I have written to help me make sense of what I got myself into.
When I meet or get an email from someone about the blog, I realize this experience serves others too.
I got a request to write about the time commitment of a PhD program. Here's the quick and dirty, Alison:
1st year: 2009-2010
- 2-3 hours of daily carpool commute with a lovely classmate
- Three 3-hour courses per quarter: Epistemology, Research Methods, Statistics, Policy, etc.
- Lots of reading and writing. I remember sitting for 6-12 hours a day to read articles and write papers. Seminars for doctoral students are small, which means you gotta do the reading and present or get called on to summarize the thesis of a book.
- Working a part-time job 10 to 20 hours a week.
- A 6-hour comprehensive examination (four essays) at the end of the first year (brutal).
- No time for friends, exercise, movies or reading the Sunday paper, etc.
- Gained 10-15 lbs. (sitting and stress eating during study times).
2nd year: 2010-2011
- 2-3 hour commute, two days a week, but this time without my lovely carpool partner. We took different courses based on our research interests.
- Two or three 3-hour courses per quarter. Cool courses in other departments: Latin American Medicine, Shamanism and Folk Illness (Community Health Sciences), Family Therapy (Psychology), Stress & Disease (Psychology), Community Partnered Participatory Research (Health Services), Social Marketing (Community Health Sciences).
- Research internship.
- Working a part-time job 20 hours a week.
- Lots of reading and writing.
- Began writing publishable paper (second comprehensive written examination required by the doctoral program)
- Exercise, nutritional cleanse, dancing, lost 20 lbs.
3rd year: 2011-2012
- Done with coursework, so now I am writing at home (publishable paper).
- Publishable paper approved.
- Teaching and working a part-time job about 20 hours/week.
4th year: 2012-2013
- Awarded fellowship to work on dissertation proposal.
- Teaching and working a part-time job about 10-30 hours/week.
- Successfully defended dissertation proposal.
5th year: 2013-2014
- Working full-time (several part-time jobs).
- Submitted manuscript for publication.
- Requested IRB approvals from University and school districts for dissertation study.
- Data collection and analysis.
- Drafting results and discussion chapters of dissertation.
- Schedule defense for May.
- File dissertation by June.
- Graduate on June 13 :)