Yes, no matter what the pace of progress, it is still progress. I have one of my three fields complete and my second is almost at the point where I can turn it in to make sure I’m headed in the right direction. My goal is to begin my third field next week and have it ready for turn-in by late May or early June. This schedule should provide enough time to do rewrites (which I fully expect) on these two fields in order to take my field exam in August.
Just to make sure I’m covered in the event I’m not able to complete my field exam and have it graded in time to exempt me from coursework in the Fall 2013 semester, I’ve signed up for two courses in the Fall:
GOVT 731: Russia
PUAD 651: Virginia Politics / Policy / Administration
The GOVT course will fit in nicely with my intended dissertation area and is being taught by a member of my committee. Whether the field exam phase is completed on time or not, I will likely take this course to broaden my knowledge of Russia in preparation for my dissertation phase.
The PUAD offering seems a bit odd at first, but it will actually help me get where I would like to go. It would be my third course outside SPP, so it may or may not count toward my degree, but I have taken enough other courses to cover all my coursework requirements already. Why would I even sign up for the course, let alone take it this Fall? This whole “PhD Experience” (as I’ve entitled it) has done much more to educate me about where I see myself in the future than I ever thought possible. When I first started the program, I was convinced of where I was headed. Now, I’ve “found” a new direction that still involves earning this PhD in Public Policy and focusing on international nuclear threats. I’m happy to say that it also involves Virginia politics … but that is a post for another day. 🙂