PhD Third Year Proposal Defense Procedures

  1. Timeline:
    a. 3rd year, by the end of September, declare the main advisor
    b. 3rd year, December, first presentation
    c. 3rd year, January, deadline to form the five (5) faculty panel
    d. 3rd year, April, provide writing to the advisor two weeks before the presentation.
    One week before the presentation, receive approval from the advisor and the
    advisor submits email approval to the Graduate Program Director.
    e. 3rd year, April, second presentation
    f. 4th year, December, second presentation (retake)
  2. First presentation:
    a. Two days at the end of the Fall semester, all faculty invited to all presentations
    (all students can attend; in particular, 2nd year PhD students are encouraged to
    attend). The purpose is to review the literature, identify potential ideas, and
    receive feedback.
    b. 20 min presentation, no interruptions, short questions at the end: contents
    i. Topic
    ii. Research question(s)
    iii. Potential answers (yes/no/number)
    iv. Placing the project in the literature
  3. Motivation (why the topic/question is important/interesting)
  4. Current state of the literature
  5. Potential ideas (ideally multiple ideas). If possible, discuss the
    novelty of ideas.
    v. The path ahead (dataset/model/experiment design)
    c. At the end of each group of presentations, all faculty get together, discuss, and the
    advisor brings back the feedback to the student. No pass/fail decision; the main
    purpose is to receive early feedback from a wide audience.
    d. All 3rd year PhD students are expected to present as scheduled, and there is no
    pass/fail decision following the presentation. In extreme circumstances (medical
    emergencies, etc.), the Graduate Program Director and the advisor can make
    alternative presentation arrangements.
    e. After the presentation, students are expected to address the comments received
    and follow up with the advisor and faculty who have provided feedback.
    f. The composition of a tentative spring proposal faculty panel should be discussed
    as soon as possible after the presentation.
  6. Panel formation for the second presentation
    a. Five (5) faculty
    b. One is the main advisor
    c. The other four have to be proposed by the main advisor to the Graduate Program
    Director. The names have to be given to the Graduate Program Director by the
    deadline in January.
    d. Up to two faculty members from different parts of Georgetown (e.g. SFS,
    Business School, Policy School) are allowed to be members. Faculty outside
    Georgetown are not allowed.
    e. The members may be adjusted by the Graduate Program Director to ensure
    spreading the burden more equally across department faculty, and then formally
    assigned by the Graduate Program Director.
  7. Writing for second presentation.
    a. Length Guideline: 10 to 15 pages
    b. Approved by the main advisor (at least) a week before the scheduled presentation.
    At this point the main advisor makes the decision of whether the student is ready
    to present; if not, the student will go to the “Retake” stage below automatically.
    c. Contents (i.-v. are the minimum requirement)
    i. Topic
    ii. Research question(s)
    iii. Potential answer (yes/no/number)
    iv. Placing the project in the literature
  8. Motivation (why the topic/question is important/interesting)
  9. Current state of the literature
  10. Novelty of the project
    v. Preliminary results from data/model/pilot experiment
    vi. Main results, further discussions
  11. Second presentation
    a. Scheduled for the end of the Spring semester.
    b. One hour, seminar style (with interruptions and questions)
    c. All faculty panel members (5) attend the presentation. Other faculty members
    and graduate students are allowed to attend the presentation, but not involved in
    the process of pass/fail discussion and vote. 2nd year graduate students are
    encouraged to attend.
    d. After the presentation and ensuing discussion, the faculty panel makes a pass/fail
    e. If a fail determination is made, the student will re-propose at the end of the Fall
    semester of the 4th year, following the long presentation format.
    f. The contents for the presentation are the same as for the writing (in 4.c). The
    presentation should clearly indicate the plan for finishing the paper and the
    proposed place in the dissertation (e.g. finish up and make it one chapter of the
    dissertation, extend and make it a job market paper, etc.)
    g. The standard for passing:
    i. Clear motivation and research question
    ii. Project is novel
    iii. Project is feasible for the student
    iv. Sufficient progress for the panel to determine that the project is likely to
    result in a publishable paper.
  12. Retake
    a. The same as the second presentation in terms of the writing requirement
    b. Can have a new advisor/new panel, have to be declared before the end of
    c. The student is terminated from the program if they fail the retake proposal.