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Programs : Doctoral : Student Handbook : Section Six

Beyond My First Semester

As a Ph.D. student, you have a very large part of the responsibility for assuring that you progress through your doctoral studies. Along with your Dissertation Chair and committee members, you will determine the timing of virtually all of the elements of your program and the clearing of the various hurdles separating you from the doctorate. Therefore, it is critical that you establish and maintain frequent and regular contact with your Dissertation Chair, UCSB sponsor and later on, other committee members. It would be a really good idea to establish a schedule of monthly meetings with your Dissertation Chair to discuss your progress to date and up-coming activities related to your program. Periodically, you should revisit your "4-Year Progress Calendar" and revise it as needed. This is often completed as part of the Diagnostic Interview and it is described in the "Milestones" section below. Also, make contact by phone or e-mail now and then with the UCSB faculty on your committee in order to keep them abreast of your situation. In this way, you will be able to keep communications open and information flowing. Further, this will enable you to avoid the situation where you would be talking to your committee members only when you "need something" from them.

During your time, both at SDSU and at UCSB, you will be paid as a teaching associate. We try to give doctoral students an opportunity to teach and in most cases, some teaching duties will be required. During their tenure in the program, we encourage all doctoral students to teach at least one course so as to gain valuable teaching experience. Such experience allows the student to assess their interest and aptitude for college-level teaching and is necessary for attaining academic teaching positions after graduation.

If you are given a teaching assignment for the Fall Semester, you can use part of the summer to review texts, develop a syllabus, and do the other things you need to do to get a class organized. Doctoral students will submit a teaching request form to the Department Chair every January for the upcoming academic year. This will give the Chair information about the courses that a particular student is qualified / prepared to teach, and also allows the department to determine which students are available to teach.

All doctoral students are required to complete the Teaching College Geography workshop that the Department offers before the start of the fall semester. You should take this course in the late summer before your first year teaching. The workshop is informal; no credits are assigned, but a certificate of completion is provided. The workshop meets for two days prior to the start of the fall semester. For questions about this workshop, please speak with Dr. John O'Leary (x45511).

For any non-teaching activities (such as faculty or personal research) you are allocated "assigned time" for research. Each semester, you are required to submit a summary of the activities undertaken as part of your teaching associateship. About a month prior to the end of the semester at SDSU (even for those at UCSB), you will receive an e-mail requesting a summary of your "assigned time" activities. For this summary, you should include your semester activities: research, presentations, publications and other activities and explain which SDSU course will benefit. Please be sure to submit the form (to Patti) in a timely manner so that your pay is not delayed.

All doctoral students are required to submit a timesheet as a monthly attendance summary. The timesheet should be submitted by the last day of each month.

During your first year at SDSU it's a good idea to visit UCSB. This will give you an opportunity to meet some of the graduate students and faculty there and see the surroundings so that you might be a little more comfortable on future visits. Such a sojourn would probably be most useful to you if it comes after you have selected a Dissertation Chair and areas of specialization. You should try to meet with your UCSB sponsor and talk to anyone else you think might be appropriate for your Doctoral Committee. Be sure to phone and/or email ahead and make appointments! Otherwise, you might strike-out during your visit.

During your time at SDSU, attendance to the Department of Geography colloquia presentations is expected (and implicitly mandatory), even though we do not take roll or give formal unit credit, as is done at UCSB for GEOG 201 (see below). During your first year, it is likely that attendance to colloquia and/or presentations will be mandatory, as it is typically a required component of GEOG 701 and GEOG 700. However, even if you are not taking these courses or if you are not a first year student, you are still expected to attend the colloquia. We see the colloquia as part of your doctoral training; moreover attending presentations and colloquia is part of regular academic life.

At the end of each academic year, you are required to provide a brief report of your academic and teaching associateship activities, irrespective of your funding status. The annual report should provide your Dissertation Chair and the Doctoral Adviser with a brief summary of your activities, accomplishments and/or plans within the following categories:

  1. course work and other formal academic activities (e.g., special studies, independent research, directed readings);
  2. proposal development, written and oral exam preparation/completion, dissertation research/writing;
  3. Teaching Associateship duties (text could be extracted from your assigned time reports to Patti); and
  4. academic activities during the coming summer and start of the coming academic year.

After reviewing your Annual Report, your Dissertation Chair will provide you and your Committee members with an annual review of your accomplishments and plans. Students who will file the dissertation in summer or early fall can be exempted from completing an annual report if their Adviser is in agreement.

Handbook Topics

How did I get Admitted?
What does the Financial Offer I Accepted Mean?
What Happens Between the Time I'm Accepted and When I Enroll?
Okay, I've Arrived at the Department. What do I do?
My First Semester's Started: Now What?
Beyond My First Semester
When Should I Plan on Spending My Year at UCSB?
Any Information that might Help Me for My UCSB Residency?
What are the Major Mileposts in My Program?

The statements found on this page/site are for informational purposes only. While every effort is made to ensure that this information is up to date and accurate, official information can be found in the university publications.