Ph.D. in English sample timeline

First year

Fall

  • Read degree requirements (general and program-specific) on English website and Graduate School website
  • Read the Graduate Student Survival Handbook on the Graduate School website
  • Meet with Director of Graduate Studies in English in the early weeks of the semester
  • Meet twice with appointed faculty mentor
  • Plan approach to fulfill the requirements for your degree (including language requirements)
  • Submit transfer credit evaluation form to Director of Graduate Studies
  • Meet and talk with faculty members who share your interests

Spring

  • Check progress toward degree requirements, including foreign languages
  • Start thinking about who you might want to chair your committee and about fields for your exams
  • Consider applying for internships, or volunteer work that gives professional experience
  • Consider attending a professional conference and/or joining a few professional organizations

Summer

  • Consider doing a summer internship, field institute, or volunteer work
  • Consider and begin to research possible scholarly focus areas
  • Continue language classes if requirements not met

Second year

Fall

  • Choose a committee chair and in consultation with chair, form rest of your committee
  • Check progress toward degree requirements, including foreign language requirements
  • Submit program of study form to Director of Graduate Studies
  • Discuss comprehensive exams with your chair and begin planning your approach
  • Become more professionally involved (memberships, internships, conferences, etc.)

Spring

  • Complete coursework and any outstanding requirements (foreign language, etc.)
  • In consultation with chair, complete reading list for exams

Summer

  • Continue preparing for comprehensive exams
  • Consider doing a summer internship, field institute, or volunteer work
  • Become more professionally active (presenting work, publishing book reviews, etc.)

Third year

  • Complete any outstanding coursework or requirements (foreign language, etc.)
  • Complete comprehensive exams this year
  • When comprehensive exams are passed, submit admission to candidacy form to Graduate School
  • In consultation with chair, begin to determine dissertation topic
  • Draft a dissertation prospectus
  • Talk with your chair about the following issues:
    • Presenting papers at conferences and making professional connections
    • Sending out an essay or two for publication
    • Applying for grants and fellowships
  • Attend department academic job placement workshop
  • After you have completed comprehensive exams, consider diversifying teaching

Fourth year

  • Get dissertation prospectus approved by committee if you haven't already done so
  • Determine dissertation completion timeline with your chair
  • Consider sending out modified dissertation chapters for publication
  • Continue presenting papers at conferences and making professional connections
  • Attend department academic job placement workshop
  • Familiarize yourself with the job market and application procedures
  • Draft strong C.V., cover letter, writing sample(s), statement of teaching philosophy
  • Continue to diversify teaching experiences
  • Consider applying for research and/or dissertation fellowships
  • Consider attending the MLA (and/or CCCC) conference

Fifth year

  • Complete your dissertation
  • Defend your dissertation
  • Participate in department academic job placement workshop
  • Revise C.V., cover letter, writing sample(s), statement of teaching philosophy
  • Establish a dossier and solicit letters of recommendation
  • Go on the job market
  • Continue to diversify teaching experiences
  • Plan to attend the MLA (and/or CCCC) conference for job interviews
  • Continue applying for jobs through spring
  • Submit application for graduation to Graduate School early
  • Submit dissertation to Graduate School

Note: A teaching assistantship in the Ph.D. program may be held for a maximum of five years. The Ph.D. degree must be completed within eight years. This timeline represents a general model for your progress toward the degree. The key is to be aware of what you're doing, keep medium and long-range goals in mind and consult frequently with your mentor/chair.