I Am a PhD Candidate!

I Am a PhD Candidate! Featured Image

Heading into the new year, I am officially a PhD candidate. Not too long from now, I’ll be celebrating the degree! In the meantime, let’s chat about the candidacy process and where things are headed.

Table of Contents

Life Update

As of December 2022, I officially passed my candidacy exam to become a PhD candidate. For folks not familiar with the academic landscape, that basically means I’m ready to complete my independent research and write up my dissertation. Given my current timeline, that means I could be done as early as this time next year.

In the meantime, I’ll be starting my research! The goal for the spring will be to conduct all of my data collection (with data analysis mixed in). In the summer, I’ll be working another research project while I work out my own data analysis and writing. Then, by the fall, I should have all my analysis done with plenty of time for writing (or at least I hope).

In the worst case, I’d like to be done by the time I’m 30, which is February 2024. If I wait any longer, I will be in great emotional pain. That said, hopefully by fall 2024, I’ll be in my first academic job!

Candidacy Exam

With the schedule out of the way, let’s actually talk about the exam. To explain how it all works, I’m going to outline it in reverse.

Most recently (December 13th), I completed the oral portion of the exam. That was basically a 2-hour presentation and “defense.” I put defense in quotes because it’s not intended to be a defense (despite how it felt). Anyway, I spent the first 30ish minutes sharing a presentation of my work. Then, the next hour was spent answering questions like “how feasible is this work?” Ultimately, the last 30 minutes go to discussion, both of my passing status and my next steps.

Two weeks prior to the oral portion (November 29th), I submitted my responses to four questions about my work. This constitutes the end of the written portion of the exam. The following two weeks before the oral portion are set aside for the committee to read the responses.

Four weeks prior to the submission of my essays (November 1st), the written portion kicked off. During this portion, I was tasked with writing essays to four questions from the committee. In short, they asked me about my methodology, my positionality, my argument, and my study concepts.

Two weeks prior to that written portion (October 18th), I submitted my proposal which kicked off the start of the candidacy exam. The proposal was a 15-page document that I covered my entire study (i.e., data collection, analysis, background, etc.).

After the two-month process, my committee let me know that I passed. Now, I move forward with the last leg of my degree.

Life Plans

At this point in my career, my plan is to go after a clinical track position in a computer science department. Once I’m all settled in, I’d like to start raising some kids and begin that true adult life. At the same time, I’m planning to keep growing this site in the same capacity. If that’s something you’d like to help with, check out my list of ways to grow the site. Otherwise, here are some related posts:

If not, no worries! Take care, and I’ll see you in the new year.

Journey to a PhD (49 Articles)—Series Navigation

As my current career trajectory shifts away from engineering, I find myself in a peculiar position as a PhD student. As I explore the latest concepts in Computer Science, you can find that journey documented here in my series titled Journey to a PhD.

Jeremy Grifski

Jeremy grew up in a small town where he enjoyed playing soccer and video games, practicing taekwondo, and trading Pokémon cards. Once out of the nest, he pursued a Bachelors in Computer Engineering with a minor in Game Design. After college, he spent about two years writing software for a major engineering company. Then, he earned a master's in Computer Science and Engineering. Today, he pursues a PhD in Engineering Education in order to ultimately land a teaching gig. In his spare time, Jeremy enjoys spending time with his wife, playing Overwatch and Phantasy Star Online 2, practicing trombone, watching Penguins hockey, and traveling the world.

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