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University of Pittsburgh

timeline

Typical Timeline for PhD Studies

timelineStudents who are making consistent progress toward their degree can expect to complete the MA in two years. Students receiving a Teaching Assistantship can therefore normally expect two years of support.

MA Timeline:

  • First Semester: Enroll in pedagogy and literary/cultural theory seminars; meet with the director of graduate studies to plan courses for second semester.
  • Second Semester: Meet with the director of graduate studies to plan courses for third semester and to select MA advisor, select topic for MA thesis;
  • Third Semester: Meet with the director of graduate studies to plan courses for third semester;
  • Fourth Semester: Take preliminary evaluation in January (consisting of a 1-hour oral exam and the submission of two papers [one in English, one in German]) and submit thesis to advisor during week following Spring recess.

Students who are making consistent progress toward their degree can expect to complete the PhD in three to four years beyond the MA. Students receiving a Teaching Fellowship can therefore normally expect three years of support beyond the MA.

PhD Timeline

  • First Year: meet with the director of graduate studies on a regular basis.
    • For students coming to the University of Pittsburgh with an MA from another institution, they must pass a preliminary evaluation consisting of a 1-hour oral exam and the submission of two papers (one in English, one in German) by the end of the first year (ideally in January). These students should also enroll in the pedagogy and literary/cultural theory seminars in their first year.
    • For students completing an MA at Pitt, complete written comprehensive exam in the Spring semester.
  • Second Year:
    • For students coming to the University of Pittsburgh with an MA from another institution, complete written comprehensive exam in the Fall semester and dissertation prospectus defense in the Spring semester.
    • For students completing an MA at Pitt, complete dissertation prospectus defense in the Fall semester.
  • Subsequent years:
    • Complete any remaining coursework. Meet with full doctoral committee annually—note: it is very common, and strongly encouraged, to spend time in Germany during these years. Speak with your advisor and the director of graduate studies about opportunities for this;
  • Final year: Thesis Defense

See the Graduate and Professional Bulletin for statutes of limitations for the MA an PhD degrees (usually 4 years for the MA and 8-10 years for the PhD).