Welcome to the GradCafe

Hello!  Welcome to The GradCafe Forums.You're welcome to look around the forums and view posts.  However, like most online communities you must register before you can create your own posts.  This is a simple, free process that requires minimal information. Benefits of membership:

  • Participate in discussions
  • Subscribe to topics and forums to get automatic updates
  • Search forums
  • Removes some advertisements (including this one!)
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
  • entries
    10
  • comments
    15
  • views
    4,995

PhD - The First Year

MarkMc

1,532 views

So - as I attempt to procrastinate my way into ignoring very real assignment commitments, I figured I'd write a post on "what happens next."  As you may (or may not know) I applied to 6 programs, was accepted 3, and ended up attending my first choice program.  I applied to 4 PhD Programs, a DPA program, and a DBA program.  I got into 2 PhD programs and the DBA programs.  Of course I've gone back to see what the other programs look like.  One PhD program gets 30-40 applications and accepts 4 with hopes of getting 2.  The year prior to my application they accepted only and were looking for faculty. No specific details.  The other PhD only took in 4 students against a usual class of 10-12.  Suddenly I don't feel so badly.  I considered the DPA to be a sure thing - still not sure what went wrong there.  So - now that I've reflected on my defeats - where is it all at?

I ended up with a summer entry - taking a summer course in my specialization (3 credits).  For the fall I took two courses, one in the program main curriculum (3 credits) and another in my specialization (3 credits), along with a research residency (1 credit).  The result - All A's (including an A+ - I didn't even know these existed!).  For 2017 I'm in my residency year, which requires that I do one 9 credit semester and an 18 credit year.  I took the 9 credits in the spring (which is now and the work I'm currently avoiding).  One course has concluded (I needed a 62 on the final paper to get an A - so I should be ok there).  The second course, which I'm working now (I need to submit two papers tonight, one is half written, the other is a short research report - I'm taking "short" to heart).  This course has given almost nothing in terms of feedback, so I really don't know where I stand.  The third the professor (who is also my program planning chair) went out early in the semester with medical issues.  I don't know when or if she'll return, so this could complicate things.  The sub in professor has been fantastic and I'm chugging along quite nicely.  That paper is due in about 5 days.  I will start it right after I finish these two.  

Am I happy I went into the program?  Yes.  Do I regret it?  Also, yet.  It has been an overwhelming amount of work, but I can see and feel my growth as an academic.  This is part of the life/career plan - so I'm fortunate to be moving forward and accomplishing the goals I've set for myself.  For the rest of this year I'll be taking an independent study this summer to work on a paper that can lead to publication as well as a conference (which will be 3 credits and falls into the professional development section).  In the fall I'll take another specialization course and another core curriculum.  

In terms of progress I'm currently planning to sit for prelims at the 3 year mark and have set aside another year and a half for dissertation.  This would put me out at about 4.5 years, well below average (from what I've read) and well before my 40th birthday (my goal).  I'm just hoping I can sustain momentum and clear prelims without too much a challenge.  To all of you just starting - I wish you the very best.  Dig in, dig deep, and keep moving forward.  Good luck to you all.

 

 




5 Comments


Did you have an MA/MS going into your Ph.D. program? I am beginning a Ph.D. program in the fall and I'm coming out of an M.A. program and I'm looking at 4-4.5 years to completion. I want a full 2 years to write dissertation.

Share this comment


Link to comment

I did - I finished my MA/MBA (it was a dual program) in December of 2015 - I started Summer of 2016 into the PhD.  They require at least 17 credits come from Master's level work - I brought in 22 and also waived the first research course.  Total program is 85 credits (including dissertation credits) so I'm all in for about 63 of "work."  We require 18 dissertation credits (included in the 63) and I'm planning to pace at about 4.5 years myself.  That leaves 3 semesters (Fall, Spring, Fall) to complete the dissertation, provided I get through prelims, etc. unscathed.  Unfortunately I don't qualify to sit for Prelims until the conclusion of a Spring Semester (unless I can get the professor to work me a head and grade my items - as one of the courses I'm taking that spring is a qualifier) and will hope I can assemble a committee for summer or first thing in Fall.  It'll be a little tricky, but I think I can swing it.

On ‎5‎/‎5‎/‎2017 at 11:03 PM, cowgirlsdontcry said:

Did you have an MA/MS going into your Ph.D. program? I am beginning a Ph.D. program in the fall and I'm coming out of an M.A. program and I'm looking at 4-4.5 years to completion. I want a full 2 years to write dissertation.

 

Share this comment


Link to comment

You certainly have your hands full. I graduated with 36 hours, including 6 of thesis and my PhD program will bring in no more than 18, which leaves me with 30 hours of classwork before I begin dissertation. We teach 6 hours per semester so take 6 hours of classwork, although I'm taking 8 each semester this school year, as there are two classes of practicum required that do not count towards the degree. I haven't been there yet, but think that is about as much as I can reasonably take and teach two classes.

Share this comment


Link to comment
14 hours ago, cowgirlsdontcry said:

You certainly have your hands full. I graduated with 36 hours, including 6 of thesis and my PhD program will bring in no more than 18, which leaves me with 30 hours of classwork before I begin dissertation. We teach 6 hours per semester so take 6 hours of classwork, although I'm taking 8 each semester this school year, as there are two classes of practicum required that do not count towards the degree. I haven't been there yet, but think that is about as much as I can reasonably take and teach two classes.

It certainly keeps things interesting.  My dual program was 60 credits, but the MBA individually would have been 42 or the MA would have been 45.  I've seen MBAs reach up to 60 credits.  I have to do about 45 credits (outside of what was brought in) of course work, plus 18 credits of dissertation.  Everything I do is "for credit" with varying levels of credit awarded (most classes are 3 credits, but there is a 1 and a 2 credit course in "research residencies."  My grades just posted and I managed to pull all As for the three courses this semester.  I envy the lighter course credit work!

Share this comment


Link to comment

Good job. I just graduated and ended up with a 4.0 GPA for my MA. I know it will be more difficult for the PhD. Did you find that it was a couple of steps up from the Master's level coursework you took?

Share this comment


Link to comment

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now