Year 2

Year Two

During their second year, Ph.D. students start the transition from coursework to dissertation research. In addition to the minimum of six courses taken for a quality grade and completion of a field, students must also complete a qualifying paper.

Qualifying Paper

Ph.D. students must complete the qualifying paper requirement according to guidelines prescribed by the Ph.D. committee and must present the paper in an appropriate University of Chicago forum. An acceptable qualifying paper will show evidence that the student is developing the capacity for formulating and conducting an independent research project and for creating a scholarly argument. Although co-authors are allowed per the approval of the student’s advisor, only one student may student submit this paper as a qualifying paper. There is no exception to the rule. All other student coauthors must send an email to the Program Director stating that they approve using the paper for that student's requirement; All faculty coauthors must send an email to the Program Director explaining how the student's contribution makes the submission appropriate. Ideally, the qualifying paper will constitute a step toward completion of the student’s dissertation proposal. The paper’s length should approximate that of a conference paper or a paper to be sent to a top journal in the student’s field.

Students are expected to complete this qualifying paper by the end of the summer of their second year of study. Completion for this purpose involves having both faculty members of the student’s qualifying paper committee indicate to the DGS that the work is adequate to meet the requirement on the Approval Form for Qualifying Paper. Students who need additional time for their paper may request an extension from the DGS in writing by September 1. Students who do not meet the deadline and do not have an extension are not in good academic standing, may be placed on academic probation, and risk dismissal from the program.

Reading and Research Courses

An individual reading and research course (PPHA 52000) provide a useful way to supplement scheduled courses. While the instructor and the student will determine the nature of each reading course, it is expected that the student will meet with the instructor at least three or four times during the quarter. It also is expected that the course will lead to a paper that has not been submitted previously in any other course. This course must be taken for a quality letter grade.  

Written consent of the instructor and approval by the Director is necessary for a reading and research course. Consent forms for public policy reading and research courses can be obtained online on the Student Affairs Office page.

Students may receive academic credit for internships during their course of study. Consent forms are available online on the Dean of Students page. Requests to take internship courses must have the written consent of the faculty supervisor and the approval of the DGS. Internship course credit will be granted only after the faculty advisor has evaluated the written project and judged its academic caliber. This course must be taken for a quality letter grade. Consent is not required for summer internships.

Transitional Masters Degrees

Ph.D. students, whether recommended for continuation in the Ph.D. program or not, who have quality grades in 9 courses are eligible to receive an M.A. or 18 quality courses for a M.P.P. degree if those courses meet the requirements of the degree program. Students interested in petitioning for an M.A. should refer to the degree requirements of the Harris webpage for detailed information regarding specific requirements early in their program. Students who have met the specific requirements and wish to earn an M.A. or M.P.P. must complete the application to graduate for the M.A. or M.P.P at least one quarter before they apply graduate from the Ph.D. program. If a student wishes to earn another master’s degree they must make the request to the Dean of Students and the request must be approved by the faculty head of that department, the Ph.D. Program Chair, and the Dean of Students.