Dissertation Progress Meetings

Beginning in the semester following the defense of their prospectus, students will meet once each semester with their advisor and at least one other faculty member, in order to receive timely feedback on their dissertation work and regular support throughout the dissertation-writing process.

Students should consult with their advisor or DGS after the prospectus defense to identify the other faculty who will constitute, along with the advisor, a committee that will meet regularly with them to provide feedback on their work. The reader(s) other than the advisor may be from within the department or from another department, as recommended by the dissertation topic. Dissertation Progress Meetings should be scheduled each semester until the semester before the distribution of the defense to the larger thesis defense committee. Students or faculty who are not physically on campus in a given semester may use their preferred video-conferencing platform to participate.

If you have any questions or concerns about Dissertation Progress Meetings, please write to the GSAS Office of Student Affairs at [email protected].

  • Beginning of the semester: GSAS sends a message to students in the dissertation-writing phase encouraging them to schedule a Dissertation Progress Meeting by the end of that term. DGSs may send their own email in support.
  • Week 10 of the semester: Departments will check-in with students using a simple form (devised by a student working group).

    Example form:

    *I have met with my advisor/ committee this semester and received feedback. I am clear on the next steps for my research and writing.

    *I have met with my advisor/ committee this semester. However, I am unclear about the next steps for my research and writing. I plan on arranging another meeting with them, but I would also appreciate a follow-up with the DGS.

    *I have not been able to schedule a meeting with my committee this semester. I plan to schedule one, but I would also appreciate a follow-up with the DGS. 

    *I have scheduled my meeting this semester but it has not happened yet.

    [TEXT BOX for any comments] 
  • Week 11 of the semester: GSAS will follow up with students who have not responded to the questionnaire.

How many committee members may participate in my dissertation progress meeting?

Your sponsor and at least one other member from your committee should meet with you to provide feedback on your dissertation work and general progress.

Do all faculty participating need to be physically present in the meeting?

Faculty may use video conferencing software (Zoom, Google Meet, etc.) to participate remotely. They may also provide written feedback if not able to connect into the meeting.

What if my advisor is on sabbatical?

Even while on sabbatical, faculty advisors have an obligation to supervise students whose dissertations they sponsor; faculty who are not on campus may participate remotely, as noted above.

What if I am away from campus, conducting research?

You may participate remotely via video conferencing software.

What if I am conducting research, and have not yet written anything to submit for review?

You may submit a summary of your research work for faculty feedback.  The general principle is to have regular contact with your sponsor and other members of your committee.

What if in a given semester I am in an entirely inaccessible place?

Please communicate with your sponsor as soon as you return to connectivity. Also, please let your sponsor know your expected date of return before you leave.