Calendar of Progress - Fourth Year

Prospectus and Committee

Assuming that the qualifying exam has taken place in the spring of the student’s third year of residence at Yale, the student should submit the dissertation prospectus by September 1 in the following fall term so it can be approved in time for fall class registration. The dissertation prospectus shall be limited in length to approximately 10 but not more than 15 pages, exclusive of bibliography. Its content should include a thesis statement, review of relevant scholarship, chapter outline, and proposed schedule, as well as a discussion of the rationale and objectives of the dissertation project.

At the time of submission of the prospectus, the DGS will consult with the dissertation adviser and form a dissertation committee, which will determine whether the prospectus is acceptable; upon acceptance, the student shall be admitted to candidacy. The committee will normally consist of three members of the Yale faculty and the adviser will serve as the chair of the committee.  If the DGS is not a formal member of the committee, he or she will serve as an ad hoc member for the purpose of reviewing the prospectus for acceptance. Even if the initial formation of the committee involves just Yale faculty, the student is welcome after the prospectus stage to discuss with the advisor and the DGS about the addition or substitution of outside faculty. The committee members may eventually serve as the readers of the dissertation, but the designation of readers will be determined by the committee itself, in consultation with the DGS, as the student’s work on the dissertation moves forward. Readers of the dissertation may include no more than one person who is not a member of the Yale faculty. Starting with the term after the prospectus has been submitted, the student must meet with the committee at least once a semester to report on progress on the dissertation, the timing of which will be determined in consultation with the advisor and DGS.


Some students elect to remain in residence at Yale during the fourth year as they begin dissertation research; others go abroad for research during this year or the fifth year. Upon his or her return from research in East Asia, the student will begin or continue the writing of the dissertation. Each student should carefully confer with their adviser over the schedule for delivering draft chapters over the course of this and the following years of Yale funding.


As above, under third year. Very advanced students may occasionally be appointed Part-Time Acting Instructors (PTAIs), and thereby teach courses on their own. Another avenue for teaching, available to students who have been admitted to candidacy and are making good progress on the dissertation, is in the College Seminar program. (Consult the DGS and/or DUS.)

Dissertation Progress Report

The Graduate School requires submission of a Dissertation Progress Report in the spring term of each year after admission to candidacy.

See also Other Support under Calendar of Progress - Fifth Year, and Summer Funding under Calendar of Progress - First Year.

Summer Funding

The Graduate School provides doctoral students with five summers of support. Grants from other sources such as the Council on East Asian Studies are available.