How to Finish the Doctorate in a Timely Fashion
We encouage students who reach their last year of coursework to set aggressive targets for the various milestones that remain. The targets outlined below will enable most students to complete their degree in five years. Students who are especially efficient may be able to finish in four years or even less.
- Coursework: Aim to complete all coursework within three years. Students who use the summer sessions and/or take slightly heavier loads may be able to finish in five semesters.
- Start qualifying exams: Aim to take the first exam during the summer after coursework is over or by midterm the following semester. The latest date is seven years after the first day of doctoral coursework.
- Topic proposal: Aim to submit for approval as early as the last semester of coursework, but no later than the end of the following semester. Students are encouraged to come up with a topic during their final semester of coursework. In most departments, the topic proposal must be approved before the major field exam can be scheduled. For music theory, the deadline is the scheduling of the oral exam. For musicology there is no specific deadline.
- Finish qualifying exams: Aim to complete all minor and major field written exams and the oral exam within 6 months. The deadline is one year.
- Complete the Doctoral Final Project/Piano Essay: Aim to complete the document within 6–9 months of reaching candidacy, allowing an additional 3 months for research committee review, scheduling the public presentation, and preparing the final submission. (PhD/DME dissertations typically require more time.)
The tables linked below show the primary requirements for doctoral degrees at the Jacobs School of Music, including the time in the program when each requirement is typically completed.
All files are in PDF format.