Typical PhD Program Roadmap

Placement Examinations
These exams are taken upon entering the program and determine whether any remedial undergraduate level course work is necessary.

Remedial and Advanced Coursework
The bulk of coursework is generally completed during the first two years in the program.

Literature Seminar
Graduate students give at least one seminar based on coursework literature to the department during the first two years in the program.

Cumulative Examinations
These monthly examinations test students’ ability to independently learn new material. They are generally taken after the bulk of the coursework is completed and may last one to two years.

Qualifying Examination
This comprehensive exam in the student’s specialization area is generally taken in the third year after all course and cumulative exam requirements have been completed.

Research Proposal
Students usually base their research proposal on independent ideas or their graduate research. The research proposal evaluates the student’s ability to develop independent research ideas and is usually presented during the third or fourth year.

Research Project
The research project, which is the basis for the thesis, begins during the first year and continues throughout the program.

Writing and Defense of Thesis
Students write their thesis once all research has been completed. The successful defense of a thesis marks the completion of graduate work.