by | February 27, 2009

When I speak to my advisees I introduce the doctoral program in two parts:
Part one:

– core required courses
– specialization courses
– electives
– 3 residential colloquia

Part two :

– comprehensive exams
– dissertation research courses

Many learners may not anticipate the change in course structure and how it will impact their time management as they move from part one to part two. While the courses in part one have very clearly defined syllabus, posting deadlines, expectations about assignments and participation, the comprehensives and especially the dissertation research courses require different mind set. Yes, there is a structure in the form of the milestones that is checking the learner’s progress toward the graduation. There is also a greater necessity for a way to manage the time dedicated to the complexities of dissertation research.
Do you have a plan that will take you to completion of dissertation?
What are the components and by when will each be in place? For example:
Create a visual chart with time line for:
– collecting resources for literature review chapter
– contacting your subjects
– having your research instrument ready
– data analysis
– (you get the picture)

You can use something that works for you and carry it as a reminder on your phone, create a chart in vibrant colors or Xcel spread sheet…

In conclusion I would like to invite any doctoral advisors, learners or graduates to contribute a best practice that helps them manage and structure their time during dissertation research.

Dr. Vera


  1. Mark Purnell says:

    I will be securing a large white board for my Capella room at home. I have a small board (24X36) that worked well to track milestones for course work. A large board 48×60 will me to view Comps and dissertation milestones and progress at a quick glance.

    If I think of the Comps and each section of the disseration as a course I will be able to “eat this elephant” easily over time. All I will do is take one bite (read or write something) each day.


  2. Lynn says:

    Awesome ideas, Mark. Thanks for sharing.

    Anyone else have ideas and strategies to share?