Doctor of Philosophy


Example timeline:

Year 1

Select your broad research area and your research advisor. Discuss with your advisor to narrow down the research area. Enroll for research credit hours under the supervision of your advisor. Select members of the advisory committee with help from the advisor. 

Take core courses and electives. Prepare for the written part of the qualifying exam.  Attend research colloquia and seminars.

Prepare for an annual report outlining the progress you have made towards your PhD¹

Year 2

Work on your research with a goal to publish at good venues (journals, conferences, and workshops). 

Continue coursework and hopefully complete coursework by the end of Year 2. Prepare for the written part of the qualifying exam.  Attend research colloquia and seminars.

Prepare year 2 annual report.

Year 3

Prepare for your qualifying exam Part I (deadline May). If unsuccessful, you have one more (and final chance) to pass the exam in early Fall. Prepare for your research aptitude (qualifying Part II) in consultation with your advisor. Continue working on your research and aim to publish your efforts. 

Complete the dissertation proposal and pass the Qualifying exam.  Do good research towards the dissertation and publish in quality conferences and journals.Attend research colloquia and seminars.

Prepare year 3 annual report.

Year 4

Defend your qualifying exam Part II (research aptitude), a written proposal for dissertation and an oral examination in Spring (or Summer). If successful, start working on the path towards your dissertation. Continue with the publication efforts. Attend research colloquia and seminars. 

Prepare year 4 annual report.

Year 5

Defend and submit your dissertation/thesis in Fall. 

Years 6-7

Students are expected to complete the Ph.D. in five years. So you are late, complete your thesis and any other requirements, as soon as possible. If your advisor has no grant support for you, you will not receive a stipend after five years.

¹ Courses taken, research seminars attended or given, publications, conference/workshop presentations, and overall progress in your PhD. Program.