The doctoral program is designed to prepare a student for a lifetime of intellectual inquiry that manifests itself in creative scholarship and research, often leading to careers in social, governmental, business, and industrial organizations as well as the more traditional careers in university and college teaching. The program emphasizes freedom of inquiry and expression and development of the student’s capacity to make significant contributions to knowledge. An essential element is the development of the ability to understand and evaluate critically the literature of the field and to apply appropriate principles and procedures to the recognition, evaluation, interpretation, and understanding of issues and problems at the frontiers of knowledge. All of this is most effectively accomplished in close association with those experienced in research and teaching.
“A central purpose of doctoral programs is the extension of knowledge, but this cannot be accomplished on all fronts simultaneously. Students must choose an area in which to specialize or a professor with whom to work. Individualized programs of study are then developed and committee members are selected. When all courses have been taken, the research finished, the dissertation written, and all examinations passed, the student will have acquired the knowledge and skills expected of a scholar and will have extended knowledge in the field.” (The Council of Graduate Schools in the United States, October 1977)
The Graduate School provides a semester by semester guideline to assist each graduate student in timely completion of all necessary documentation: http://gradschool.wsu.edu/students/