PhD Program Timeline

All requirements for the PhD degree must normally be completed within six years of the start of course work.

In addition to completing your course requirements, preliminary exam and comprehensive exam as specified above, you should get started with your research agenda as soon as possible. This includes exploring research areas/topics, getting to know your research community, attending professional conferences in your research area, doing research, and disseminating research results via writing/submitting/publishing research papers and presenting them at appropriate venues. An important first step towards achieving this goal is to start meeting with your adviser regularly and integrate yourself into a research group of interest as soon as possible.

The guidelines below serve as a checklist for you to ensure that you are making adequate progress.

These bullet items are based on a timeline set by the Graduate School and the Graduate Committee, but we encourage you to complete them and the PhD program sooner if possible.

If you feel that you are behind according to this schedule, the Graduate Committee encourages you to seek discussion with your adviser, a faculty mentor, or the Graduate Committee.

Please note that adhering to these guidelines is a necessary but not sufficient condition for success. Ultimately, the quality of your research, and successfully completing the course requirements, preliminary exam, comprehensive exam and PhD dissertation will lead to the PhD degree.

Year 1

  • Find a research advisor by actively integrating yourself into a research group of interest
  • Meet with your adviser regularly
  • Complete 12-15 credit hours of course work
  • Create web page
    • Bio -- contact info, degrees, employment
    • Resume
    • Description of research interests and research projects
    • Publication list

Year 2

  • Conduct research with adviser and disseminate your research results
  • Complete 12-15 credit hours of course work
  • Prepare for your preliminary exam

Year 3

  • Conduct research with adviser and disseminate your research results
  • Complete Preliminary Exam
  • Complete coursework (30 hours, including breadth requirement)
  • Complete Area Exam

Year 4

  • Conduct research with adviser and disseminate your research results
  • Defend Proposal (Comprehensive Exam)

Year 5

  • Conduct research with adviser and disseminate your research results
  • Dissertation research work

Year 6

  • Complete dissertation work
  • Defend PhD Dissertation
  • Apply for jobs