PhD Timeline

For students who already hold the master’s degree, the PhD specialization is generally completed on a 5-year timeline:

Year 1: Complete required courses. In consultation with the field advisor and/or graduate studies director, decide on a course of action for completing the foreign language requirement. Think of course papers as possible bases for dissertation topics, conference presentations, and publishable essays, and discuss these possibilities with faculty. Work with the field advisor to complete the transfer of credit process.

Year 2: Continue with coursework and look ahead to the dissertation, conference participation, and possible publications. Make significant progress toward completing the foreign language requirement and begin assembling a reading list for the PhD exam. Apply for funding to attend a national conference such as CCCC.

Year 3: Finish coursework and satisfy the foreign language requirement. Complete the PhD exams in the semester after finishing coursework. After completing the exam, register for dissertation research (24 hours required). Form a committee and work on a prospectus. Seek to present work at a national conference and to publish a short piece or submit an article for review.

Year 4: Complete dissertation prospectus by the fall of the fourth year. Work on data collection and/or literature review and draft the body of the dissertation. Continue building the resume through conference presentations, scholarly publication or public scholarship (as in academic blogs, professional newsletters, journalistic/community venues, or textbooks), and through service to the department and program.

Year 5: Continue revising the dissertation and plan to go on the academic job market, having completed more than half of the dissertation by the beginning of the fall semester. Submit one chapter of the dissertation for publication as an article.

Graduate School policy requires that PhD students complete the degree within a seven-year time limit (eight years if entering the doctoral program with a BA, not a master’s degree).