Graduate Dissertation Progresss
Students are required to meet with their advisors about their progress once a semester. By the end of the fourth year, the student should submit a complete draft of at least one chapter to the full committee. During the fifth year, the student is required to present a draft of another chapter to one of the work-in-progress groups of the departments. By the end of the summer following the fifth year (that is, before the sixth year begins), students should have completed at least three full chapters. All students are expected to complete their dissertations by the end of the sixth year of study.
In accordance with the Provost's Academic Rules for Ph.D.s, each doctoral candidate should meet annually (typically in the spring, though depending on schedules this meeting may also take place in fall) with his or her full committee to review progress-to-date toward the dissertation; confer about publication plans, conferences, research trips, and job market timetables; and generally check in. The dissertation chair should take the lead, once the student has put in the request, in finding a suitable time, date, and location for the meeting. Committee members who are unable to be attend in person should arrange to participate via Skype or conference call.
Students who have been working on dissertations more than five semesters will receive each summer from the Graduate Dean a Dissertation Progress Report form, which they must fill out and return to the Dean by the stipulated deadline (usually October 26). The form is now available online: https://fusion.sas.upenn.edu/degree/
Such students should prepare their Progress Reports in consultation with their dissertation advisors, since the advisors will be asked to verify the student's good progress toward degree.
Dissertation Progress Report forms are available in PDF format here.
Students who have not completed the dissertation within five years of their first registration for dissertation tuition (normally fall of the fourth year) will be dropped from full-time student status, or even dropped entirely from the program, unless the advisor, Graduate Chair, and Graduate Dean agree to extend the student's full-time status. If you are approaching this point, you should take care to submit careful progress reports to the Dean, consult regularly with your dissertation advisor, and keep the Graduate Chair up to date on your progress.
Students who entered the program in Fall 1993 or more recently and who have not graduated within five years of their first term on dissertation tuition, will be required to resubmit their Dissertation proposals to the GEC for re-evaluation and reapproval, in order to ensure that their dissertation work continues to satisfy current scholarly standards. If a student's Dissertation proposal is not deemed satisfactory when resubmitted, he or she will be asked to revise it until it is approved; the GEC would also retain the right to drop the student from the program.
Continuous registration as a graduate student is required unless a formal leave of absence is granted by the dean of the student’s school. A leave of absence will be granted for military duty, medical reasons, and for family leave; this leave is typically for up to one year and "stops the clock" on time to completion. Personal leave for other reasons may be granted for up to one year with the approval of the Graduate Dean, but it does not automatically change the time limit. Additional requirements for return may be imposed by the Graduate Dean. No language or other degree examinations may be taken while a student is on leave of absence. A student without an approved leave of absence who fails to register each semester will be considered to have withdrawn from candidacy for the degree; approval by the Graduate Dean and recertification are required for reinstatement. Dissertation registration takes place in the fall and spring semesters. Dissertation students who are candidates for August degree remain full-time students through August 31st without summer registration.