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Progress Expectations by Year

The Graduate School requires that the faculty review student progress each Spring. The faculty use these benchmarks to gage student progress in the program. We document when students fall behind these benchmarks, and students who miss key deadlines may find their funding jeopardized.

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First year expectations:

Graduate students are assigned a first year advisor from their primary subfield to help select courses and answer questions.  Students meet with their assigned advisor before the start of each quarter.  Students may change their advisor during their first year.  We expect first year students to:

  • Fully complete nine courses by the end of the Spring term (e.g. no incompletes).
  • Begin to identify potential dissertation advisors.
  • Through discussions with potential dissertation advisors or the first year advisor, develop a plan to complete course requirements for the first and second fields of study, the departmental methods requirement, and the Research Paper Requirement.
  • Complete and submit the First Year Review form by July 1. 
  • Submit the relevant course and First Year Review information in the TGS tracking system.

Second year expectations:

After the first year, students identify a core advisor who will guide them through the rest of the graduate program. Usually this advisor will become the Dissertation Chair, but decisions about the dissertation committee will be made during the third year of the program.  Students interested in dual degree programs should discuss program options with advisors during their second year.

  • Complete program course requirements.
  • Submit a paper for the Research Paper Requirement no later than the first day of spring quarter.  This requirement must be satisfied by July 1 to remain in good standing.
  • Complete the five-course requirement for a second field of specialization, achieving a B+ or higher in each course.
  • Develop a plan to complete the primary field exam by no later than the fall of the 3rd year.
  • Successfully fulfill the teaching training requirement by serving as a teaching assistant.
  • Identify an advisor with whom you expect to work on your dissertation.
  • Discuss with your advisor whether it makes sense to conduct exploratory dissertation research over the summer.
  • In May, update your field exam courses, completion of the Research Paper Requirement, and advisor information in the TGS tracking system. 

Third year expectations:

  • Complete comprehensive examination requirements.
  • Select a Dissertation Chair, make significant progress on a dissertation prospectus, and identify members of a dissertation committee.
  • Supplement as needed methods and language training for the dissertation.
  • Develop your teaching resume. Create a strong CTEC track record, and consider pursuing a departmental or university teaching training program or certificate.
  • Participate in the scholarly life of the university, completing certificate programs, attending talk series, and auditing courses inside and outside of the Department that could further your dissertation research.
  • Research outside funding opportunities, and prepare funding applications.
  • Make concrete plans for any dual degree.

Fourth year expectations:

Ideally, students would enter their fourth year with a dissertation prospectus already defended.  To continue the program in good standing, a prospectus must be defended by the end of the Fall quarter of the 4th year.  This requirement also means that a student will have assembled a dissertation committee.

  • Make sure that you have defended your dissertation prospectus no later than the end of the Fall quarter.   Note your advance to candidacy in the TGS tracking system.
  • Apply for funding, and conduct the bulk of your dissertation research.
  • Stay in contact with your dissertation committee!  Discuss any change of research plans with your Dissertation Chair.
  • Create a progress and/or completion strategy with your Dissertation Chair.
  • Work on your visibility. Update your departmental web page with information about your dissertation project, committee, and any web or journal publications.
  • Participate in professional development aimed at preparing for the job market.

Fifth year and beyond:

Because guaranteed funding is coming to a close, the fifth year focuses on research completion. Students who need more time typically extend their funding by securing outside research support, and finding teaching opportunities on campus or in the region.

  • Make a completion strategy with your Dissertation Chair.
  • Discuss job market strategies with your dissertation committee
  • Become more visible—create a personal website, create conference and working papers, find opportunities to present your research on campus and beyond.
  • Participate in TGS professional and job searching training