Timeline for Satisfactory Ph.D. Progress

Note this page describes the timeline for those students who were admitted before 2012. The timeline for students admitted later is on the Graduate Program entry page.

Formal Exams

  1. Students shall attempt both parts of the Qualifying Examination no later than January of their second year and pass it by May, also of their second year.
  2. After passing the Qualifying Exam, each student will be provided an individual schedule indicating their deadlines for meeting all remaining requirements for the Ph.D.
  3. International students who do not receive a passing grade in the English Language Proficiency test must remain continuously enrolled in ESL courses until a passing grade is obtained. Failure to attend ESL classes will result in the termination of Teaching Assistant support. International students are expected to attain at least a Level 1 evaluation in English communication by the end of their second semester.

Research Advisor, Dissertation Committee and Prospectus

  1. Students are expected to acquire a thesis advisor no later than eight months after passing the Qualifying Examination. The student should request the relevant faculty member to inform the Graduate Program Director (or Graduate Program Office) upon arriving at this mutual decision between student and advisor. (Note: If a student wishes to choose a thesis advisor outside of Physics for physics related research, approval must be received from the Graduate Program Director.)
  2. Students are expected to form a dissertation committee no later than twenty months after passing the Ph.D. Qualifying Examination and submit to the Graduate Program Office. (See Instructions.)
  3. Students shall submit a dissertation prospectus (original hard copy) including the signature sheet to the Graduate Program Office by twenty-four months after passing the Ph.D. Qualifying examination. Part of the process of preparing the prospectus will include an oral presentation to the dissertation committee. (See Instructions)
  4. If NEEDED, due to a change in research advisors, or some other major problem, the above schedule may be revised by the Graduate Program Director.

Indication of Progress

  1. Students shall meet briefly each year with the Graduate Program Director to discuss plans, progress and deadlines. A summary of the meeting will be sent to the student and advisor.
  2. After passing the qualifying examination, it is expected that the student will aggressively pursue joining a research group in his/her area of interest. If there are concerns about how to go about this, the student is encouraged to meet with his/her academic advisor and/or the Graduate Program Director, either in the meeting discussed in bullet 1 above or in a separate meeting if the matter is considered urgent.
  3. Students must fulfill the Research Area Course requirement and accrue 18 thesis credits.

For Instructions:

Physics Department web site: Requirements for the Ph.D.

Graduate School Website: Information for current students

Impact of Schedule upon Status and Financial Support

  1. Assistantship forms for reappointment will only be processed for students making satisfactory progress as outlined above.
  2. Before a request is made to extend a student's Statute of Limitations (SOL), a justification and confirmation of satisfactory progress must be received from the student's research advisor.

Timeline for PH.D. Requirements

RESESARCH ADVISOR Appointed: Due 8 months after passing Quals
DISSERTATION COMMITTEE Appointed: Due 20 months after passing Quals
DISSERTATION PROPOSAL (Defended and Submitted): Due 24 months after passing Quals