Dissertation Two-Year Schedule
|Welcome to the English Department Knowledge Base at the University of California, Santa Barbara.|
The following is a hypothetical two-year schedule for completing a dissertation (and making a first attempt at the job market). The schedule is timed on the premise that a student has completed the Department's "Doctoral Colloquium" course (English 591) the previous academic year with the completion of a draft prospectus and reading list; has spent the summer revising as needed; and is ready to submit the final prospectus to the Department's Graduate Committee at the beginning of Fall Quarter. (Of course, individual students may be on schedules that anticipate or lag this hypothetical timeline in some interleaved way.
Year 1: Fall Quarter
- First week of quarter: Submit prospectus draft (and reading list) to Graduate Committee.
- Last week of quarter: Take second qualifying exam ("Ph.D. orals exam." Go "ABD"!)
Year 1: Winter Quarter
- January: Begin work on a first chapter of the dissertation (whether the ordinal first chapter or some other chapter that it makes sense to start with).
- Early March: Complete draft of a chapter and schedule the required follow-up "first chapter" meeting with your dissertation committee. (Circulate this initial chapter to your committee both to set up for this meeting and to stoke the fires of any reference letters you may ask committee members to write for dissertation fellowship applications due in April.)
- Early April (1-15): Apply to Graduate Division and Interdisciplinary Humanities Center for dissertation fellowships (deadlines April 1-15).
Year 1: Spring Quarter (and Summer)
- May: "First chapter conversation" with your dissertation committee.
- June: Begin work on second chapter (unless suggestions from your committee about the first chapter are serious enough to make it a priority to revise that chapter before continuing).
- July-September: Prepare drafts of your job application materials (cover letter, c.v., dissertation abstract, sample chapter) and run them by your committee. Also consider preparing a piece of the dissertation for publication.
Year 2: Fall Quarter
- September: Complete draft of a second chapter.
- October-November: Revise job materials with help from the Department's Job Placement Committee. Mail job applications.
- Early March: Complete draft of third chapter.
Year 2: Spring Quarter (and Summer)
- Early April (1-15): Register for Commencement (ask your advise to "hood" you at the ceremony)
- June: Walk at Commencement!
- April-August: Complete remaining chapters. Or, if you have succeeded in placing in a job that starts in Fall, make contingency plans to cut a chapter or finish the dissertation while starting your new job.
The Finish Line
- September: File your dissertation!
Meanwhile . . . While writing your dissertation,
- TA at least once in the field in which you will be seeking a job
- Circulate for publication at least one article in your field
- Present a paper in one to two conferences (not too many).
- Keep in contact with your advisor (and committee), even if--or especially if--you are blocked.
By Elizabeth Cook, with Alan Liu; last revised March 3, 2005