The Composition and Rhetoric program prepares Ph.D. students for a wide range of professional and personal opportunities. The below timelines are designed to provide you with a general sense of how our doctoral students develop and proceed through their programs of study. We recommend that students incorporate conference presentations, publishing, and administrative and consulting experiences (e.g. Writing Center, Composition Program, etc.) into their programs. Thus, these guidelines include suggestions for when you might integrate these professional opportunities into your program of study.

5 Year Timeline

This timeline is for doctoral students who must complete the degree during their term of UNL Teaching Assistantship support. Direct Admit students entering with a BA only should add a Year Zero to this timeline to complete 24 hours, 18 in fall/spring and 6 in summer.

The Program of Study form lists the courses and other requirements to be completed for the degree.  The standard program consists of 90 graduate hours and a language requirement, divided as follows:  30-36 hours transferred in from the MA or M.Ed.; 34-37 hours of UNL courses; 20 dissertation hours; and non-credit language requirement. 

 

 

Coursework

Forms and Graduate Requirements

Professional Development

Year One

Complete 18 hours of coursework

EARLY SPRING: Select Doctoral committee; LATE SPRING: file Program of Study

Submit for 1-2 conferences related to your seminar papers for coursework

Year Two

Complete 15 hours of coursework

Plan field and focus lists with your advisor

Submit for 1-2 conferences; revise and submit your best seminar paper for publication

Year Three

Complete remaining coursework; if you have TA, use dissertation hours to maintain required credit hour numbers

SUMMER OR FALL:
Submit Field and Focus Lists and Rationale for Graduate Committee Approval; Complete language requirement
SPRING: Submit Comprehensive Exam Portfolios, hold Comprehensive Orals, file Admission to Candidacy form 

Revise your best Comprehensive exam paper and submit it for journal publication;
Consider applying for associate coordinator of composition or writing center

Year Four

 

SUMMER & FALL: Develop dissertation Prospectus, hold formal Prospectus meeting;
SPRING: SPRING, complete 1/3 to 2/3 of your dissertation, have your advisor read, comment, and hopefully approve these sections

If you haven’t already, consider applying for associate coordinator of comp/WC

Year Five

 

SUMMER & FALL: share diss chapters revised from advisor-comments with readers; develop job search materials; SPRING: use existing chapters of diss. for job talks on campus visits; work out timeline for finishing dissertation for May or August graduation

 

 

9 Year Timeline

This doctoral timeline is for students with non-UNL employment or who are able to extend their studies:

The two important rules from Graduate College to be aware of are 1) the Academic Residency rule (Most doctoral students who aren’t on UNL TA count as category 2 as listed below)
For a student beginning a doctoral program in the University of Nebraska system with a masters degree, the academic residency requirement for the PhD is 27 hours of graduate course work within a consecutive 18-month period or less. For 1) a member of the University staff who is engaged at least half time in instruction or research in their major area, or 2) a person employed in their major field, the residency requirement is 24 credit hours of graduate work within a consecutive two-year period with the further provision that they take at least 12 of these after receiving the masters degree or its equivalent.
And 2) the 8 year rule:

The time limit on granting the doctoral degree is eight years from the time of filing the student’s Program of Studies in the Office of Graduate Studies.

The Program of Study form lists the courses and other requirements to be completed for the degree.  The standard program consists of 90 graduate hours and a language requirement, divided as follows:  30-36 hours transferred in from the MA or M.Ed.; 34-37 hours of UNL courses; 20 dissertation hours; and non-credit language requirement. 

The recommended timeline below fulfills the Residency Requirement in Years 3 & 4, files the Program of Studies form in year two, allowing a total of 9 years for the program.

  Coursework Forms and Graduate Requirements Professional Development
Year One Take 9 hours of coursework (one each semester and one during summer)    
Year Two Take 12 hours of coursework (one 4-credit course each semester; one 4-hour ind. study over summer) FALL: Select doctoral committee
SPRING: File Program of Study
Submit for 1 conference related to your seminar papers
Year Three Take 12 hours (one 4-credit course each semester, and 4 hours of Independent Study or Dissertation hours over the summer   Revise a seminar paper for submission for publication; Submit for 1 conference this year
Year Four Take any remaining courses, one per semester, to complete UNL coursework (3-6 hours) SPRING: begin working with your doctoral advisor to plan for Field and Focus Comprehensive reading lists SUMMER: Complete language requirement  
Year Five Sign up for one dissertation hour each semester to keep yourself active in the UNL grad system. FALL: Complete your reading of your Field and Focus Reading Lists, and develop your Comprehensive Exam Portfolio of essay and teaching materials on the Field and Focus
SPRING: Schedule and pass your Comprehensive Oral Exam in Spring Year Five.  File Admission to Candidacy form. 
SUMMER: revise an essay or teaching unit from your Comprehensive Exam Portfolio and submit it for publication in fall of year 6
Year Six Sign up for one dissertation hour each semester to keep yourself active in the UNL grad system Use the year to develop your Dissertation Prospectus; LATE SPRING: Prospectus meeting with your committee; SUMMER: start writing the dissertation Submit for one conference this year.
Year Seven Sign up for one dissertation hour each semester. Complete a solid draft of half the dissertation this year.  Have your doctoral advisor read, comment on, and recommend revisions.  SUMMER: Complete revisions. Submit for one conference this year.
Year Eight Sign up for one dissertation hour each semester. FALL: share first half of dissertation with your readers to get their feedback.  If one of your chapters is a stand-alone piece, send it out for publication this year.  SPRING: Complete draft of second half of dissertation and submit to advisor for comments. SUMMER: develop job search materials if you are going on the national or regional job market
Year Nine Sign up for one dissertation hour Work out timeline with your committee for graduation requirements for May or August graduation.  (See graduation semester timeline.) Finalize job search materials if you’re on the market. NCTE interviews and campus visits (for English Ed positions) are late fall; MLA interviews (for comp/rhet) and campus visits are early spring.  Use the materials generated over the past two years for job talks and teaching demonstrations.

For your semester of graduation, please refer to the appropriate timeline:
**Please consult the graduate studies webpage for specific dates and for more detailed information about the forms and process.

MAY GRADUATION

Late January: Complete application for degree

Early February: Give the final completed dissertation to readers.  By this point, your dissertation chair should already have approved the dissertation, and your committee should have already commented a large portion of the project. This version should reflect that feedback process, incorporating appropriate revisions.

End of March: Application for Final Oral Examination; this should be signed by two designated readers and the chair. Their signatures indicate the dissertation is ready for defense.

Schedule a time and location for the defense.

Mid April: Oral defense
Immediately after Oral defense: Present dissertation to Grad College for checking and stamping, submit final version to Love Library, and complete other Final Steps listed on the Graduate College webpage.

AUGUST GRADUATION

Mid-June: Complete application for degree

Early May: Give the completed dissertation to readers. By this point, the committee has typically already seen and commented a large portion of the project. This version should reflect that feedback process, incorporating appropriate revisions.

Mid June: Application for Final Oral Examination; this should be signed by two designated readers and the chair. Their signatures indicate the dissertation is ready for defense.

Schedule a time and location for the oral defense.

Mid July: Oral defense

DECEMBER GRADUATION

Mid-September: Complete application for degree

Late September:  Give the completed dissertation to readers. By this point, the committee has typically already seen and commented a large portion of the project. This version should reflect that feedback process, incorporating appropriate revisions.

Early November: Application for Final Oral Examination; this should be signed by two designated readers and the chair. Their signatures indicate the dissertation is ready for defense.

Early December: Oral defense