The dissertation is the most important and substantial piece of work during the candidate’s student career. It is to be seen as a piece of apprenticeship, one that demonstrates:
- your familiarity with the literature in your area of concentration
- an understanding of the standard tools of the area
- a substantial original contribution to the area
Normal expectations are that the dissertation will be completed in a timely fashion, typically by the end of the fifth or sixth year. Students should provide the members of their dissertation committee with a complete copy of their dissertation at least 30 days in advance of the date scheduled for the dissertation oral exam.