PhD Procedural Requirements and Timeline

These procedural requirements apply to all Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) students in literature, English education, writing, rhetorics, and literacies, and linguistics and applied linguistics. This timeline is typical for someone who already has a Master of Arts in English and is a teaching assistant in our department. Some students (for example, those who are not TAs) may proceed at a faster rate while other students (for example, those who are working full-time) may proceed more slowly. Students should meet with program directors or dissertation advisors every year to review their progress. Students must complete/update all years of the Timeline. Students will upload the appropriate sections on the English PhD Timelines Canvas Course annually by February 15 or registration for research/dissertation hours may be placed on hold for the fall semester. Note: Students must maintain continuous enrollment in the PhD program.

After meeting with your chair (or program director if you do not have a chair) regarding your progress in the program, follow these simple instructions:

  • Click on the Canvas icon on your MyASU
  • Choose English PhD Timelines
  • Download the form(s) from the appropriate section(s) 
    • Student Information
    • Professional Development (conferences, publications, internships, workshops, etc.)
    • First Year
    • Second Year
    • Third Year
    • Fourth Year
    • Fifth Year
  • Save the document(s) to your computer
  • Complete the form(s), include additional comments at the bottom
  • Save the document(s) to your computer
  • Return to Canvas English PhD Timelines portal
  • Click the Submit Assignment button (upper right)
  • Upload the appropriate file
  • Click Submit Assignment
  • You may click the Next or Previous buttons at the bottom of the assignment to navigate between assignments in order to complete additional appropriate sections
  • After you have completed everything, please notify your chair (or director) that your Timeline has been submitted for review.

First Semester

  • Attend orientations and advising session.
  • Consult with program director about course of study and previous graduate work. Meet members of the program faculty.

First Year

  • Take the 501: Approaches to Research appropriate for your program. Be introduced to Imagine Ph.D. Career Planning and Exploration Tool
  • Complete appropriate 500-level course(s) to satisfy distribution requirements
  • Teaching assistants take ENG 594 T.A. Seminar in the fall and teach ENG 101 (fall). TAs enroll in ENG 594 Teaching First-Year Composition for 1 credit in spring and teach ENG 102 (spring).
  • The Graduate College requires Ph.D. students to file their interactive plan of study iPOS before they have completed 50 percent of their program. Students unsure of their dissertation chair or topic at this point can still file an iPOS using the name of the program director. Changes to the committee can be made at a later date. After consulting with the program director or chair of your supervisory committee, file an iPOS through MyASU.
  • Review the GPSA Wellness Mentoring Compact

Second Year

  • Consult with the program director or the chair of your committee about plan of study and appropriate courses for your research area.
  • Take appropriate 600-level courses - Advanced Studies or Seminar requirements.
  • Take appropriate additional courses to satisfy Continuing Concentration or Interdisciplinary option requirements.
  • Complete foreign language requirement.
  • Make apapointments with potential committee members, addressiing the agreed upon working arrangement, such as whethery they agree to read draafts over break, how they prefer to have drafts submitted, and how much time they need for reading and responding.
  • Choose a chair of your Ph.D. supervisory committee based on that professor’s expertise relevant to the anticipated direction of the dissertation. Before asking a professor to chair your committee, ask that person about his/her availability in subsequent semesters and determine if he/she has received a forthcoming sabbatical or leave or anticipates receiving such a sabbatical or leave. Before asking a professor to chair your committee, also ask that person about his/her availability during summer months. Consider that summer is often an excellent time for Ph.D. work, but also consider that most professors are on nine-month contracts and may be unavailable during the summer. After arriving at a mutually understood timeline and mutually understood times of availability, ask a professor to chair your committee.
  • Submit your iPOS. After it is approved, select two other members for your Ph.D. committee, and if necessary, replace the name of your program director with the name of your chair, to complete committee membership by filing a committee appointment/change request through MyASU.
  • Complete course work or be near to completing course work.
  • Suggested: For those disciplines which offer a Scholarly Writing or Writing for the Profession course, take this in year two or three.

Third Year

  • Discuss progress with committee chair and establish a timeline for graduation.
  • Finish course work by the end of the fifth semester in the program. The Doctor of Philosophy requires a total of 84 hours of course work. If you hold a Master of Arts you must complete 54 hours after admission, which must include 12 hours of ENG/LIN 799 Dissertation. ENG/LIN 792 Research may be applied towards the 54 hours in consultation with the chair of your Ph.D. supervisory committee.
  • Complete Part I of the PhD Exam (two papers or the lit essay) by the end of the third year. Click here for information on exam process.
  • Study for and complete Part II of the PhD exam (the oral or written exam) by the end of the third year. Click here for information on exam process.
  • Speak with your chair about publishing and presentation venues.

Fourth Year

  • Begin the year by meeting with your Ph.D. committee chair and advisor to consult about the course of study and timeline to graduation.
  • Work closely with chair and/or committee members to outline dissertation prospectus. Meet with committee to discuss outline and receive additional guidance/feedback.
  • Work closely with chair of Ph.D. supervisory committee to plan your dissertation.
  • Hold colloquy on dissertation prospectus. Return signed form to Sheila Luna. Information on the examination process.
  • Collect and analyze data if conducting quantitative or qualitative dissertation.
  • Make a timeline that sequences deliver dates among student and committee. 
  • Begin writing dissertation chapters. Meet with chair as needed to continue making progress. As they are drafted, chapters should be shown to the chair and/or committee members. (see 5th year)
  • Consider taking the academic job market class (ENG 791) offered through the English Department

Fifth Year

  • Take ENG 791 Academic Job Market course offered by the English Department in spring if not taken earlier (strongly encourage).
  • Show dissertation chapters to your committee chair. Make suggested revisions. Committee members will also have revisions. Make those revisions, confirming with chair. Many chairs prefer to have the student complete the dissertation to their satisfaction before sending it to committee members. Some chairs (and some committee members) prefer that committee members see it one chapter at a time.
  • Participate in mock interviews at the end of fall semester.
  • Finish the dissertation to the satisfaction of the chair and the committee members.
  • Arrange defense time/date with committee chair and members and establish timeline for circulating final draft of dissertation to committee. Contact Department for room. Check Graduate College deadlines. Schedule dissertation defense on MyASU.
  • Submit completed draft for format approval at least 10 working days before the defense.

    Note: For students entering the academic job market, it is advisable to take any professionalization and job market class or workshop offered appropriate to your discipline. Students not entering the academic job market should take Alt-Ac workshops through the Department and Graduate College or check their professional society for such options. Some may wish to do both job market training and Alt-Ac training.


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