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PhD Program Plans

[Part of the Policies of the CHD, August 2019]

Prospective Ph.D. Program Plan: Spring of G1 year

By mid-semester of the Spring of the G1 year, students should submit a Prospective Ph.D. program plan.  The Ph.D. program plan specifies the ten SEAS graduate-level half-courses, or acceptable alternatives, be taken to satisfy the course requirements for the degree.  The plan should contain a Proposed Dissertation Topic / Area of Research.  The plan should be supplemented by a statement to explain the area of interest and the educational rationale for the courses included in the program.  A major test of a program's intellectual validity is the possibility of providing a rational and persuasive argument in its favor.  Supporting statements by the student's advisor(s) may also be necessary.  The explanatory statement should be as brief as is consistent with clarity and completeness.

After consultation with their first-year advisor, the student will submit the Ph.D. program plan form by the announced deadline, usually in March of the G1 year.  If necessary, the Application for Academic Credit for Graduate Work Done Elsewhere form also should be completed and attached to the prospective plan.

After reviewing the prospective program plan, the CHD may suggest or require modifications.  It is in the best interest of the student that the prospective program plan be submitted as early as possible, during the first semester if possible; in no case may submission be delayed beyond April of the G1 year.  An approved prospective program plan is normally a condition for registration for a third semester.

At any time after approval of the prospective program plan, changes to it are subject to approval by the CHD.        

Ph.D. Program Plan (including qualifying exam committee): Fall of the G2 year

In consultation with the research advisor, the student will submit the Ph.D. Program Plan form by mid-November, preferably earlier.   The final program plan serves two purposes: (1) it updates the prospective program plan by noting any revisions to the ten courses to be taken, and (2) it serves to form the qualifying exam committee.  The committee includes the research advisor and nominations by both the student and the research advisor of one member each.  The CHD reviews the final program plan and, on behalf of the Dean, nominates a fourth member for the qualifying committee, who is a SEAS faculty member

An approved final program plan is normally a condition for registration for a fourth semester.