Academic Milestones

Here are resources to help you progress through your program and accomplish the major milestones toward success and graduation. Your program handbook is your most detailed resource.

MA Program Handbook

The MA handbook is your most complete source of guidelines and resources for the GTU Common MA program. It is updated each summer.

Doctoral Program Handbook

The Doctoral Student Handbook is available for download as a single file.

The table of contents at the beginning of the handbook will help you familiarize yourself with what is inside. Once you arrive at the beginning of a section, scroll through it to find the specific data you need. You can also use the “find” function to search for key words.

"Quick Guide" for Doctoral Program Steps and Procedures
Mapping Your Doctoral Career
Mapping Your Doctoral Career (Blank)

Deadlines and Forms

MA and doctoral program forms, proposal, petitions, and checklists are accessible from this page.

Certificate Program Handbook

The Certificate in Interreligious Studies is the first fully online program offered by the GTU, and the handbook provides helpful info for program requirements.

Modern Research Language Resources and Exams

MA and Doctoral students are required to demonstrate proficiency in research languages appropriate to their program and topic of study.  Students can certify by passing a language exam offered three times a year from 1:00-4:45 p.m pacific, or petition to use prior or current course work equivalent to two years of study as outlined in the program handbooks.

  • Modern Foreign Language Exam September 27, 2023 (deadline to register September 6th)
  • Modern Foreign Language Exam February 28, 2024 (deadline to register February 7th)
  • Modern Foreign Language Exam May 22, 2024 (deadline to register May 1st)

To register for an exam please complete this form by the deadlines listed above.

Language intensives are offered each summer that help students prepare to pass the language exam.

Summer Language Study 2024

Dates: TBA

French (9am-noon)
German (9am-noon)
Spanish (9am-noon)

The GTU offers intensive summer language courses in French, German, and Spanish, designed to prepare registered students for the modern foreign language exam. Taught by experienced language instructors, the courses focus on grammar, building vocabulary, and translation practice for three hours a day for four weeks. Each class culminates with a modern foreign language exam. Check tuition and fees page.

These courses are open to current GTU students as well as members of the wider community. 

Current students can register on via the Continuing Education module once registration is open in late Spring. Others seeking to register, and those with registration questions, can email GTU registrar John Seal or call 510-649-2462. .

Research Involving Human Subjects

Students who intend to use human subjects as part of their thesis or dissertation research (e.g. qualitative research, such as interviewing) must develop a "Human Subjects Protocol" to assure that human subjects will be treated in a manner consistent with their dignity and autonomy, that subjects consent freely and in an informed manner to participate in the research, and that human subjects are either not at risk or are protected from any risks or harms posed by the research. Students should consult the "Guidelines and Procedures for Review of Research Involving Human Subjects."

If a protocol is required, students must receive approval from a member of the Human Subjects Protocol Review Committee. This process is coordinated by the GTU Dean of Students. Approval must occur prior to beginning the research and before submitting the thesis or dissertation proposal.

Doctoral Program Research Readiness Review (RRR)

Doctoral students write two 20 page research papers in courses at the 4000 level or above during the first two semesters of their program. By the end of semester three the student will complete a research readiness review with their advisor.

Doctoral Program Comprehensive Examinations

The comprehensive examinations mark a significant milestone in the doctoral program, a bridge from coursework to the dissertation. Successful exams will serve a three-fold purpose with reference to scholarly credentials, strategic planning, and refining the student’s own academic convictions. First, the exams demonstrate to the members of the committee the student’s breadth and depth of knowledge in the chosen field through substantive research and the ability to develop critically constructive arguments. Second, students should consider for strategic purposes the latest trends in their chosen fields and where future research and publishing needs might appear to which they can contribute. The best exams will also reflect the student’s own passionate convictions. Students and faculty advisors should consider this three-fold purpose in plotting the two years of coursework, mapping the proposal, and selecting committee members. 

Students should meet with their advisors early in the program to discuss particular areas of interest and strategize about coursework. While not every course taken will be reflected in the comprehensive exams, the courses should prepare the student to demonstrate proficiency in both primary and secondary areas of concentration, show competence in an appropriate university discipline, and contribute to the ongoing refinement of the student’s particular research goals, which will come to fruition in the dissertation. 

Ideally, by the end of the second year of coursework, students will start outlining particular topics of interest in both the primary and second areas of concentrations and prepare a preliminary bibliography for each. Consider how the format for each exam (whether a timed exercise, a paper, or the development of a course) matches the strategic purposes noted above. The proposal is finalized and approved in the third year, and students have one year to complete the exams and take the oral.


The Doctoral Dissertation

The first step toward the dissertation is to design your committee of three members, the Coordinator, who must be a member of the Core Doctoral Faculty in your Concentration, a second reader, and an outside reader. The Academic Dean approves your Committee. The work you have done on your Comprehensive Exams to develop a dissertation topic will help lead you to creating the dissertation proposal, to be approved first by your committee, and then the Doctoral Council.