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Comprehensive Exams and Dissertation Proposal Tips . Comprehensive Exams. Fill out PhD Degree Checklist When am I going to take my exams (Spring of Fall)? What am I taking my exams in? What do I want to gain from this experience? “Get it over with”, dissertation, research project .

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comprehensive exams and dissertation proposal tips

Comprehensive Exams and Dissertation Proposal Tips

Population Research Center

The University of Texas at Austin

comprehensive exams
Comprehensive Exams
  • Fill out PhD Degree Checklist
  • When am I going to take my exams (Spring of Fall)?
  • What am I taking my exams in?
  • What do I want to gain from this experience?
    • “Get it over with”, dissertation, research project

Population Research Center

The University of Texas at Austin

comprehensive exams example for fall exams
Comprehensive Exams: Example for Fall Exams
  • Start of Summer (June)
    • Sign up for Proposal Hours
    • Set up meeting with comps chair
      • Date of exams?
      • Comps committee?
      • Type of exams?
      • Words of wisdom?

Population Research Center

The University of Texas at Austin

comprehensive exams example for fall exams1
Comprehensive Exams: Example for Fall Exams
  • Creating Reading List (June-July)
    • Meet/email grad students who have already taken exams (list, advice, etc.)
      • Previous class notes
      • Endnote
      • PRC shared folders
    • Send list to committee members
      • Less is more
    • Organize, organize, organize!

Population Research Center

The University of Texas at Austin

slide5

EXAMPLE BLUEPRINT

[citation]

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Theoretical Argument/Hypoth:

Key Issues:

Data:

Cross-sectional or Longitudinal –

National or Regional –

Age range:

Methods/Measures:

DV:

IVs:

Major Findings:

Limitations:

Population Research Center

The University of Texas at Austin

comprehensive exams example for fall exams2
Comprehensive Exams: Example for Fall Exams
  • Reading (August-October)
    • Create a comps reading calendar
    • Give yourself enough time for each section
    • 2.5 weeks per section (Mortality, Fertility, Migration, Specialization)
    • Organize, organize, organize!
      • The world will keep spinning while you are preparing for your exams.

Population Research Center

The University of Texas at Austin

comprehensive exams example for fall exams3
Comprehensive Exams: Example for Fall Exams
  • Countdown to Exams (1st week of October)
    • Aim to be done reading by this time.
      • Make reviewing your #1 priority at this point.
    • Go over your notes.
      • Read, then read again, then reread that.
    • Begin to have conversations with yourself on each topic.
      • How do these ideas connect? What are the general debates in my field? What is the evidence for each argument?

Population Research Center

The University of Texas at Austin

comprehensive exams example for fall exams4
Comprehensive Exams: Example for Fall Exams
  • Countdown to Exams (2nd week of October)
    • Start taking practice exams.
      • First few practice exams should be with your notes.
      • Then reread the practice exams you took.
      • Read them in the bathroom, bus, while working out, everywhere.

Population Research Center

The University of Texas at Austin

comprehensive exams example for fall exams5
Comprehensive Exams: Example for Fall Exams
  • Countdown to Exams (4 days before exam)
    • Take practice exams with no notes.
    • Compare to your previous ones.
    • Coffee talk with no someone not in your field.

Population Research Center

The University of Texas at Austin

comprehensive exams example for fall exams6
Comprehensive Exams: Example for Fall Exams
  • Countdown to Exams (day before)
    • Listen to music.
    • Go for a walk.
    • Meditate.
    • Talk to your family.
    • Sleep.
    • Get a massage.
    • Review a little or not at all.

Population Research Center

The University of Texas at Austin

comprehensive exams example for fall exams7
Comprehensive Exams: Example for Fall Exams
  • Show up to computer lab early (both days).
    • Pack food (nothing loud and crunchy).
    • Water (remember additional breaks are on your clock).
    • Pens/pencils/calculator.
  • Results
    • Pass with distinction, pass, rewrite, fail.

Population Research Center

The University of Texas at Austin

dissertation proposal
Dissertation Proposal
  • Take a “comps break”.
  • Meet with advisor.
    • Discuss potential ideas, research method, committee members.
  • Write a pre-proposal (5 pages).
    • Topic or two you are interested in.
    • Literature review and theories.
    • A few questions you are interested in.

Population Research Center

The University of Texas at Austin

dissertation proposal1
Dissertation Proposal
  • Expand on pre-proposal.
    • Read more articles/books.
    • Proposal calendar.
    • Don’t write everything at once: turn in excerpts that can be discussed with advisor.
    • Ask senior grad students for proposal formatting tips.
    • Write draft after draft after draft.

Population Research Center

The University of Texas at Austin

dissertation proposal letter to committee
Dissertation Proposal: Letter to Committee

Good afternoon __________,

I am currently working on my dissertation proposal and would like for you to be a part of my dissertation committee. My dissertation is tentatively titled "Green Famine": Mother's Education and Children's Nutrition in East and Central Africa. I hope to complete and defend my proposal at the beginning of the fall semester. _______ has agreed to serve as Chair.

If you are willing and able to be a part of the committee, ______ and I have identified several target dates for the proposal defense: ______, ______, and September ______. Please let me know if any of these dates are impossible for you.

I've attached the beginning of the proposal. If you would like to meet to discuss further, please let me know.

I am excited about the dissertation process and I really hope that you are able to be a part of it.

Thank you,

Population Research Center

The University of Texas at Austin

dissertation proposal2
Dissertation Proposal
  • Ready to defend
    • Settle on one date and book a room ASAP
      • Notify committee of date, time, place
      • Send them reminder emails and proposal in hard copy and through email.
    • Presentation is 5-7 minutes long
      • Meet with advisor on last minute tips and logistics
      • Overall objective, research question, significance, hypotheses, data and methods, timeline
      • Food (optional)
      • Practice presentation

Population Research Center

The University of Texas at Austin

dissertation proposal3
Dissertation Proposal
  • Day of Proposal Defense
    • Dress up
    • Relax
    • Show up at the room 30 minutes before presentation
      • Make sure equipment works 
    • Do it!!

Population Research Center

The University of Texas at Austin