Timetable for Degree Completion

Students and research projects do not all progress at the same pace. The following timetables are realistic ones offered to guide your progress, but departure from them is acceptable. There are, however, some firm departmental deadlines as well as specific Graduate School deadlines which must be adhered to. The Graduate School also requires that certain forms be completed: these include the Master's or Doctoral Supervisory Committee Nomination Form and the Intent to Graduate Form. These forms are available on-line and copies are attached to this document.

In general in this department, most students take 3 years to complete a Master's and about 4 to 6 years to complete a Ph.D.

First Year

Fall Semester

  •  The week before school starts, there is an orientation. All incoming students meet individually with faculty
  •  Meet with Graduate Student Coordinator for assistance for the first semester of courses and to schedule rotations
  •  Attend weekly graduate seminars
  •  Do two to three six- or eight-week rotations

Spring Semester

  •  Faculty advisor is chosen
  •  Advisory committee is chosen and form completed. M.S. students: The Master's Supervisory Committee Form must be completed and the form sent to the
  •  Graduate School. Ph.D. students: The Doctoral Supervisory Committee Form must be completed and the form sent to the Graduate School (in some cases  this form may not be completed for Ph.D. until fall semester of the 2nd Year).
  •  Meet with advisory committee to determine courses and assess progress
  •  Apply for summer TA Fellowships (Feb or March)

Summer of First Year

  • Recommended for Master's students: complete a draft of a thesis proposal for review by committee.
  • This is the most important time for performing research.

Second Year

Fall Semester

  • Meet with Guidance Committee to advise them of summer progress and to obtain advice about curriculum, thesis proposal and future studies.
  • It is recommended that students consider applying for a NSF Graduate Fellowship due in November.

Spring Semester

  • Meet with Guidance Committee and inform them of progress
  • Ph.D. students: Meet with Guidance committee in February to present and review topics for Second-Year Exam.
  • Apply for summer TA Fellowships (Feb.)
  • Students should complete the Second-Year Exams (either spring or summer before the start of the third year). An announcement should be made to all faculty of date of oral presentation of Second-Year Exam. If passed, the first part of the Doctoral Candidacy Form should be completed and the Graduate Coordinator notified of the outcome.

Third Year

  •  Master's students should be defending Master's thesis proposal.
  •  Ph.D. students should take Third-Year Qualifying exams. If passed, the Doctoral Candidacy Form should be completed and sent to the Graduate School.
  •  If Qualifying exams have been taken and passed or are about to be taken, then candidates can apply for Dissertation Fellowships. Application for Dissertation  Fellowships normally are submitted the year before the student intends to write and defend the dissertation.

Fourth, Fifth or Sixth Year

  •  Complete research
  •  Write thesis and give an oral defense
  •  Submit the Intent-to-Graduate Form to Graduate School