Major Milestones

Qualifying examination

Each student in the first PhD semester will be required to give a public presentation demonstrating mastery of the literature on their PhD research topic. Building on this study, each student will launch an original research project under the mentorship of their faculty advisor that will add to the body of knowledge in their field. By the end of the second semester, the student will summarize their progress and participate in the first major PhD Committee assessment by providing a written report and oral presentation to their committee. The written report in a faculty advisor-approved format shall include a thorough description of the background and significance of the dissertation research with a research plan, early results, and anticipated next steps.

Annual Research Symposium Presentations

Each year, PhD students will be required to participate in the annual research symposium. Students in year 1 and year 2 will present a poster on their dissertation research, while 3rd year students will give a podium presentation summarizing their dissertation progress as they near completion of their PhD studies.

Original Research Proposal or Business Plan

At the end of the second PhD year, students will be required to develop and defend an original research proposal or an SBIR-type applied research proposal with business plan, in a topic outside the specific area of the thesis, as a demonstration of originality and creativity. The research proposal might lead to or prepare students for postdoctoral fellowship applications, while the applied research proposal / business plan will introduce additional business concepts for students who wish to pursue industrial careers.

Dissertation and Defense

The culmination of the PhD requires a written Dissertation, a public presentation on the work, and a private exam of the student by their committee. Upon formal corrections and editing of the Dissertation, the work is submitted to the Claremont Colleges library and various administrative signatures are required for the degree to be awarded and the student to attend May commencement.