As I look back on my most recent post, I note to myself just how aggressive the plan I laid out 2 months ago really was. Although I’m theoretically working only 20 hours a week and am theoretically able to dedicate the rest of my time to my studies, the theoretical and the actual don’t always match. I’ve “donated” a lot of extra time to my employer over the past two months and I’m struggling to figure out how I can more efficiently organize my time. As a result, I’m nowhere near as far as I’d like to be on my field of study plan, and will need to be more creative going forward. After speaking with a classmate, I learned a couple of important pieces of information I will need to work into my plan.
What did I learn? After completing all required courses (both core and elective), PhD students need only 6 credit hours to remain full-time. Awesome! I have carried 9-11 credit hours every semester since I started the program and, after this semester ends, I have completed all required courses. Great news! I also learned that I may be able to take those 6 credit hours as directed readings since I’ve not taken any directed readings yet. A directed reading is an individualized course put together by agreement between the student and a professor with a syllabus and agreed-upon deliverable(s). So, the combination of a reduced hours requirement and ability to take directed readings should definitely help. I will be checking with the university staff to make sure everything works, but things are looking up.
Back to my plan … given the slow progress this semester, here is my updated plan:
201211 – 201304 – Write Field Statement / Finalize Field Committee / Finish Coursework (including directed readings)
201304 – 201305 – Finish Field Statement / Obtain Final Concurrence from Committee
201305 – 201305 – Take Field Exam
201306 – 201307 – Propose Dissertation
201308 – 201403 – Write Dissertation
201404 – 201405 – Defend Dissertation
We’ll see how well this plan survives … 🙂
I’m trying to balance my supposed 18 hour working week and the rest of the time on my PhD – I hope you manage it, I’m finding it tough!
Thanks – I definitely feel your pain! 🙂
I’m currently considering getting a PhD in Public Policy (possibly at George Mason), and I came across your blog on Google. I wanted to let you know that I read all of it and appreciated having this insight into your experience at George Mason–it’s been helpful in understanding how the PhD years pan out for PP students. Thanks for your posts!
Thanks for the note – I’m glad you’re enjoying the blog …