Wednesday, June 1, 2011

July 28 (I know that's not today's date)

I finally got four scientist to agree on a two-hour meeting for my prelim defense. It's scheduled for July 28. According to department guidelines I need to send them the written proposal by July 14. Which is effectively July 12 since I'm driving to Colorado with J-man and his kids July 13-14.

I have just under a month and a half to write the long-overdue research proposal for my PhD (I was supposed to do it last year, but my dad's illness came first). It seems like a long time and too soon all at once. I'm supposed to use an atmospheric model that I still don't have running reliably. Before I send my proposal to the committee I need to do some test runs to gauge how much computer time I'll need, which may in part determine which experiments I conduct. Can't if the model's not running right.

Regardless, I am excited to get this out of the way. It's the second big hurdle towards a PhD (first was the qualifying exam). Once I pass the prelim, all I have left is research and final defense. I don't even have to take any more classes (though I probably will because I'm me and there are lots of interesting classes at colleges).

What are the rites of passage on the way to a PhD in your department?


  1. Yay! Good luck!

    We just had the qualifying exams (a year after you start the program), the classes (the number depended on whether you have an MSc or not - I only had to take 4), and then the defense. We also had two meetings a year with an advisory board, but those were really just to make sure you were on track to finish in a decent amount of time.

  2. Our qual is at the end of our second year. It tests the three (soon to be four) core classes all grad students are supposed to take, basics of atmospheric science (early undergrad level, but higher-level explanations), and four electives. The test takes a day and a half.

    I don't actually *need* more classes to graduate, but I'm required to take one class each semester until I complete my prelim. I don't know why.

    What does your qual encompass? Given the trouble I've had getting my committee together for one meeting, I can't imagine trying to do that twice a year.