More on the PhD process

I started to reply to Tash’s comment on the previous post, and then realized how long it was getting. 

So, to answer your question (and elaborate even further), I’m not quite ABD yet — at my school, you have to have pass your verbals as well (I’m assuming here that I’ve passed the written; I know my committee hasn’t even received the answers yet since I turned them in so late Friday afternoon). And I think that they might have to officially approve my dissertation proposal as well. But for us, the dissertation proposal is essentially a checkmark — it’s usually the first 3 chapters of your dissertation, and they don’t let you get that far down the road unless they agree with your topic, methodology, etc. The good thing about that though, is that I don’t have to be a full-time student until the proposal is approved. So I can work on it at my leisure for the next semester or two without having to pay tuition.

Again, I have to give mad props to my advisor for telling me that little shortcut.  He was actually one of the faculty members that I met when I toured the school as a junior in high school, and we ended up (by accident) buying a house two blocks away from him.  I think he kind of views me as a protege — he’s shepherded me through 10 years of college education at this point, so my progress really is a reflection of his ability to teach.  Going to the same school for multiple degrees may not be the best pedigree if you want to become a full-time academic researcher, but it does have its advantages if you’re heading down the terminal PhD path :).

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2 thoughts on “More on the PhD process

  1. Not really for us. Chapter 1 is your introduction 1-5 pages, usually. Ch 2 is the lit review, and Ch 3 is the methodology. Usually, my advisor likes to see the results of a pilot study a well to prove out that the methodology is sound. And remember that this is engineering — so it’s a lot easier to get 2&3 done than it would be in something like english or philosophy IMO. You pick a problem, see what other people have done, and then run your experiment, and that’s the bulk of your dissertation.

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