Instructional Technology and Design PHD

Frequently Asked Questions


Q:  What steps do I take to get enrolled in the Instructional Technology and Design Ph.D. program?

A:  Admission to the graduate degree programs in the Technology Department will be conducted in accordance with college and university policies. Please refer to the "Admission Requirements and Procedures" section of the current Graduate Bulletin. In general, these procedures include the submission of an application form and credentials to Graduate Studies. An application fee of $30.00 is required, whether in-state or out-of-state or in-resident for each application you submit. If this fee is not paid, your application file will be withheld until proper payment is made.

Additionally, all degree applicants should submit the following documents online at

  1. A statement of purpose from the applicant indicating career goals and expectations, previous academic work experience, any publications, and other relative accomplishments.
  2. Three letters of recommendation from instructors or supervisors who can discuss the applicant’s qualifications for graduate work, each with a Waiver Form attached.
  3. A resume of academic and job-related experiences.
  4. A copy of current teaching licenses/certificates [if applicable]
  5. Writing sample (sent to Graduate Secretary to address or email below) –
    1. Preferred format:  A scholarly paper of ten to fifteen pages in length (double-spaced) that demonstrates the candidate’s ability to perform research and communicate ideas/arguments related to the field.
    2. Other acceptable formats:  electronic portfolios, newsletters, two short papers, training or curriculum manuals/materials, online Blogs, etc.  Basically, any form to demonstrate one’s writing and synthesizing/critical thinking abilities.

Address for the Graduate Secretary ( is as follows:

Denise Crozier, Graduate Secretary
The University of Southern Mississippi
Department of Curriculum, Instruction, and Special Education
118 College Drive, #5037
Hattiesburg, MS  39406-001

Q:  Is the GRE required to be admitted to the program?

A:  The answer is “yes.”  The GRE is the only exam accepted (e.g., MAT, LSAT).

Q:  Is there a deadline for submitting an application if I plan to begin the next semester?

A:  Applications are accepted throughout a semester, and generally up to a month before the end of the semester. For instance, if you are planning to be accepted beginning a fall term, then your application should be in the department early July to be considered for admission. 

Q:  What if I am seeking a graduate assistantship?

A:  If you are seeking a graduate assistantship, then your application needs to be submitted to the department during March to be considered for an assistantship in the following academic year (e.g., submit application in March 2013 to be considered for an assistantship for August 2013 to May 2014). The March deadline is for “early consideration.” Even though you miss this deadline, you may still be awarded an assistantship.  

Q:  How do I apply for a graduate assistantship?

A:  Students, who wish to apply for a graduate assistantship, must send a separate letter and email requesting consideration directly to Dr. David Daves, Chair; Department of Curriculum, Instruction, and Special Education; 118 College Drive #5037; Hattiesburg, MS  39406.  Also, please email Dr. Taralynn Hartsell [] of your interest in a graduate assistantship so that she can keep track of those needing assistance.

Q:  How will I be assigned to an advisor?

A:  Upon admission, you are assigned an advisor. The advisor will help you with completing and establishing your plan of study, selecting and preparing your graduation requirements, and answering and discussing other programmatic questions. After 18 hours into the program, doctoral students should decide who their major advisors should be.  In addition, students can choose their dissertation chairs after the comprehensive examinations.

Q:  What is conditional admission and how do I become a regular admission student?

A:  Conditional admission is given to the students who do not satisfy the admission requirements. If you were admitted conditionally, you should review your conditions of admittance with your advisor during your program planning meeting. Also, you are responsible for informing your advisor when all conditions are met. Your advisor through the Department Chair will send a memo to the Graduate Dean requesting your admission status be changed to regular admission. This change can be done provided that you have obtained a "B" or higher grade in the first 9 semester hours of program coursework and/or completed any additional prerequisite requirements.

Tuition & Fees

Q:  What is the cost per credit?

A:  Follow this link and choose the term that applies.

Q:  Does the standard tuition apply for part-time students?

A:  Follow this link and choose the term that applies to view the costs associated with part-time enrollment.

Q:  Will I have to pay a non-resident tuition fee for online classes?

A:  You should NOT be charged out-of-state fees because at this time on-line classes are considered in-residence.

Q:  What is the deadline for paying tuition and fees?

A:  Click here for deadlines.

Degree/Career Planning

Q:  Are all courses available online?

A:  The majority of ITD courses are online. Some of the courses offered are hybrid or traditional classes (especially the research courses).

Q:  Will I have to wait a semester for a core course to be offered?

A:  Yes, based on current enrollment, most IT core courses are offered once a year or every other year.  So, when required courses are being offered, students should take these or otherwise they may have to wait a few years for the next rotation.


Advisement/Enrolling in Classes

Q:  What is the deadline for registering for classes?

A:  Follow this link and choose the term that applies.

Q:  What is the minimum number of classes that I can take to be considered full-time?

A:  You must enroll in at least 12 credit hours in order to have full-time status in the spring and fall semesters and at least 9 credit hours in order to have full-time status in the summer semester.

Q:  Does enrollment in the online program follow the standard academic calendar?

A:  Yes, you will start and end classes on the same date as the traditional students.

Q:  What is the time limit to finish the program?

A:  All students must complete their doctoral degrees within 8 years from the date of admission. Students must complete all coursework and pass the comprehensive examination by their 6th year.

Q:  May I take courses before admitted to the program?

A: No, you cannot take courses as a non-degree student. The graduate school does not accept non-degree USM student hours toward the program. If students do take non-degree hours, they must be admitted into the Ph.D. program that semester; otherwise their non-degree hours will not count toward the degree program. A student may utilize courses taken in another graduate program at USM as electives in the Instructional Technology & Design program with an advisor's approval. A single course may only be applied for one degree.

Q:  May I transfer credit from other universities?

A:  Yes, a student may transfer up to 6 hours from another university. These courses must be approved by the advisor and the Department Chair.

Q:  What are Special Problems courses?

A:  Special Problems or arranged courses (IT 792, etc.) may be taken by a doctoral student who wishes to investigate in-depth some topic not covered in regular course work. In such courses, a student must do the following:  (1) gain permission from the instructor before enrolling; (2) propose to the instructor a detailed plan of work in the form of a learning contract; and (3) document at least 45 hours of work devoted exclusively to that course in a time log to be submitted with the other completed course materials such as portfolio, research project, and/or technology development project.

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