Wednesday, March 21, 2007
The PhD Timeline, doctor-t style
- Coursework -- 1 bibliography & research course (pass/fail); 3 one-term seminars (assignments vary, but a long [15-20 page] paper at the end of the course is pretty standard)
- Fulfill second and third language requirement -- most MAs require a second language, so only one additional language is required. This can be done by taking a course in German or French, sitting a translation exam, showing proof of 3rd year uni status in a language, or taking an advanced oral competency exam. The goal is reading knowledge of 2 languages other than English rather than fluency. Most people don't use their second or third languages unless they're native speakers.
- Choose candidacy exam areas, supervisor and committee members. Start reading for first exam -- read read read read read
- Make friends! Enjoy life on campus, because it will never be the same again.
- Write first candidacy exam in October (secondary field exam). Try not to freak out while waiting to hear results. Rethink how you study for exams because the next exam will be way better.
- Study for second exam (major field) -- read read read read read
- Write second candidacy exam. Results make you rethink again how you prepare.
- Devise special topics reading list for third (and final) exam.
- Study for last exam. Slowly realize your project has changed and oh my fucking god how am I going to write an exam I don't even care about anymore?
- Write final candidacy exam. Once again, results leave you miffed -- then you realize that it's an experience that isn't supposed to feel good. No matter how well you do, you will still suck in some way. Deal with it. Try to get over it.
- Get a TA position in another department in the fall. Love the work, but it's a great procrastination tool for dissertation stuff.
- Do a bunch of RA work in your field. Love it.
- Revise dissertation proposal twice. Start work on the dissertation anyway.
- Be happy goddamnit!