PhD Timeline

This note provides a general timeline for PhD students in LAAS from the perspective of the DGS and Graduate Advising Committee. Be advised that specific dates may vary.

  • Application deadline for Fall admission: December 1 (applications for Fall will be considered until March 1 but will have fewer opportunities for funding)
  • Review of Applications: December 8 (or ongoing through March 8 for later applications)
  • GSF Fellowship Nominations: January 1
  • Offer letters: January 30 (or up to March 30 for later applications). Students normally have 2 weeks to accept/decline an offer.
  • DDF Fellowship Nominations: March 1
  • Graduate Orientation: August 23-27
  • First day of Classes: First day after Labor Day in September
  • Fall/Spring Semester: Complete progress review form with advisor and meet with DGS
  • File Degree Program: At least two terms before oral preliminary exam (2nd year of program)
  • Preliminary Exam: To be completed before the end of 2nd year.

Doctoral Degree Plan Breakdown by Year (PDF)

Part A: Written preliminary exam (NSF/USDA style original proposal)

Committee will vote on written proposal within 2 weeks of submission.

If the written work is unsatisfactory there will be one opportunity for revision. The revised proposal must be submitted within 3 months of first assessment/decision.

Part B: Oral exam will be scheduled within 6 weeks of successful completion of the written exam. It is the student’s responsibility to ensure that the Preliminary Written Examination Report Form is submitted to the Graduate School prior to scheduling the oral preliminary exam. The student schedules the preliminary oral exam with the Graduate School and examiners using the Preliminary Oral Examination Scheduling Form, no less than one week in advance. The Preliminary Oral Examination Report Form should be submitted to the Graduate School no later than the first workday after the examination.

More information is available at

  • Thesis proposal form: Due no later than the first semester after passing the oral preliminary examination.
  • Advanced Standing Status (Full-time Equivalent Status, FTE): One credit option used to maintain full-time status while writing the dissertation. Application dates are August 15, December 15, and May 15. Note: this saves tuition dollars for student and advisor!
  • Preparation for Final Examination/Thesis Defense Request graduation packet after thesis proposal form has been approved (This packet contains everything you need to schedule the thesis defense, graduate, etc).
  • Graduation registration deadlines: Typically the first day of the month being requested.

Time limit: PhD requirements must be completed within 5 calendar years following oral preliminary examination.