Coursework: Checked. Next Steps!


The trees are green and the grades are in!

As of this morning I have completed the coursework requirements for my doctoral studies. This is a little milestone to celebrate as I won’t be taking any classes for formal degree purposes in the foreseeable future. Let’s just take a moment to acknowledge that.


So, what happens next? Friends and families alike are curious about my plans following the completion of coursework. Here’s a snapshot:


This summer I am reading and preparing for three exams that will take place this Fall in October. The three papers will be on rhetoric, technical communication, and a specialty area on pedagogy, respectively. I plan on posting my reading lists on my blog here soon-ish so you might look at them and recommend resources for tackling them!

Prospectus, or dissertation proposal

In the Fall, I will also start drafting my dissertation proposal, also known as the prospectus. I have been wrestling with different ideas for my dissertation project and various collaborative works in the past few months have helped me think about the direction for the dissertation. In terms of timeline, the prospectus will be submitted to my dissertation committee  (chaired by the wonderful Dr. Ann Hill Duin) and there will be an initial “defense” session for the prospectus. Once approved, I will proceed to outlining the dissertation and work closely with my committee members in the drafting, researching, and writing of the actual dissertation.

Researching & writing

I plan to begin the research process in Spring 2017. The research and writing should take about one year to complete.


By Spring 2018, I should be ready to defend my dissertation and complete any final formatting requirement for the work. Since my department will continue funding me through my fifth year, my goal is to go on the job market by Summer 2018 and spend the year looking for a job.

There you have it, a quick glance over my next three years. Meanwhile, I will continue to teach and work on smaller projects–individual and collaborative–and publishing them to keep up with the competitive PhD grad market.

What do you think? Share your thoughts here!

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