The Ph.D. Year by Year

First Year of Graduate Study

In the first year, graduate students normally take eight courses, six of which are the required courses described in the handbook, and two of which are other substantive courses based on the student’s areas of interest. We recommend completion of the Sheridan Center (Level One) teaching certification during this year. All students receive a mid-year evaluation from the DGS. The faculty advisor assigned upon entering the program will serve as the students advisor until the student notifies the student affairs coordinator of his or her chosen MA thesis advisor. During the summer after the first year of study, students build on their coursework and pursue a research project. The project normally forms the basis of the MA thesis.

Second Year of Graduate Study

In the second year students take additional seminars in theory and advanced methodology courses, along with courses in areas of substantive specialization. Students write their MA thesis in the second year, in consultation with their MA advisor, and submit the thesis to the committee during the fourth semester of graduate study. After successful completion of the MA thesis, students are strongly encouraged to submit the thesis to an academic journal for peer-review and present the work at professional conferences. During the second year students continue refining their planned areas of specialization for the preliminary exam, taking courses in the areas of their intended exams. Students also often complete their two semester teaching requirement by the end of their second year.

Third Year of Graduate Study

In the third year students take additional coursework, prepare and complete preliminary exams, continue the work of publishing the master’s thesis, and begin to develop dissertation topics. Completion of these preliminary examinations should be before the beginning of the fourth year of graduate study. All coursework (24 course credits earned) should be completed by the end of the third year of study.

Subsequent Years

By the fourth year, students will have completed the MA thesis, coursework, and preliminary examinations. Their fourth year is normally devoted to dissertation proposal preparation and presentation. During their fifth year, students work to complete and defend their dissertation. Preparation for applying for teaching and research positions, the job interview process, and related issues typically occur in the final year.