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First year summer program

Students who are in good standing with the department and university will receive stipend support during the Summer after the first year to allow them to have an initial research experience and study for the qualifying examination.

  • Students should begin contacting potential advisors during the Fall of their first year and need to identify an advisor by Spring Break. The advisor does not have to fund the stipend (e.g., by using a grant) but some advisors may be “full” so it pays to be proactive.
  • About 75% of students continue to work with the first year advisor on their PhD research.
  • At least eight weeks of mentored research is expected. Generally these are the first eight weeks of the Summer term,
  • About five weeks should be used to study for, and take, the qualifying examination. These are usually the last five weeks of the Summer term. The expectation is that students will be on campus and will study collaboratively. Many students begin low intensity studying for the qualifier at the start of the summer term, using evenings and weekends.
  • The period between the end of the Spring term and the start of the Summer term is usually taken as a (much needed) break.
  • Classes usually begin the week after the qualifying examination.
  • Exceptions to the nominal schedule can be made with the consent of the advisor. For example, one could add a week in May to free one up later for a vacation, or to attend a conference, or a Summer school. Or one could schedule a week of studying earlier in the summer if the advisor is traveling and cannot mentor. 
  • Example: In 2022 the Summer semester begins May 31st. The first eight weeks will be dedicated to research, ending on July 22nd. The subsequent five weeks are dedicated to studying for the qualifying exam and then taking it on August 23-25.