...Ok, well when you gonna finish?
PhD students unite! Rebel against these questions!
My answer - I don't know, and it will probably be a while. Like ask me in 3-4 years.
Here are some ways my program differs from others you might know more about:
- very linear - we do coursework, then comps (or integrative paper), then dissertation proposal, then dissertation
- everything is new work - the comps (or integrative paper) is not like presenting a portfolio of work already completed but a new separate thing, the dissertation is a new piece of empirical research (no publishing pieces in advance as journal articles)
- there is course work - a lot - and there are specific classes that are required
- there's a lot of making your own program - no two people do the exact same thing ( or take the same classes, etc)
- many of us are older (very few, if any, straight from an undergrad), most of us are married, a lot of my fellow students have children
- nobody gives you a dissertation problem that they've carved off a larger project - you have to go find something (it might be part of something you're working on with a faculty member, but it's really not the same)
- we can't teach. the school is grad level only (hm, what happened to the info sci undergrad minor?) and there's a rule that grad students can't teach grad students. Two recent PhDs co-taught courses and they had some degree of freedom in this. But we're competing when we graduate with people who have taught like 4 classes :(
Anywho... what's up right now is that I'm struggling to find a dissertation topic (not too small, not too big, and I want it to mean something - like make a difference or matter in some way) and then I'll be putting my committee together to hopefully get it approved in September.
Doesn't really sound terribly difficult from what I went through about 35 years ago starting on the road to my phud in invertebrate zoology. The major difference is the lack of teaching, but that varied a lot for my group. And in my group, nobody was handed a project - you had a year or so from acceptance to come up with your own question(s) or you got shown the door with a booby prize (a non-thesis masters).
http://tinyurl.com/mocfby - all the psychological armour you need to get through.