Milestones to Your PhD

The following outline of program milestones is designed to aid you in your progress to your degree and make sure you stay on track and on time. For the official statement of degree requirements, see the Graduate Record and the specific program requirements as listed for the various Areas of Study.

Note:  The following reflects the policies of the 2016–2017 Graduate Record. Specific milestones and requirements may differ for students who entered in other years.

Year 1 Milestones (for everyone)
Language Plan 

Filed by the end of the first semester, in consultation with your advisor, this specifies which language(s) you will learn in order to meet the requirement. If a plan involves more than two languages, it should specify which must be certified before moving to comprehensive exams and which may be certified later. It may be revised later only by permission of the Graduate Committee.

Comprehensive Exam Plan

Filed by the end of the second semester and developed in consultation with the student’s advisor, the plan lists the specific exams the student will take. It may be revised later only by permission of the Graduate Committee.

Year 2 Milestones (for those with Advanced Standing)
Year 3 Milestones (for those without Advanced Standing)
Mid-Program Research Conference

Upon completion of coursework, the advisor will convene a conference with the student and two other faculty members. This conference will evaluate the student’s work, determine whether she or he has permission to proceed to exams, set a timetable for completion of exams and languages, and discuss likely directions for dissertation research. The advisor signs a form to give to the Graduate Coordinator.

Completion of Language Requirement

Communicate completion of each language to the Graduate Coordinator, who will check them off against the “Language Plan” filed in Year 1 and enter the milestone in SIS. You must complete at least one language before you start comprehensive exams.

Completion of Comprehensive Exams

Comprehensive exams must be successfully completed no later than the end of the semester following completion of coursework, although some exams may be taken during coursework. Communicate the passing of each exam via email to the Graduate Coordinator, who will check them off against the “Exam Plan” filed in Year 1 and enter this milestone in SIS. The student is a “degree candidate” or “ABD” once all of these exams are recorded in SIS as “passed.”

Year 3 Milestones (for those with Advanced Standing)
Year 4 Milestones (for those without Advanced Standing)
Dissertation Prospectus Defense

Within six months after completion of the language requirement and comprehensive exams, a conference is held to discuss the student’s dissertation research prospectus (often also called the dissertation proposal). The Graduate Coordinator will prepare paperwork for the committee members to sign upon the successful defense, and the paperwork will be immediately returned to the Graduate Coordinator to be recorded in SIS.

Years 5–7 Milestones

As you write your dissertation, Progress Reports must still be filed each semester with the Graduate Coordinator, but they are no longer tracked in SIS as official milestones.

The last milestone is defense of the dissertation.