remember this is your first dissertation, and the first time you have been asked to write a publishable piece, as a scholar.

    Some advice: Pay attention to details! If you change one thing in a section, does it impact any other parts of the work? If so, make the revisions yourself before you submit.

    Make sure that you understand your study. You should be the expert on this topic! The faculty who reveiw your work will read everything, each time, as if it is a new document, and they check your references. They read the articles you cite. If you aren’t explaining the research problems, population, proposed study, etc., in a way the reader (PhD’s) understand, you will have to revise.

    Try and keep in mind that the dissertation is the culmination of a doctoral program. Once completed, you will be among an extremely small percentage of people who have earned this degree. I am sure you are working really hard, and really want this.

    The final thing I would say is that anythig you can do to improve the relationship you have with yoru mentor is key. If you aren’t understanding what your mentor’s expectations are, you need to verify! And, you should have an open forum between you and your mentor to discuss your frustrations as well as celebrate your accomplishments.

    I wish you the best in your process!

    Johnna Williams

  17. Jan Wyatt says:

    I am trying to find a company on which I can perform my dissertation research study. It is a job satisfaction study, and I will need to collect at least 150 responses. The company should use a team based structure; and enforce an adverse action/corrective action process.

    I had a company who previously agreed to allow me to conduct research, but that company has since changed its mind.

    Looking for help.



  18. Jonathan Gehrz says:

    Morning Jan,

    An excellent question, securing a viable research site for any study can present challenges and you always want to be cognizant that the site will produce sufficient data for a robust analysis.

    So a few recommendations/avenues to explore:

     Consult with your mentor, advisor, and/or committee. As scholar-practitioners in the field, they may have recommendations or knowledge of a company that would fit the need and well worth approaching further.

     Do some Google searching using key words or phrases that reflect your needs. Here, example, “team based companies,” or “corrective action process,” or “companies supporting job satisfaction.” Start by doing your homework and research to identify viable sites.

     Go to the Capella library and explore the completed dissertation collection. Can you find a similar or like study that may identify potential appropriate sites?

     Ask your colleagues in your dissertation courseroom, you might find that someone else in the program is a perfect position to help you and actually represents such a company (also gives you a connection or “in” when it comes time to approach the institution for permission.)

     Contact Career Services to see if they have any information on job satisfaction friendly organizations.

     Review the literature you’re utilizing in your lit review. Where are the published researchers doing their work? Are any of those locations viable?

     Tap your circles of support. Are there other faculty, colleagues, friends, or co-workers that might have information that could help clue you into further opportunities.

    The good news Jan, there are many, many, MANY opportunities out there. The bad news, there are many, many, MANY opportunities out there. Be smart about your approach. You don’t want this to become an exhaustive search in itself.

    Good luck!

  19. Rick says:


    I have started the PhD program for I/O Psychology. I had Psychology way back in my bachelor program over 25 years ago. I am concerned that I may not have enough of a background in Psychology to support my studies and research in this program. The reason for entering into this program was not for money but in hopes of becoming an executive coach and thereby create an increased profit for the company. I have taken informal polls of those who are dissatisified with thier supervisors and it is astonishing how much of a percentage is not satisfied with thier present supervisors. I would hope to add value to not only the company but to man in general as it seems to me that we need to take an honest personal inventory more often.
    Your thoughts
    Thank you

  20. Vera Kovacovic says:

    Hi Rick,

    There are several points to consider:

    What is more important to you: PhD in Industrial Organizational Psychology OR Coaching License/Certification? If you are in the I/O program you will create expertise through the coursework and through your dissertation research project, reflecting your supervisor satisfaction interest. Within the PhD in I/O there is one specialization coaching course PSY 8768 Theory and Practice of Psychological Coaching that you would be taking. When it comes to not having sufficient background in Psychology, it is not necessary detrimental, since we have people who come with business background into I/O who don’t have psychology background either.

    Having said that, we do offer a MS in Leadership Coaching Psychology. You may want to check the more detailed description of that program on the Capella website (not iGuide) http://www.capella.com under Programs by Degree.

    Apart of that there are numerous quality coaching programs that provide certifications. You may want to check CTI (The Coaches Traning Institute) or Newfield Network, just out of curiosity. There is also a substantial website on the International Federation of Coaching. (IFC). It seems that you need to do some cost and benefit analysis what makes most sense to you professionally.

    Please consult with your doctoral advisor and the resources of Capella, like the Careers Center.

    I offered a few points for you to reflect upon. Let me know what makes sense for you.


    Dr. Vera

  21. Nona Haller says:

    Hello, Rick. You raise an interesting point about the value of taking an honest personal inventory. I have often thought it is a good annual activity, perhaps as a way to celebrate a birthday, or New Years Day. (The flip side is that we aren’t always in a reflective mode just because the calendar says so!)

    When I think about the field of I/O Psychology, and the folks here at Capella involved in it, I am struck by the breadth of the field as well as the depth. So whether or not you may need to be concerned about having enough of a background in Psychology depends largely on what your professional and academic experiences have been since your undergrad days. Here in the Career Center we often recommend that you gather real information from others who are doing the work you want to do. What sort of people are they? What backgrounds to they come from? What credentials have they earned? How does your experience measure up? What degree or certificate is most respected in the market you want to work? etc. These conversations are the single best way I know of to measure potential fit.

    “But how do I find these people to talk with?” I hear you asking. If you can, attend a meeting of the Society for Industrial/Organizational Psychology, the International Coach Federation, of perhaps even Society of Human Resource Management (since oftentimes HR is the entry point for coaching into an organization). And please make use of the resources available in the Career Center on iGuide, especially the Connecting with Others section.

    Nona Haller
    Career Counselor

  22. Kathy Kinderman says:

    I am struggling with developing a concise direction of study in my dissertation for the instructional design online track withing the school of education. My focus is to validate Elaboration Theory in course design, but as I exchange with my committee chair, (who has been great help), I get back into the literature and start feeling like a hamster on the running wheel. My question here is…When validating an ID theory, is it best to narrow it to a single component of the theory and examine how it works for development of specific cognitive ability such as analysis?
    Thanks in advance,

  23. Sheryl Hess says:

    Hi Kathy,

    Thank you for your question.

    The ‘hamster running on the wheel’ feeling is understandable as often times a literature search yields a variety of related resources. It is easy to get off track from the intended topic while sifting through reference lists, yet related literature can establish a rich foundation from which to build upon.

    The literature holds the general parameters to guide your research. Some questions to consider include:
    What are the sub-categories of the topic?
    What has not been said about the topic (such as what are the gaps or holes)?
    What has been said but is now outdated?
    What has been said but is contradictory to other studies?
    What are the scholars saying about trends in respect to the topic?
    And perhaps more importantly, how can you add to the “trend-talk”?

    Dissertation topics need to have a narrow focus in order to make them manageable. In other words, using your example, a specific component of a theory related to a specific cognitive ability to a specific sample seems appropriate. The more specific one can tailor their research the better.

    I suggest you continue to engage in conversations with your mentor as s/he can best direct you to a successful pre-proposal as well as proposal. It is also advisable to read published dissertations on your topic to ascertain other approaches and suggested future research.

    All the best as you continue on your dissertation journey.

    Advanced Learner Doctoral Advisor
    School of Education

  24. Pat Lightner says:

    Regarding the IRB, and consent documents- if I am using archived data regarding pre and post test scores from an independent testing company and district information management system for attendance etc, (with students under the age of 18) do I need to ask the participants for consent? The student names will not be used, just the test data for comparison purposes.

    And, how do I represent that on my IRB app?


  25. Lynn Riskedal says:

    Our IRB staff member responded with the following:

    Great question! If you will be utilizing archived data regarding test scores that are de-identified, you do not need to obtain informed consent from each individual test taker. You will need to apply for a waiver of informed consent by completing Supplemental Form F located on IRBNet (under the Designer page, Step 1 or the Research and Scholarship Center on iGuide) when you apply for IRB approval. When applying for IRB approval, be sure to provide documentation that you have permission from the records holder stating you have permission to utilize the records for research purposes. Remember that you cannot conduct any research related activities until you have IRB approval from Capella University.

  26. Tracey Dolehite says:

    I am a PhD learner in the SOHS, Public Safety, Criminal Justice. With the implementation of the new School of Public Safety Leadership, I am unclear as to how my program will be affected. I was looking at the current core classes and requirements and they do not match my current degree plan. Will I need to change my plan and if so, how will this affect my program completion? Im a little lost in the change….

  27. Lynn Riskedal says:


    GREAT question. If you are having questions, others will, too. I would encourage you to connect with your doctoral advisor for information on what changes and what does not. We want all our learners to be moving forward in their program so they can achieve their goals.
    Thanks for asking.


  28. Norma Yearick says:

    How can I find the name of my academic advisor? I want to switch specializations and need to get information about how to do this. I am in the school of Education.


  29. Lynn Riskedal says:

    Good question. And this follows for any learner, wanting to talk with their advisor or someone on their team:

    You can call the 1-888 CAPELLA ( 227-3552) and follow the prompts to advising… 2, 4, and then follow the prompts for degree level and school.

    You can speak with any advisor for the basic information you are seeking.


  30. Janora Winsor says:

    I have had a blog for a few years now. How may I become an author on the blog site at Capella?

  31. Lynn Riskedal says:

    Thanks for asking.
    This blog is authored by Capella staff for learners.

    I do know Capella learners have blogs, sharing about their experiences. I need to find out more information about that, to share with you. More later.


  32. paige satchwell says:

    Does Capella have a medical psychologists program?

    • Johnna Williams says:


      I think that the answer to this questions lies in what you are considering as a “medical” psychologist? As the title of psychologist is given out by states based upon their individual licensure requirements, this will definitely vary! I can say that to be license-eligible (and able to call yourself a psychologist), your state will likely require both a practicum and an internship. Check with your state! Capella offers the PsyD program in Clinical Psychology, which is intended to try and meet most states’ licensing requirements, while the PhD programs do not.

      My best guidance would be to clarify what things a medical psychologist does that differ from, say, a psychiatrist. Also check with your state on their requirements to hold the title of “psychologist”. Finally, then you can look to see if the programs Capella offers will meet those criteria.

      I hope this helps!

      Johnna Williams, M.S., NCC
      Advanced Learner Doctoral Advisor
      Harold Abel School of Psychology
      School of Human Services

  33. Sheila Sims says:

    I just returned from the Jacksonville, FL colloquium. I have decided to take ED7006 which is a writing course, but have some concerns. I live in Georgia and we return to work about a week after the next quarter begins for Capella. The beginning of the school year is quite hectic and the demands are great. I do not know what are the time demands of ED7006. I read the course description but I need to know more about the time I need to devote to writing for it!

    Thank you in advance for your response!

  34. Lynn Riskedal says:

    A response from our Writing Center contact:

    Great question about 7006. When taking that course, you are offered the opportunity to spend 10 weeks looking at your writing process–from the time you begin reading to the time you turn in your polished academic paper. I taught that course for years and never had one learner regret taking it. I did have many learners say they wished they had taken it sooner because the course gives so many new ways to think about academic writing–ways to make writing faster and more efficient.

    My advice: look at 7006 as you would look at any other course; budget the same amount of time you would for a course in your subject matter, and you should be in great shape to absorb all of the terrific lessons on writing-as-process that the course has to offer.

    Hope this helps, and best-


  35. Aparna says:

    Hi, my interest lies in psychoeducational assessment of individuals and i would like to become a certified/liscenced assessor and/or an online professor or a regular professor in the University for which i would like to do Phd in either special education leadership or educational psychology. i already have a Master in special Education from India.
    *I would like to know if my choice of subject area is correct?
    *Are there any other options of subjects that are better suited for my goals?
    *Will an online degree hold me at par with other students who do a regular degree?
    *Are there any capella university students in Ghana-Accra whom i can contact since i m in Ghana now?

  36. Nona Haller says:

    Thank you for your rich questions, Aparna; I am really happy to hear that you want to align your academic program closely with your career goals.

    Your areas of interest are broad, and any career outcomes could be impacted by licensure requirements (depending on which path you take), the age groups you want to work with and the environments you want to work in. If you plan to live and work in the United States, you can contact the licensure board of the state in which you plan to live to learn the requirements and ensure the program you select will meet their criteria.

    You mentioned that you already hold a master’s degree. Building upon your existing master’s foundation as closely as possible will allow you to deepen your expertise, while pursuing a PhD in a related but different niche will broaden your knowledge base. So an important question to ask yourself is “What do I really want this degree for?” You may want to explore several job descriptions on ONET (http://online.onetcenter.org/) to gain some clarity about what job titles and functions most closely represent the work you want to do. Another important step to take is to gather information from professionals who are doing the work you are interested in, to learn first hand what degrees/credentials are required.

    To teach at the college level, whether online or ground-based, it will be most helpful to have some teaching/training experience, or to begin getting some exposure to institutions in which you are interested, by volunteering, for instance, or by offering yourself as a guest speaker in your area of expertise. There are many great resources and journals, including the Chronicle of Higher Education (http://chronicle.com/).

    If you are a learner at Capella, Aparna, we have many resources and webinars to help you in the Career Center, as well as way to get connected with other learners (beyond colloquia and the Courseroom).

    I wish you luck in your educational and career pursuits.
    Nona Haller, M.A.
    Career Counselor
    Capella University

  37. Frangelle says:

    How do I make my class more interesting if the topic is not exciting. I find it difficult to tackle and complete a post when the discussion question does not spark something in me. I am more of a kinesthetic learner, therefore I need real stories to keep my attention. Not sure what to do.

  38. Jonathan Gehrz says:


    It’s a wonderful question. Quite often we encounter courses where the curriculum lacks personal interest or the content is dense or whatever the reason, it’s just hard to focus any energy on it. So how do you turn that around?

    Few suggestions:

    First, start by stepping back assessing why this course is part of your core curriculum? Think about how this course is connected to others in your program. Is it the course that doesn’t excite you or something larger – the specialization, the program delivery, etc? What is it about this course specifically that lacks what you need and how might you go about acquiring that? If you can reestablish what it is you are interested in this field, you are more inclined to reestablish interest in those materials you struggle to find motivation and interest.

    You noted the need for “real stories to keep [your] attention.” Such needs should not be ignored, but you should ask yourself Frangelle, why are such needs not being met? Why would the course have an absence of “real stories?” Is there something preventing you from bringing such elements into the weekly dialogue?

    Which, a further recommendation, have you considered how responding to a different question that wasn’t necessarily posted could produce a better outcome? That is, while you certainly must honor and appreciate the intent of the original discussion questions, they should not prevent you from engaging or presenting more individually meaningful questions. If you can present a “better” discussion question, I would encourage you to do so in a way that not only further contributes to the depth of the subject being discussed, but also presents a greater opportunity for scholarly discourse. It not to abandon the original materials of the course, but as a doctoral learner, you should be engaging critical thinking skills that sometimes require us to divert from the prescribed path.

    Finally, consider speaking with your faculty and/or advisor about your own interests. They will invariably have suggestions about how this course can become more exciting and relevant to that subject.

  39. Lynda A.N. Williams says:

    I finished my coursework for my Ph.D. program in the March of this year. Since I had a long trip planned in early August, I was advised to postpone Comps until Fall.

    Other than reading back thru my theory and research texts and articles, what is the best way to prepare for comps when I’ve been away from this level writing and working for so long?

    • Dana Forbes says:


      Reading the Comprehensive Exam Manual and writing every day will also help you prepare for the exam. In the former, you will have a better understanding of the purpose, components, and grading rubric for the exam. In the latter, you will stay in the flow of academic writing.

      Congratulations on entering the next stage of your degree!


  40. Natasha says:

    What is the difference between a dissertation and an applied dissertation and where can I find resources on how to format and write one.

  41. vijay khanke says:

    I am Vijay from INDIA.
    I am very much interested in Ph.D. in Information Assurance & Security/Technology in October 2011. Due to not good economical conditions i was unable to pursue Bachelors in IT so did B.Sc (Physics,Chenistry, Maths).
    Being in Bachelors I learn many IT aspects at my own like Web Services, Networking, IT fundamentals, Programming Languages(C, C++, FORTRON, VB, JAVA, AutoIt 3.0 Scripting etc), Web Application Development & Designing(XHTML, JAVASCRIPT, CSS, PHP, Jsp, Servlet, etc), Web Server Management/Security and much more. Also worked as Programmer, Developer, Project Manager. currently working as a Chief Information Officer as well as pursuing Masters in Statistics.
    But Now I want to go for Ph.D. in Information security in 2011 as i believe in Life-long Learning & Research.
    I hope Capella will give me Scholarship & Ph.D. allowances so that i can do my PhD and can leave my Job.
    I hope i will get here information & guidance for PhD in Capella.

  42. Lynn Riskedal says:

    Hello Vijay!

    I will ask our Enrollment Services department to contact you. You can always go to http://www.capella.edu/ to explore the business programs.



  43. Jonathan Gehrz says:

    Morning Natasha,

    Can you provide me a little more context to the question? My instinctual answer is the difference goes to the difference between a scholar-practitioner program v. a pure research program, but I’d like to know more about the context to better understand the word “applied.”

  44. Andrea Francois says:


    I have come a long way and I have been working very hard on my dissertation proposals but I do not think it will be approved by the board before my final extension expires. I need to know what Capellas academic policies are and what course of action students can take concerning not meeting time requirements for final extensions. Thank you


  45. Jonathan Gehrz says:

    Morning Andrea!

    Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon to see the adult learner face such challenges. After all, your responsibilities and competing priorities are partially why you’re here, yes? But you are right to acknowledge the University’s position on such matters and ensure you are responding appropriately and with knowledge. Nothing worse than moving forward without information and making false assumptions.

    In this case, there are really three (possibly four) policies you’ll want to consider: Academic Standing (3.01.04), Dissertation Requirements (3.01.07), Policy Exceptions/Deviations (1.01.05), and possibly Maximum Time to Degree Completion (2.01.02).

    Please excuse the novel-length of this response, but it a fairly complex question. So first, let’s look at the context/background of the situation.

    Dissertation Requirements policy
    Do be sure to fully understand what task, specifically, you are working on. From your reply, I would infer you are working towards Milestone 4 – Committee Approval of the Proposal and Milestone 5 – School Approval of the Proposal, but double check to make sure. It not uncommon that folks at Milestone 3 – Mentor Approval of Proposal, equate that as needing full committee approval (which would not be the case.)

    Now assuming that your situation, Andrea, important to identify the University’s position on the matter.

    Academic Standing policy
    This is perhaps the most significant policy you should review, Andrea. In short, the University defines your good academic standing at the dissertation stage by the timely and successful completion of the dissertation milestone tasks. Non-compliance with this policy can lead to program dismissal, however, such an outcome is subject to University appeal. More on this in a moment.

    Potentially, depending on your overall tenure in the program, there further bigger picture context, which is:

    Maximum Time to Degree Completion policy
    Which, short side, you have seven years in which to complete your degree, provided good academic standing of course. Given your proposal status, this may or may not be a variable, but worth noting.

    Understanding the context now, you are able to look at options. For purposes here, let us just assume you will not meet your deadline, yes? Options then become:

    Option 1
    You prepare for Academic Standing dismissal. We accept that your interest is to continue, so accepting such a dismissal outcome is rejected as a viable option, so you proceed with preparing a University appeal. In this case, you would be appealing to the University’s Director of Learner Affairs. If this option explored, I would encourage you to consult your academic advisor, as University appeals are subtly different than a School appeal. While your advisor cannot advocate for you or your school in such matters, s/he can provide you assistance in preparing your appeal so that you are moving forward with your strongest case and rationale.

    Some general advice, the strongest appeals are those that effectively tell your story, acknowledge both parties’ positions, but also have a strong and thoughtful plan for how you will finish the task. Appeals that do not acknowledge the past tenure and performance or fail to plan beyond the appeal itself or dismiss the University’s position and policies do not fare as well.

    The Director’s decision is not subject to further appeal.

    Option 2
    A second option, is to consider the University’s Exceptions/Deviations policy. In this case, let’s say your final extension expires. Again, we acknowledge the University’s Academic Standing policy, but believe there sufficient rationale to justify your school setting aside this policy towards approving a further extension. Now, important to know, any time you petition a school to set aside a University policy, the school has to consider not only the individual’s circumstances and rationale, but must also consider the impact to the entire organization. That is, how would setting this policy aside impact other dissertation learners in your school and dissertation learners in other schools? Does this set a precedent that the University is willing and able to support?

    But the short of it, Andrea, this is perhaps your best option. I would again recommend you talk with your advisor to prepare such a petition (make sure you’re putting forth your strongest case with a plan that is both feasible and realistic.) Certainly doesn’t hurt to try and the worst outcome, you then preserve Option 1 as a back up.

    I hope this helps, Andrea.

  46. Robert Shaughnessy says:

    Where exactly can I find the BASIC CITI training that we have to take for the educational psychology disseratation? I acan not locat it on the CITI main page Is it under the CME/CE heding? I took the refresher course by accident.

  47. Johnna Williams says:


    The CITI training is a critical first step in the IRB process. As simple as it seems, the directions for registration are tricky, and require careful attention to detail.

    You will need to create a new registration for yourself: you need a new user id and a new password. Please write down your user is and password – you will need this for the next 3 years. Of course, make sure and affiliate yourself with Capella, and fill in all of the necessary information asked for on the first registration pages (i.e. contact information).

    Here is where it gets to the crux: you will be asked to select your curriculum. It will say “Select Curriculum – Capella University”. Then, it has Section 1 and says “Select the group appropriate to your research activities. You will be enrolled in the Basic Course for that group.” You need to select the group you belong to.

    Group 1 – Faculty conducting research
    Group 2 – Capella Administrators and Staff conducting research
    Group 3 – School of Business
    Group 4 – School of Education
    Group 5 – School of Human Services
    Group 6 – School of Psychology
    Group 7 – School of Technology
    IRB Reference Resource: You my view all CITI modules by enrolling in this group. This is for demonstration and reference purposes only. If you are required to complete the CITI course before conducting research with human subjects, please enroll in one of the Groups (1-7) listed above.

    OK – so you are in Educational Psych, and therefore need to select Group 6 – School of Psychology. Next, the registration gives you Section 2 and states “Select the group for which you have previously completed an institutionally approved Basic Course in the Protection of Human Research Subjects.”

    Robert, this one is easy! You have NOT ever previously completed an institutionally approved Basic Course, right? Right. So, you go all the way to the bottom of the selections, and check the box that says:

    “I have not previously completed an approved Basic Course. Please go to question 1.”

    The registration advises you to go back to question 1 because you have to ensure you have selected the correct Group for the Basic Course of training. I promise that if you follow the registration steps carefully, you will find the correct Basic Course and will be fine!

    Remember a few other pointers for this training: once you go out of a module you can’t go backwards. So, if you don’t score at least an 80% on a quiz please do not go forward. Instead, go back and retake it! Also, the information on the Basic Course will be easier for you since you have done the refresher. Finally, once you are completed, it is a good idea to highlight, copy, and paste your completion certificate into a Word document that you can keep electronically for your IRB application later on.

    I hope this helps!

    Johnna Williams

  48. Wolfgang Stoettner says:

    Support for Conducting Remote Research in Specialized Catalogs

    The by far most pressing question that needs to be cleared from my point of view before embarking on the adventure of a PhD program is the support and quality of online research facilities of Capella. Apart from those ubiquitous freely available internet resources preparing for and writing a dissertation requires rigorous research in specialized monographs (books), journals, magazines, conference proceedings and the like. Remote access to such research material is usually restricted and difficult to come by.

    My concern is that Capella provides up to now no such information as to which scope of research material — as mentioned above — is made available to the online (and international) scholar.

    Many thanks to an answer.

  49. Jonathan Gehrz says:

    Morning Wolfgang!

    It’s a marvelous question and one that actually has many facets. I’ll provide some initial thoughts, but I’ll also request that my colleagues chime in, as this a good example of where broader perspective and advice given will result in the “best” answer.

    So first and foremost, it perhaps worth noting that at the dissertation stage, you are guided and supported by a three-member dissertation committee, chaired by a faculty member from your program specialization. The chair of the committee is your dissertation mentor and is a scholar-practitioner in your selected field. Complimented with the expertise and experience of the other two committee members, your research team would be a source of support and knowledge that would help ensure the quality closely follows those studies found in the scholarly literature of disciplines or fields of study elected.

    While largely informed by your research questions, your committee/mentor will assist in guiding your selection and defense of a research design, method, and technique among competing alternatives that is appropriate for the rigor of a dissertation research study that contributes to your field’s cannon of knowledge. The research design, after all, is the outcome of a logical process for planning research. The design follows a careful articulation of the research problem, the purpose relative to the problem, and the information required to fulfill the purpose of the dissertation.

    So first and foremost, terms of support, I’d say your dissertation mentor and committee are core to your success and the quality of your research conducted. In some cases, individual schools also have research faculty that may present a further source of expertise needed beyond the committee, but you would have no less than three faculty providing guidance and expertise at that stage.

    Now, certainly, as scholars, we all have knowledge and research limitations. Another source of support I’d suggest would be the library staff. To your point, “preparing” to write the dissertation does require rigorous and thorough reading and analysis of the research previously published and relevant to your study. Whether at Capella or elsewhere, librarians, pound for pound, are often the single most knowledgeable experts when it comes to locating relevant materials and assisting you in thinking outside your own research patterns and behaviors. From my research experiences, if I couldn’t find the source I needed, the librarian often could. And if the librarian couldn’t, they were ready to help me with the inter-library loan resource to get it.

    Another resource that comes to mind is the Research and Scholarship department. While perhaps more largely focused on the protection of human participants in research and responsible for the conduct of research, these folks do represent a wealth of information and support needed in addressing ethical questions, resources on federal guidelines for research integrity, or the IRB (Institutional Review Board) process. But, another exceptional resource and experienced experts on retainer.

    Perhaps not to be overlooked, many of Capella’s doctoral programs have a residential colloquia requirement that provides you a face-to-face immersion in practicing and refining the skills needed to complete a Ph.D.

    It is a wonderful question, Wolfgang. What I would offer, it good to recognize that no university (online or traditional, international or otherwise) will have all materials needed to complete a dissertation, just as no single scholar has the skills or resources needed to finish a dissertation on his or her own. Fortunately, the larger Academy, is quite open to assisting fellow scholars, whether you affiliated with their institution or not. Securing visitation rights at another institution is not uncommon and often, having access to a research library in your area can be extremely helpful. But dissertation is, absolutely, a collaborative effort and you need to make smart choices about surrounding yourself with individuals that will lessen your own deficiencies, but also teach you how to become a more effective, rigorous scholar-practitioner.

    I hope this helps. Good question.


  50. Margaret Tharpe says:

    What percentage of Ph.D. examinees pass comps on the first try? Thanks.

  51. rveal says:

    Dear Wolfgang:

    Thanks for your question. Our Library Web site is not available for review on Capella’s public Web site. The Library takes our obligation to support our learners research needs very seriously.

    Capella University and the Capella University Library provide scholarly research resources for learners that support all of our doctoral programs.

    Specifically, we provide the following:
    • 44 databases
    • 32,000 full text e-journals
    • 90,000 e-books
    • 50+ Guides, Tutorials & Multi-Media aids
    • “Ask-A-Librarian” Reference Service
    • Interlibrary Loan Service
    • 12 full time staff

    You can also get information on our resources and services at our blog : http://www.capella.edu/blogs/library/ (this information is open to the public).

    If you have more specific questions about our services to our learners just let me know and I would be happy to help.

    Reference & Instruction Librarian

  52. Jonathan Gehrz says:

    Morning Margaret,

    Unfortunately, such information would be considered either “Material Nonpublic Information” (material information that has either not been disclosed to the public generally, or has been disclosed so recently that sufficient time has not yet passed to allow the information to become widely available among investors and the financial community) or “Material Information” (information about a company that would be expected to affect the investment or voting decision of a reasonable investor, or information that could reasonably be expected to have an effect on the price of that company’s securities.)

    I’m afraid Federal and state securities laws prohibit individuals from trading in the securities of a company while they are aware of material information about that company that is not generally known or available to the public. Such trading is often referred to as “insider trading.”

    You may email Investor.Relations@capella.edu (Heide Erickson is the Director of Investor Relations) and see if they are able to respond, but I’m afraid we are unable to share information on such inquiries.


  53. Dave DeProspero says:

    Hello. My advisor has indicated that my Dissertation Proposal title page is incorrect, and that there is a template somewhere on iGuide. I have just spent about an hour searching and I can not find it ANYWHERE. Can somebody help me locate the appropriate resource?? Thank you!


  54. Jo Tebbetts says:

    Hi Dave,

    You can find what you are looking for by using this path:

    In your IGuide 3 go to

    School & Programs
    Your school
    Program resource (located at bottom of page)
    Format & Editing
    APA 5 or APA 6 Template

    If you need any additional assistance please just let us know .

  55. Allison Maloney says:


    Does anyone know where I find my learner ID at?



  56. Lynn Riskedal says:


    Please give Capella a call. You can talk with either University Ops or someone on your advising team. They will be able to give you your University ID.


  57. kim says:

    How do I naviagte to the profesoors bios?

  58. Lynn Riskedal says:


    Good question. In iGuide3, highlight your school under Schools and Programs. On your school page, the bios are in the center, about half way down the page.


  59. Susan Onofrio says:

    Where can I learn more about the following course:

    Data Analysis with SPSS

  60. Vera Kovacovic says:

    Susan, you have a couple of options.

    1) Check Course schedule on iGuide, using the menu on the left side of your screen

    SELF SERVICE/Course Schedules/Psychology/2more/Psychology 2010 Schedules/Gradyate courses

    If you click on the title it will show you brief description,
    If you click on extended description it will show you detailed course descritpion

    2) You can also look up the course description in the Catalogue on iGuide
    using the same menu on the left side of the screen,
    ACADEMICS/University Catalogues/2009-2010 January/Graduate Courses Description

    Hope this helps.


    Dr. Vera

  61. Susan Onofrio says:

    Here is my question:
    I would like to change my Doctoral program from the HASOP to the School of Human Services. What is the best process for doing this?

  62. Vera Kovacovic says:


    You need to submit an electronic form on iGuide 3 to start the process.

    iGuide 3/
    Policies and Administration/
    University Forms/
    Enrollment Forms/
    Change Degree/Program

    This will open up a case for the Registrar’s Office and Academic Advising.
    You need to have a conversation with the advisor based on a simulated audit showing how your current and past transfer credits will apply to your new program. If you agree to go ahead with the change, your advisor will assign the case to Registrar’s Office for processing. You should then recieve a new official CCE (Course and Credit Evaluation). A new advisor will contact you to schedule a call to creat a new degree plan and registration.

    Hope this helps some.

    Dr. Vera

  63. Kashi says:

    My Question is, when Capella is going to offer the option of per course fee instead of per quarter?


  64. Gary Newberry says:

    I am looking for the Supplemental Form G for Internet research on either IRBNet.net and/or iGuide. This is a required form for my IRB application. However, I can not find this form at either location. Can you help?

  65. james pruitt says:

    I am interested in the PhD in IT, IA program and was wondering if Capella uses any Capella PhD’s as professors in this program?

  66. Jonathan Gehrz says:

    Morning Kashi, Gary, and James,

    All wonderful questions!

    Kashi, I’m afraid I don’t have any real insight to offer your question. You might inquire with the Business Office. For what it’s worth, and not much really, in the time I’ve been with Capella, the issue of pricing has been an ongoing dialogue. Some programs (like Psychology) do, in fact, utilize a different pricing model. But at large, I don’t see quarterly tuition going away any time soon for the PhD programs. Certainly stand to be proven wrong.

    Gary, Supplemental Form G has actually now been integrated into the main application (a high percentage of folks use the internet in some way to conduct their research, email, web surveys, etc.) I will send you a Word version, just to cover your bases, but good question. Threw me off too when I went in and saw A-F, H-O.

    James, also an excellent question. Like many institutions, Capella does employee some of its graduates as faculty. Their applications are reviewed and accepted with the same criteria and standards as those of any other applicant, however, there is the added stipulation that no more than 5% of the aggregate faculty of any Capella school may hold a terminal or the highest degree from Capella University. In cases of hiring faculty for targeted purposes such as experience and diversity, schools are allowed to hire an additional 5% of Capella graduates. I’m afraid I’m not familiar with the PhD in IT, IA’s current faculty, but I suspect it would be clearly articulated in their bios where they attended school. Does that help?

  67. Margarita Ramos says:

    I am a new Learner in the PhD in Organization and Mgmt (Leadership) program. I was thinking about enrolling in a membership plan at VangoNotes so that I could have a portable “Cliff Notes” version of my textbook. My only concern is that VangoNotes may be available for one class, but not for future classes.

    Are you familiar with VangoNotes, and do you know if it would be worth signing up for a membership which is really only financially worthwhile if I plan on purchasing multiple items from the site.

  68. Lynn Riskedal says:


    I’ve checked with several advisors, and no one is aware of VangoNotes. But checking with Disability Services, Jackie shared the following with me:

    “I have heard of VangoNotes but I don’t have much experience with them. I believe they are only available for Pearson textbooks, so I think it would depend on how many Pearson text are used in her program. If it were me, I’d bug them for a free trial or demo before investing too much.

    If she is looking for portability as well as audio, there are a few text-to-speech options our there that will read text aloud from the computer screen but will also convert text into audio. They work well with word docs, most PDF files and maybe some ebooks. We have learners with and without disabilities use this to convert ebook chapters into audio files to download onto an MP3 player or iPod. It would be a matter of finding the books electronically and it does depend on the file format of the ebook.

    TextAloud at http://www.nextup.com is a popular one and reasonably priced at around $30 (+ another $25 for natural sounding voices).
    Natural Reader at http://www.naturalreaders.com has a Personal Version that has an option to convert to audio.
    ReadPlease at http://www.readplease.com also has a paid version that converts to audio.”

    Know that Capella does not endorse any particular type of software of this type. I hope this helps you decision making process.

  69. Riyad says:

    Is this only for Capella faculty or a learner could post his experience about a comprehensive exam. I can’t seem to find a link to post.


  70. Lynn Riskedal says:


    Thanks for the question.

    There are several active learner networking opportunities.
    Capella has a Facebook page as well as a Doctoral Facebook page.
    Linked In has several networking groups with whom you can share experiences.

    You are welcome to share your experiences in this location, however, Facebook and Linked In are set up for the networking portion. And, you can always share with Capella via your advisor.


  71. Etta Bentley says:

    I have just completed all of my coursework. Somehow, I have done this without any colloquiums. I am scheduled for those in July, Sept., and Oct. I have several questions:

    What do I do in the meantime? I was not even aware of a comprehensive exam: will I be taking one? My PhD is in school of Edu. in Curr. & Instr. If I need to take one, where do I get a study manual? Can I take it before I attend all three colloquiums?

    Will my financial aid continue to pay each quarter even though I am only registered for colloquiums?

    What can I be doing toward my dissertation during this time?

  72. Lynn Riskedal says:


    First, do connect with advising for their guidance. They will provide great resources to help you prepare for the next stages.

    Read the comprehensive exam and dissertation manuals on iGuide. And go into the colloquia with an open mind, with curiousity and excitement.

    Ponder possible dissertation topics. Begin to narrow the topic. It will be a while before it is decided, but you can explore research to prepre.

    READ. Re-read textbooks, articles of interest, etc. Get lost in the library. find article that may contribute to your dissertation and your comprehensive exam.



  73. Barbara Green says:

    I have been notified that I must replace a committee member – how do I find out which one must be replaced so I can fill out the replace commmittee form – it might be both, but I can’t find any information to let me know this information.

  74. Barb Hall says:

    My dissertation research will involve coding the transcripts of online courses at other institutions. What is the best way to approach the IRB of another institution about conducting research? Is it best to approach first a faculty member at that institutiont, then use that support in an application to the IRB? Some ‘best practices’ in approaching other institutions would be appreciated.

    • Lynn Riskedal says:

      Here is the response from our IRB Administrator:

      When soliciting research sites, you will want to check out their Research Office or IRB website for official procedures and policies. Each research site is different. Some allow prior contact with the faculty while others do not. These policies are “site” specific. When calling or emailing a site with a general inquiry about their procedures for research requests, be specific about what you want to do and who it would affect. This will assist the person on the other end to determine “who” you need to work with in getting a permission letter. Sometimes sites do not have a formal process for research requests. In this case, a formal request letter should be sent (by email or mail) to the site. This is NOT the same thing as an Informed Consent form. There will be templates available soon on the Research Center that will help create these authorization request letters.

      Courtney A Jarboe
      IRB Administrator

  75. Nicole says:

    I am a PhD learner (I-O Psychology) living in the West Indies. I wondered how I would go about obtaining COMP exam questions used to become familiar with the process? Additionally, I (about a year ago) linked with a mentor who has NEVER contacted me back; how do I go about getting a different person?

    • Lynn Riskedal says:


      Thank you for asking the questions about comps and about a mentor.

      If you are still in coursework, you will not have a mentor. You will not be able to officially nominate a mentor until the quarter before you take your comprehensive exam. Please continue to make connections with potential mentors while you complete your coursework and the remaining colloquia. During that time, you should be making a list of faculty (they must be from within your specialization) who are potential mentors. Keep in mind that potential mentors you meet during colloquia might not have capacity a year or two after you meet them. They might also be working in another role by the time you are actually able to nominate a mentor, so they might not be available to mentor you.

      To actually nominate your mentor in psychology, you will ask your potential mentor through email, and once you receive your potential mentor’s agreement then you will submit the mentor nomination form. The form goes to our support staff, and if that potential mentor is available, you will receive an email letting you know that the mentor assignment has been approved. If your potential mentor does not have the capacity to add you to his/her list of mentees, you will be notified. Psychology is currently the only school in which your mentor is assigned before you begin comprehensive exams.

      When you are about to enter your quarter in which you take the comprehensive exam, you will be assigned to a new advisor who will help to guide you through the comprehensive exam and dissertation process. Before you begin comps, you will receive an invitation from your new advisor to participate in a PowerPoint presentation and a discussion about the comprehensive exam process.

      You also had a question about receiving the comprehensive exam. The questions will be emailed to you at your email address of record. All of our learners receive their comprehensive exam questions by email – and will return them by email. Instructions on where to send them and your deadline will be included on the email that delivers the questions to you.

      To become more familiar with the comprehensive exam process, please consult the Comprehensive Exam Manual on iGuide 3. The manual includes a discussion of how questions are composed and sample comps question for each discipline. The manual also includes the rubric that your readers will be using as they read your comps submissions. You will also find a discussion of Bloom’s Taxonomy, which you will want to review before taking your comps.

      Constance Davis, Ph.D.
      Advanced Learner Doctoral Advisor
      School of Public Service Leadership
      Harold Abel School of Social and Behavioral Sciences

  76. Amy Barnwell says:

    I am currently pursuing a Masters in counseling. I was wondering what the process would be to enter into the Psy D. in Psychology program?

    • Lynn Riskedal says:

      Thanks for your inquiry.
      Admission to the PsyD program in Clinical Psychology requires that one has a Master’s degree in Psychology or a related field. Therefore Counseling would certainly be considered related. In addition to the Master’s degree one would need to submit 3 letters of recommendation, two writing samples, and a professional resume. After submitting the supporting application materials our faculty reviewers will select a certain number of applicants to attend a face to face interview in Mpls, MN.
      Please call 1-888-CAPELLA to talk with an enrollment counselor or visit http://www.capella.edu/

  77. winfield Robson says:

    I would to like to know what you think about a sixtey year old man beginning a Ph.D program.

    • Jonathan Gehrz says:

      Morning Mr. Robson,

      Interestingly, I have had the great fortune of working with many PhD learners (some as old as 85 actually) and at the risk of making generalizations, most 60+ learners tend to have a greater sense of self and purpose. Perhaps the benefit of engaging this process with 30+ years of professional/life experience. On the flip side, such folks I’ve worked with in the past have shared the challenges in “keeping pace,” but if you are able to let go and trust yourself and those perhaps less mature (in age), it can be an extraordinary opportunity. Frankly, PhD is all about building bridges and the bridges built between generations is one that I really appreciate.

      In short, if you are wanting the degree for yourself, I would dip your toe in the pond.

      Jon Gehrz

  78. Robert Shaughnessy says:

    Where can I find sample MRFs in Educational Psychology to look at so I can get an idea of what I should be doing?

  79. Robert Shaughnessy says:

    My mentor wants me to speak to a Methodology person so Ican get the right methodology for my study, where can I find a Methodology person to help me with my Educational Psychology dissertation?

  80. Mary says:

    I am interested in the new courses in forensics (the entire certificate program), as electives because they relate to my specialty focus. Do you foresee any problems with taking these as doctoral I-O electives while on financial aid?

    • Lynn Riskedal says:

      If you have room for electives in your degree program the courses that make up the Forensic certificate can be used as electives in the Doctoral I/O program. If you do not have elective requirements remaining you would still be able to take the courses and receive Financial Aid due to the fact that certificates are eligible to receive aid. (Note: You will pay Doctoral level fees for Master Level courses) In the end courses which are part of a certificate are eligible for Financial Aid.

      Thanks for the question.


  81. Lynn Riskedal says:


    To your first question: Advisors do not have access to MRFs. We encourage you to ask your dissertation mentor about this matter.

    And for your second question: Please consult with your committee members. Also, consider attending a Dissertation Writer’s Retreat where you can speak with research experts. Have you utilized the Research Center resources? That might be helpful.



  82. Julie Garcia says:

    How can I find out more information about the research interests and any publications by the nursing education faculty. I was told by my Dean that I should see if Capella faculty members are being published and if so, what topics are they publishing on. I am in the PhD in Nursing Education program.

    Thank you,
    Julie Garcia

    • Lynn Riskedal says:


      Great Question.
      I suggest going to the School of Ed page on iGuide, then looking at the mentors in the nursing program. Most of them have their research interests listed. Then search the library using their name…look up their dissertation, journal articles they might have written.

      I would also suggest that you connect with them individually, to discuss their interests. Remember that we are between quarters and it may take some time for people to respond.



  83. Lori Schroeder says:

    Hi, Julie.

    Lynn Riskedal’s suggestions are spot on. You also might try to do a general Google search or use Google Scholar and search by the faculty member’s name.

    Best wishes,

  84. Jan Scolforo says:

    I will be completing my courseword (PhD – Curriculum and Instruction) in Winter, 2011. Can I add a Reading endorsement to my degree or does Capella offer a Reading certification program? Would some of my coursework be accepted toward this certification?

    Any help in pointing me in the right direction would be helpful.

    Thanks, Jan

  85. Cathy Worthington says:

    I am very close to my final conference call, and I

    have been looking for the “Conference-Call Rubric” that I hear may be

    available. I cannot locate on I-Guide, however. Can you lead me in the right


    Thank you,

    Cathy Worthington

  86. Lian Partlow says:

    Hi Jan,

    Capella University offers a Master’s degree in Reading and Literacy and an EDD in Reading and Literacy. Those programs are completely different programs from the one you are in currently. I will e-mail you directly to follow up on your questions.


  87. Ranjani Iyer says:

    I am looking into multiple sites(District and School) for approval to do my study there. One of the district is asking for ‘University confidentiality assurance’. Is this the Capella IRB? My chapters 1,2, and 3 are approved by the mentor and has been sent to the other committee members. How do I get a provisional approval? Thanks.

    • Lynn Riskedal says:

      This is a difficult question as it depends on the site’s policies. Researchers in situations like this should ask the research site for clarification. It may be something that should be addressed within the school level of Capella (i.e. by a faculty chair or even the Dean), not the IRB. However, sometimes research sites will ask for the Institutional Official’s signature or for Capella’s IRB approval. When the IO’s signature is required or the IRB’s approval, the learner needs to go through the Capella IRB review first and include a document indicating the circumstances. If the study meets ethical standards, the IRB at Capella will give a special approval called “Approval with Stipulations.” This approval allows the learner to navigate this catch-22 situation and get the proper permission from the research site. This approval however does not allow the researcher to start conducting the research or interacting with participants. They must first return to Capella’s IRB with the research site permission letter and obtain full IRB approval. In addition with this specific example, if the research site asks for changes to the research plan when seeking their permission, you need to submit a Modification form to the Capella IRB for additional review prior to implementing any changes. Anytime after IRB approval is granted and you need to make changes to the research plan, you should contact the IRB to determine if a Modification review is required prior to implementation of those changes. There is an exception to this, and that is when a change is required due to an emergency situation. However, even then, you need to communicate with the IRB as soon as possible.

      Kind regards,

      Courtney Jarboe, CIP
      IRB Administrator & IRB Office Supervisor

  88. Ranjani Iyer says:

    Can I use the free conference call service to make the call with the dissertation committee to defend the proposal and IRB or should I use the preferred vendor? Thanks for your advise and I would greatly appreciate any noted benefits to using the preferred vendor.

    • Lori Schroeder says:

      Hi, Ranjani.

      You can use whatever call service you wish. You might want to run your preference by your mentor and committee members, first.

      -Lori Schroeder, PhD
      School of Education

  89. Lillie Linear says:

    Will I be able to finance my dissertation with student loans or will I have seek other means of financing?

  90. Ranjani Iyer says:

    I am doing an online survey for my study. The survey is to be completed by middle school teachers. As the time is near the end of the school year, I am not getting the expected response rate. I am trying my best to send reminders and encouraging the teachers to participate more. What more should I do? Any recommendation on what the minimum number of responses I need to have for my thesis? Thanks.

  91. Veronica Torres says:

    Good Evening,

    I am a new doctoral student in the school of Public Service and Leadership under public health: epidemiology. My question is how do I get an advisor to help me set up an academic plan and also where do I find a mentor to assist me in getting ready for my dissertation. I read online that it is best to get started on planning out the dissertation as soon as possible. Thank you for the assistance with this information :-).


  92. Cheryl Lietz says:


    Welcome to the School of Public Service Leadership! It sounds like you are very anxious to get started, which is fantastic. I want to clarify for you how you will get up and running with your program. Your Enrollment Counselor will create your Academic Plan for you, laying out the appropriate course sequence for your program. This typically happens once we receive your transcripts reflecting a conferred masters degree. You can certainly reach out to your assigned Enrollment Counselor if you have questions about this process.

    Once you begin your course work, you will be assigned an Academic Advisor. The Advising Team will be here to support you in following your Academic Plan toward completion of your program. You will have a scheduled appointment with your Advisor a few weeks into your first course, and he/she will elaborate further on how best to prepare for the dissertation phase of your program.

    A mentor for your dissertation is not immediately assigned, as you will not be working directly on your dissertation as you progress through your course work. With that in mind, we certainly encourage our learners to begin thinking about potential dissertation topics early to allow for topic development and research to occur naturally as you progress through your courses.

    We look forward to working with you as your progress through your program, Valerie.

    Cheryl Lietz
    Academic Advisor
    SOPSL Doctoral Learners

  93. Ranjani Iyer says:


    I just completed Milestone 8 for my doctoral program and have submitted Chapter 5 for Milestone 9. I wanted to know approximately how long it will take for me to complete Milestone 13 and is there a possibility that I can do it before the end of this quarter? Should I also check into the possibility of extending my quarter? Please advise. Thank you.

  94. Jonathan Gehrz says:

    Good Morning Ranjani!

    And congratulations on reaching the final stages of your dissertation. Milestone 13, the oral defense, by itself usually only takes a week and most of that time is really spent preparing and scheduling the event. Somewhat depends on how long it takes to assemble the committee and find a common date/time that works for all four.

    If you are asking more, are you well situated to complete this quarter, that largely depends on the upcoming evaluations and assessments issued by your mentor, the committee, and the School of Education. Anticipating each review would take about 10-14 business days, it’s not impossible, but little room for error. What I would suggest, once your full manuscript has secured mentor endorsement, contact your academic advisor and arrange a time to map out the remaining steps. Every day helps, but I suspect you’ll have a better idea of your situation in a week or two.

    Congratulations again!

    Jon Gehrz
    Senior Doctoral Advisor – University Comprehensive Examination & Dissertation Advising Team

  95. Marva says:

    I am getting ready for my final conference call and was wondering if there was a grading rubric I could look at ahead of time to make sure I am covering all the points that I need to cover.

    • Lori Schroeder says:

      Hi, Marva.

      I would encourage you to consult with your dissertation mentor. Ask him or her for suggestions regarding what to include regarding the salient topics in each of your five chapters. Good luck with your dissertation defense! Congratulations on your progress and your accomplishment.

      -Lori Schroeder, PhD

  96. Monica Moore says:

    I have one question, when writing my comprehensive exam do I include an abstract for each question?

  97. Jonathan Gehrz says:

    Morning Monica!

    Due to the model of the examination question (preamble, scaffolding, and high-level question), an abstract is not needed.

    Good question!


  98. Vonetta says:


    What is a milestone completion report? And where can I obtain this?

    • Lori Schroeder says:

      Hi, Vonetta. The milestone transcript (completion report) lists the dissertation milestones, their due dates, and when they were completed.
      To view your milestone transcript in iGuide 3, go to Student Center > My Account > In “Grades and Transcripts” section > choose: “View Unofficial Transcript” > Report Type: (choose) “Milestone” in the dropdown menu and click “go.” Your milestone transcript will be visible.

      Best wishes,

  99. Alice Macharia says:

    I have looked around for guidelines on how to prepare for the proposal conference call but it is still not very clear: What are the guidelines? Do I need notes? Have my committee members really read my proposal (there have been changes after the School SMR)?

  100. Catherine Gillen says:

    Does Capella have guidelines for mentors revisions that includes timelines for submitted work to be revised?

  101. Jerry Smith says:

    My questions concerns my dissertation topic which is “ethics and Integrity in rural government”, I am having a problem finding literature regarding how to implement functional changes in government, any suggestions.

  102. Jonathan Gehrz says:

    Hi Catherine!

    Can you say more? Timelines, the standard rule of thumb for any content review (whether mentor, committee or School) is 10-14 business days. IRB can be a possible outlier, depending on the nature of the study. It does somewhat depend on the nature of the revisions, the submission itself (e.g. one chapter versus a full manuscript is a significant difference in a revision evaluation.)

    This is not an altogether helpful answer, but the guidlines for revisions really depend largely on what elements of the study are being revised. For example, there far greater latitude in how one contructs a literature review than say one’s design. There can be far greater scrutiny to one’s problem (is it a contribution to the field?) than say the parameters of the study’s assumptions and limitations.

    Interesting question, Catherine, but further context would be helpful.


  103. Lori Schroeder says:

    Hi, Suzy.

    To view your milestone transcript in iGuide 3, go to Student Center > My Account > In “Grades and Transcripts” section > choose: “View Unofficial Transcript” > Report Type: (choose) “Milestone” in the dropdown menu and click “go.” Your milestone transcript will be visible.

    Best wishes,

  104. Jim Etherton says:

    I am in the SOBT and have just recieved permission to conduct my final conferece call.

    What questions should I generally prepared to answer? I am a bit stressed but can guess that the committee will ask about my research methods and findings. Any specific Capella questions I can prepare for?


  105. jerry smith says:

    I have observed doctoral initials; EdD, PhD, etc with the following (ABD), I know that to mean all but dissertation, my question, when, if at all is the proper time to use.

  106. Joyce Capell says:

    Hello. I’m new to Capella University. I’m currently taking my 2nd and 3rd course with Capella. I completed my 1st course last semester. I’m enyoying the classes thusfar. I’m due to complete the Bachelors’ program at the end of this year, perhaps the beginning of next year. If all goods well, I will be completing the Masters and PhD program through Capella University. My field of study is Business Administration with a specialization in Human Resource Management.

    I have two questions:

    1. How early is too early to request a mentor?

    2. Does Capella University sponsor any sororities?

    Thanks, Joyce

    • Jonathan Gehrz says:

      Hi Joyce!

      Congratulations on your educational pursuit! It’s lovely that you are dedicated to your ongoing education. I might suggest, however, that you do consider taking time off between your degrees (especially your master’s and your doctoral programs). It is so important that you “exercise” your education and allow yourself an opportunity to grow without the safety net of a college/university forum.

      Regarding your questions: Most Capella doctoral programs do not allow a mentor to be nominated until you have successfully passed your qualifying comprehensive examination. It is never too early to discuss your research interests, however. Throughout your courses, look for a diversity of opinions and perspectives related to your interests.

      To your second question, to my knowledge, Capella does not currently sponsor any sororities, however, there are quite a number of community groups that our fellow colleagues, alumni, learners, etc. sponsor. If you have a chance, Joyce, check out the Community Groups section on iGuide, pretty interesting!

      Continued success in your pursuits!

  107. Prudence says:

    I would like to fine a mentor? I am in the DPA Public Administration Program. This is my third term. Where shall I look on the web page?

    • Jonathan Gehrz says:

      On the front page of iGuide, scroll to the top tool. Scroll over “The Univesrity” tab. Each School has their own homepage and within that page, you will find a link to individual mentor bios. If you are having trouble in finding a mentor, you might also contact your doctoral advisor or faculty chair to assist you in your effort.

  108. Tania Harden says:

    My question is about dissertation milestones and tuition.

    At what point do you stop paying tuition? In some places I read after milestone 13 and others have said after milestone 10.


    • Jonathan Gehrz says:

      Hi Tania!

      Tuition stops at the successful completion of Milestone 13 (your oral defense). Milestones 14-16 do not require active enrollment.