Calendar of Progress - Sixth Year

Dissertation research and writing continue, ideally to completion of the degree. Students engaged in the writing of the dissertation are often invited to give a “work in progress” presentation to the EALL faculty and their fellow students. See also Career Placement and Advising on the main Calendar of Progress page.


Students on Yale University Fellowships may, under certain conditions, take advantage of a sixth year of funding in the form of teaching or other academically related jobs (such as tutoring).  There may also be opportunities for appointment as a PTAI or in the College Seminar program, or elsewhere.

Other Support

All students making good progress toward completion of the dissertation and devoting their full time to it are eligible for a University Dissertation Fellowship (if they have not had one in the fifth year), or for the sixth year of funding as part of their Yale University Fellowship.  Some are eligible to win Robert M. Leylan Dean’s Scholar Awards or East Asian Prize or East Asian Dissertation Fellowships if nominated by a faculty member in the previous spring. Application for the dissertation year fellowship must be made in the spring prior to the year in which the student hopes to hold the fellowship. All students are strongly urged to apply for “outside” write-up year fellowships as well; these often carry a larger stipend than the Yale fellowship. (Students who show that they have applied to outside sources for dissertation-writing support but are unsuccessful are awarded small but significant “bonuses” to their Yale Dissertation Fellowships.) Students who hold Yale Dissertation Fellowships must obtain permission from the DGS and the Associate Dean if they wish to accept any employment that takes time away from work on the dissertation.

Pre-submission Defense

Those who plan to submit their dissertation in this year are required to conduct a defense of their dissertation before submission.  Students should submit to their committee a significant portion of their dissertation by the beginning of the term before the term in which the dissertation will be submitted. Those submitting in the spring, for instance, will submit around September 1; those submitting in the fall will submit around February 1.  Students will submit what constitutes a minimum of about 3/4ths of the dissertation (the advisor will confirm this with the DGS). The portion submitted will be read by the dissertation committee and the student will conduct an oral defense of the dissertation in front of the committee, usually about two weeks after submission. Since the dissertation will likely not be complete at this stage, the defense will focus on method as much as on content and writing. The committee will provide feedback that should help the student complete the dissertation in a satisfactory manner. The timing of the pre-submission defense should also help pace the student so that they can complete their dissertation on time while also pursuing other activities, such as job hunting.

Submitting the Dissertation

The dissertation must be submitted according to rules set forth by the Registrar of the Graduate School; the student should pay careful attention to these rules and to the deadlines for submission of the dissertation. Deadlines are in October and March of each year.

Once submitted, the dissertation is read by a committee of three qualified scholars appointed by the dissertation committee in consultation with the DGS; see “Prospectus and Committee” under Calendar of Progress - Fourth Year.  Readers are not selected by the student. Usually, the adviser is one of the readers, and the others are usually two other Yale faculty members, or, occasionally, one member of the faculty of another institution. Each reader is provided with a copy of the dissertation by the Graduate School Registrar, and submits a report on the dissertation to the Graduate School. Some readers may find that corrections must be made, and the student will be asked to submit a corrected copy of the dissertation before it is formally approved. If all the readers find the dissertation “acceptable,” or better, the DGS recommends the student for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. After the Graduate School’s degree committee has met and reviewed the readers’ reports, the student will receive copies of the readers’ reports from the Registrar and a letter from the Dean notifying the student of the committee’s action. Degrees are awarded in November/December and in May, but the university conducts its Commencement exercises only once a year, in May.

Dissertation Progress Report

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