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First-Year PhD Students

Welcome! For questions about the PhD program in engineering or about special career development opportunities such as acquiring teaching experience, engineering management or design and development training, please contact the MS/PhD Program Director.

PhD Program Planning

First-Year Program Plan

During the first year of the PhD program, students prepare for formal candidacy by taking courses and participating in faculty-directed research projects.

Each student works with a faculty advisor and 2 additional Thayer faculty members. This group helps each student develop a first-year program of study, which the student submits to the Thayer School Registrar during the first week of the term. A typical first-year program of study includes:

  • Graduate-level courses completed with a grade of B or higher (can be a combination of Dartmouth courses and courses taken at another institution beyond BS or BE degree requirements) (6 courses)
  • ENGG 296: Graduate research completed with a grade of B or higher (3 terms)

Go to Banner Student to complete the PhD Program Plan (First Year Scheduling).

Full Program Plan

During the first term, the faculty help the student develop a full program plan to fulfill the PhD requirements, which the student submits to the Thayer School Registrar before the beginning of the second term. The PhD program plan includes the remaining engineering courses required plus participation in the following seminars and workshops:

  • ENGG 195: Seminar on Science, Technology and Society (4 terms)
  • ENGG 197: PhD Professional Workshops (1 term, usually taken in one of the latter years in residence)
  • ENGG 198: Research-in-Progress Workshop (Annual participation during spring break)

PhD Course Planning Sheet (PDF) — for planning purposes only.
You will need to go to Banner Student to complete the PhD Program Plan.

Annual PhD-Advisor Meetings

At the end of each year, students meet with their faculty advisor to review grades, goals, achievements and future plans in research, formal coursework, and extracurricular activities. This meeting, and a corresponding written report, is required for every year that a student remains registered in the PhD program.

Following the first-year meeting, before the fall of second year, the advisor provides the Registrar a written report describing a student’s annual performance. Following a positive outcome of this first annual meeting, the student is expected to complete the oral qualifier examination before the end of the fall term.

The second annual meeting should occur at the end of the student’s second year, and a successful outcome of this would allow the student to progress to the PhD thesis proposal presentation before the end of the third year.

Students who are not progressing in a normal manner are transferred to the MS program with the understanding that they may later request to be reconsidered as PhD candidates.