Ph.D. next steps

I’ve fielded a few questions from family and friends lately about my Ph.D. program, which made me realize that I haven’t communicated very well about next steps now that classes are over.

Here’s what’s up:

First, in the very near future (though we’re instructed not to share with anyone exactly when each of us starts, and it’s different for each student) I’ll have 10 days of written comprehensive exams. This will be my opportunity to prove that I learned everything that I was supposed to in my almost-two-years of classes. I haven’t seen my specific questions yet, but from what I gather, there’ll be a handful of sweeping questions meant to give me the chance to show my scholarly mastery and my practitioner experience.

Assuming all goes well with the written comps, I’ll then have oral exams sometime early in 2015, where the faculty will confirm that I’ve truly developed the depth of subject matter expertise one would expect from a Ph.D. in this field. If I pass both my written and oral comps, I officially become a Ph.D. candidate and can start my research and dissertation.

So, still a long path ahead — probably 1-2 years, with a few major hurdles to overcome. But, at least I’m past the first stage, and no longer have multiple deadlines every week to keep me stressed out and overcommitted.

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