In the first two years of the program, students develop an area of interest and learn how to ask interesting research questions and develop analytic designs to investigate them. By the end of the first year, their projects are launched; by the end of the second, they have produced a publishable paper and earned their M. During the third year, students complete their formal course work, apply for candidacy to the PhD program, and take their comprehensive exams. In the fourth and fifth years, students develop a dissertation proposal, which they present to their committees for advice and feedback, and work on their dissertation. Throughout the training process, students are also actively engaged in writing papers for publications and making preparations for going on the job market. The Department works to update the Graduate Handbook each year.
Writing and submitting your dissertation are among the final steps leading to the award of the PhD degree. At the University of Pennsylvania, a student presents and defends the dissertation publicly, and then, with the approval of the dissertation committee and graduate group chair, submits the final manuscript for publication. Finally, the PhD degree is awarded to the candidate upon the recommendation of the Graduate Council of the Faculties. A bound copy of the dissertation is shelved in the University Library, where it is available through Interlibrary Loan. Open access publication provides a much wider audience for you, can help to market your ideas to potential employers, and can help make plagiarism or theft much easier to detect.
Penn State dissertations and theses can be borrowed through interlibrary loan within the United States by contacting your local public or academic library. It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results. Dissertations and Theses Information for locating dissertations and theses from Penn State and other institutions.
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