By the third year of the PhD Program, students have finished their course work and entered the research phase of the program.

The faculty adviser will usually suggest ideas for the dissertation topic. He or she will also advise on the viability and competitiveness of the dissertation with regard to its job market potential.

Students spend their time on jointly authored papers and/or research assistant positions with their sponsor or with a faculty member who will serve as a committee member on their thesis. The sponsor helps a student hone his or her research abilities and prepare for the proposal, creation, and presentation of his or her dissertation.

During the creation of the dissertation, the sponsor will meet, usually weekly, with the candidate to assess progress. The sponsor will also be a part of the committee that hears the dissertation’s defense.