Ph.D. Dissertation
Once the coursework and field papers are completed, students proceed to the dissertation stage. The first step is to delineate an original research project in a dissertation prospectus. Presented to a faculty examining committee, the prospectus provides the principal basis for discussion during the qualifying oral examination which advances the student to PhD. candidacy. Sometimes the dissertation emerges directly from earlier field papers; but students often extend themselves in unexpected directions as they open new avenues of discovery. Either way, we take it as our obligation to try to provide constructive guidance without usurping the student’s intellectual autonomy. In the usual course of things, we expect students to complete their graduate training in five to seven years.