Doctoral Dissertation Timeline Examples

Year 1

Read broadly and deeply in area of interest

Apply for fellowships and student-oriented grants

Develop plan for summer project (by April)

Perform field or lab project in summer

Year 2

Apply for fellowships and student-oriented grants

Develop idea for dissertation research and begin writing dissertation proposal (by December)

Complete formal literature review, meta-analysis, proof-of-method, or proof-of concept related to dissertation idea (by end of Spring Quarter)

Submit manuscript from above study (by end of summer)

Perform field or lab project in summer

Year 3

Submit dissertation proposal to committee (by end of September)

Advance to Candidacy (by end of October)

Submit NSF DDIG proposal (October)

Perform field or lab research

Submit manuscript for completed lab or field work (by end of summer)

Year 4

Perform field or lab research

Submit manuscript for completed lab or field work (by end of summer)

Year 5

Complete remaining field and lab work

Apply for postdoctoral positions and funding

Finish writing dissertation

Defend dissertation and submit final version to UCI (by end of Spring Quarter)

Submit manuscript for completed lab or field work

Filed Under: PhD studentsTagged With: Planning

Scheduling the Dissertation and Producing a Timeline
Although some doctoral candidates will reject the idea of a rigid schedule, hoping instead for their research and writing to rush ahead at their own speed towards a satisfactory conclusion, the fact is that PhD degrees need to be completed within a certain period of time, scholarly research and writing are incredibly time-consuming and the situations presented by daily life are not always conducive to efficient progress. Even if your supervisor, committee, department or university does not require a dissertation timeline, it is therefore a very good idea to look ahead, design a schedule, write it up neatly, share it with your supervisory committee and keep it close to hand as you work towards your degree.

A dissertation timeline is essentially a chronological schedule of your anticipated progress in the research and writing you will be doing for your dissertation. The way in which a timeline is organised can vary, and your university or department may have an example or template that you can use as a model as you design your own, or your supervisor and perhaps your other committee members may be able to offer helpful advice. Most timelines are arranged by weeks, by months or by academic terms or semesters, and some will go all the way back to the beginning of a doctoral candidate’s course work, though this is not usually necessary. The primary concern is to outline a schedule for completing the main stages in the dissertation process (the drafting and revision of individual chapters, for instance). Your timeline may take the form of an extremely detailed table with information about your research and writing activities every week, or it may be a simple list of dates indicating the aspects or parts of your research and writing that you plan to have finished by those dates. Whether long and complex or short and simple, however, your timeline should definitely contain details and dates regarding the completion and final examination of your dissertation, and it is also important to include any bureaucratic or administrative procedures that may require extra time and effort.

It can be very helpful, by the way, to indicate in a diplomatic way in your timeline any necessary consultation with and feedback from your supervisor and other committee members: for example, ‘Week of 14 Jan.: meeting with supervisor to discuss draft of results chapter’ or ‘Month of March: revising chapters 2 and 3 in response to committee feedback.’ Your timeline is an informal contract of sorts which tells your supervisory committee that you will do your very best to meet the goals and deadlines that you have set for yourself, and while your responsibilities and obligations are therefore the main point, it is also wise to give those busy scholars the information they need to know just how important it is to your schedule and ultimately your progress and success that they do their very best to meet those deadlines as well. Sharing such a timeline with your committee members can also identify and prevent potential problems and conflicts. For example, perhaps one of your committee members will be away precisely when you, according to your timeline, will very likely require feedback on a freshly drafted chapter of your dissertation. If the committee member reads your timeline, he or she can inform you of the problem, and adjustments can be made to ensure that your progress continues unhindered. Your supervisor and other committee members may also have comments about the possibility or probability of your meeting the dates and deadlines you indicate: if so, remember that they have more research and writing experience than you do, and their comments should always be seriously considered.

A carefully planned timeline has the added benefit of helping you proceed efficiently with your research and writing by providing you with a firm schedule within which to work, and if you are prone to procrastination, you may even find it helpful to print up a copy of your timeline and attach it to the wall above your computer. Constructing a dissertation timeline can in itself be time-consuming, of course, as well as challenging, and you need to be both realistic and demanding in assessing your efficiency and future progress, but as an effective tool for keeping you on track and enabling a successful working relationship with your dissertation committee, a timeline is well worth the effort it requires.

Why our PhD Thesis Editing and Proofreading Services?
Years of planning, research, discussion, writing and editing (not to mention tuition) are invested in the PhD thesis that is usually required to earn a doctoral degree at universities, yet a PhD student can risk failure after all that hard work if the university or department guidelines have not been followed or the thesis contains too many grammar, spelling and punctuation errors. Our professional academic and scientific proofreaders can help you to eliminate this risk by carefully checking the accuracy and consistency of your writing and formatting, correcting errors where necessary and suggesting possible improvements. Our PhD thesis editing and proofreading services will give you more confidence in the work that you submit.  Learn more about our PhD thesis editing and dissertation proofreading services across all academic areas by professional PhD proofreaders.

Why our PhD Thesis Editing and Proofreading Services?
Years of planning, research, discussion, writing and editing (not to mention tuition) are invested in the PhD thesis that is usually required to earn a doctoral degree at universities, yet a PhD student can risk failure after all that hard work if the university or department guidelines have not been followed or the thesis contains too many grammar, spelling and punctuation errors. Our professional academic and scientific proofreaders can help you to eliminate this risk by carefully checking the accuracy and consistency of your writing and formatting, correcting errors where necessary and suggesting possible improvements. Our PhD thesis editing and proofreading services will give you more confidence in the work that you submit.  Learn more about our PhD thesis editing and dissertation proofreading services across all academic areas by professional PhD proofreaders.

Why Our Editing and Proofreading Services?
At Proof-Reading-Service.com we pride ourselves on our large and extremely dedicated team of academic and scientific professionals. Our proofreaders and editors are highly educated native speakers of English and their areas of specialisation range so widely that we are able to help our clients improve and perfect all kinds of research manuscripts for successful publication. Many members of our team work predominantly on articles intended for publication in scholarly journals, ensuring that formatting and references conform to author guidelines with precision and correcting grammar, punctuation, spelling and simple typing errors so that our customers are able to report their research in the clear and accurate ways required to impress acquisitions editors and earn publication.

Our editing services for authors of scientific papers and books are especially popular, but we have the experience and expertise to proofread and edit books in every scholarly discipline as well as beyond them, and some of our carefully trained proofreaders and editors work exclusively on helping students improve the formatting and language of their theses and dissertations. Whether you are preparing a conference paper for presentation or publication, polishing a professional report to share with your colleagues, or tackling the daunting task of editing and perfecting any kind of academic or scientific document, a qualified member of our expert team can provide invaluable assistance and give you greater confidence in your written work. Our translation services for scientific and academic documents have also proven immensely helpful for many of our international clients.


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