Year 4 - Dissertation & Teaching

Funding: Normally, 4th year students are supported by a Teaching Fellowship. See above in Year 3 for details of the Teaching Fellowship.

  • Technically speaking, students who have not advanced to candidacy (see above for what that means) will not be allowed to register and are on “academic probation.”
    • NOTE:  This sounds like a terrible thing.  It is not a terrible thing.  It does not appear anywhere on your transcript.  It is simply Yale’s internal way of flagging that you won’t be allowed to register for another semester beyond the current one if you don’t advance to candidacy by the end of that semester.  If it less upsetting, then think of it as a grace period.  As long as you advance to candidacy in this probation semester, the probation status disappears and everything else is fine.
    • NOTE TO THE PREVIOUS NOTE:  For students in the language intensive fields just adjust everything by a semester.  You have 7 semesters to advance to candidacy so if you have not advanced to candidacy by the beginning of the 8th semester then you will be placed on academic probation (aka “an academic grace period”) and you will really, really, really need to advance to candidacy in that semester or you will not be allowed to register the following semester.
    • NOTE TO BOTH OF THE PREVIOUS NOTES:  More than anything else, the grad school loves it when you communicate with them.  We have found that if you let grad school know of delays and have a clear plan outlining when and how requirements will be met, they will work with you to achieve your goals (because, unsurprisingly, they want you to succeed!), even allowing you to register beyond an academic probation as long as all requirements will certainly be met in the first 30 days of the semester.  But it takes some doing, and lots of clear communication and evidence of bona fides.  So don’t hide — talk to the DGS and get the help you need.
  • Normally, students will spend the 4th year on dissertation research and writing.
    • NOTE:  Ah, the unstructured life!  Time to just dig in to the dissertation, to read and think and make discoveries that will change the world.  Or, to feel adrift in a vast sea of tangled texts or devilishly dense data.  Yikes!
      Take it from those who have battled through the dissertation doldrums: you need to find ways to build structure into your days and weeks.  Set up regular meetings with your adviser (every two weeks? Every month?) and establish clear goals (a chapter draft by this date? A translation by that date?).  And write.  Often.  Just stop reading and analyzing every so often, and spend a couple of days writing.  Maybe you’ll toss a lot of it out, but you will feel you are producing and making progress and in the 4th year, psychology is the name of the game.