Path(s) to Degree

The following sample timelines outline courses and other activities that are expected of doctoral students in the Ph.D. Program in Urban Education. 


The following timeline to degree is an example of students' program trajectory for the Ph.D. Program in Urban Education.

The program shows a maximum reasonable rate of progress for full-time residency for the first three years. Part-time students would follow the program in the first two columns, but are expected to meet the University's residency requirement by completing at least 12 credits in each of two consecutive semesters, normally sometime before being advanced to candidacy.

Full-time students who enter with a master's degree in education and are granted a significant number of graduate credits toward the Ph.D. degree have the possibility of reaching candidacy after four semesters.

The Urban Education Student Handbook has more detailed information on students' program trajectory.

  Semester I Semester II 15 Credits MA**
Year One Pedagogy Core
History Core
Colloquium (1 credit)
Intro/Methods Core
Policy Core
First Examination
13 credits
Year Two Research Methods (1)
Research Methods (2)
12 credits
Year Three Research Methods (3)
12 credits
Year Four Elective
Second Examination*
9 credits

61 total credits
Year Five *** Dissertation proposal defense

* Advancement to Candidacy takes place after the Second Examination and course work is completed.

** For students entering the program with a Master’s Degree a maximum of 15 credits will be transferred.

*** Can be scheduled in consultation with adviser before or after the second examination.

Making the most of your studies: semester by semester

Based on ten semesters, we have outlined the following focuses and expectations for each semester to make the most of your studies.

The major expectation is for the student to acclimate to doctoral study. They should engage in all Colloquium activities and the core courses.

The student should focus on their studies and be expected to participate in one or more professional development and public events given by the program.

The student takes their first take-home exam in either June or August after all the core courses have been successfully complete with a B or above grade.

The student should start thinking about the focus of their research and identifying relevant course work in consultation with one’s advisor.  Students take elective courses and are encouraged to complete their methods course requirements.

The student should continue to focus on a research question and meet regularly with their adviser to discuss appropriate literature to review.

Students should be building relationships with Urban Education faculty members to identify a second exam Advisor and committee members. Students are encouraged to attend professional conferences and professional development workshops offered by the Urban Education program or another program at The Graduate Center (e.g. writing for publication, public-facing scholarship, Center for Teaching and Learning) so that they can actively engage in academic research and scholarship to build their CV.

The student should now be working with a committee of faculty, most closely with their Chair of their second exam and thinking about developing their dissertation proposal.

Students are encouraged to consider writing for publication either alone, with another student, or with a faculty member. During this semester, the student should prepare to take their second exam. The goals for the Second Exam are:

  • Students will demonstrate written and oral fluency and in depth knowledge of a broad range of scholarship in their chosen field of study.
  • Students will initiate and sustain a dialogue with their supervisory committee about salient academic work relevant to their chosen field of study (as the field is agreed to by the student's supervisory committee).
  • Students will demonstrate high levels of written and oral competence regarding theories, methods, and research that are germane to their dissertation topic.
  • Students will initiate and sustain a dialogue with their committee regarding the salient values, ethics and morals associated with the research they propose to undertake for the dissertation, including the tenets of informed consent and the necessity to conduct research involving human subjects that provide participants a sense of autonomy, beneficence and social justice.

The student should continue to write and publish articles. By this time, they should also demonstrate to a dissertation committee that they can initiate and sustain a dialogue concerning a written proposal for a dissertation research project. This may or may not require IRB approval, depending on whether the student’s research involves human participants.

The student is expected to continue their dissertation research. Also, with guidance from the dissertation Chair, the student should discuss career possibilities.

The student should be close to completing their dissertation. Students should consider converting part of their dissertation research into scholarly publication(s). Additionally, students should actively pursue career opportunities.