Year 5 - Dissertation & Teaching

Funding: Normally, 5th year students are supported by the University Dissertation Fellowship. The UDF stipend enables and requires the student to be engaged in full-time study (once again, a genuinely fabulous thing), concentrating on the dissertation without the distractions of employment or teaching.

(Note: A full-time student is defined as a student who does not work more than 10 hours a week in paid employment.)

  • Normally, students will spend the 5th year on dissertation research and writing. AND ideally they will enter the job market.  The DGS will offer a job search workshop in the fall. You should also check out the amazing resources of the Office of Career Strategy.
  • Academic careers:  When is the right time to enter the academic job market?  You and your adviser(s) or DGS should have this conversation because the answer will vary from student to student.  Timing is important.  It is rarely a good idea to go on the job market too early (e.g., year 4 or earlier, or without a good start on your dissertation in year 5), as potential employers might form opinions of you at too junior a stage.  But you need not have your entire dissertation in hand before entering the academic job market.  You do need to know who you are as a scholar and why your dissertation both demonstrates your expertise in a field and contributes to the conversation.  Let the DGS and your advisers know your intentions.  They can help by setting up mock interviews and mock job talks within the department.
  • Non-academic careers: Here again, consult with your adviser(s) and the DGS about the timing of your application for non-academic or academic-adjacent careers. Take full advantage of the amazing resources of the Office of Career Strategy regarding alt-ac, non-ac, and ac-adjacent careers.
  • Business Cards, Interfolio, Letterhead: For students who are ABD:

o    You may submit a one-time request for up to $45 reimbursement for business cards and may use the department address (but not the telephone number) on the business card.

o    You may request Interfolio access for no more than two years ($60 per year, reimbursed by the department).

  • Submitting the dissertation: The fall submission date is in early October and the spring submission date is in mid-March.  (The exact submission dates for the current academic year can be found at (  One month before submitting the dissertation you must notify the department (Heather and DGS) of your intention to submit the dissertation and provide the names, addresses, email addresses, and phone numbers of the readers of your dissertation. The standard number of readers is three, of which two must be ladder or ladder-track Yale faculty.  The department will provide your readers with access to the dissertation and the dissertation report.

o    More information on the dissertation submission including the steps involved can be found here.

  • The reader reports will be read by the department faculty, will be filed with the graduate school and will be shared with you, but no one else sees these reports.  Future employers do not see them.  The purpose of the report is (1) to indicate whether or not the dissertation meets the requirements for the Ph.D and (2) to provide helpful feedback for the future revision of the dissertation in part or in whole.  It will therefore contain critique and suggestions for revision to ensure that the next incarnation of the dissertation serves the additional purpose of helping you in your academic career (secure promotions, etc.).  Do not be surprised to see that the dissertation is not ranked excellent in all rubrics by all readers.  No dissertation is perfect or complete and you want your readers to let you know what needs to be done to turn the dissertation into an excellent first book or series of articles.
    • NOTE: Filing your dissertation completes your requirements for the Ph.D. and terminates your student status even if you have remaining semesters of funding and even if the degree will not be officially awarded until the next semester.  In other words, your student status ends at the end of the semester (not year) in which you file your dissertation.  If you file your dissertation in December, your student status ENDS at the close of the fall semester, even though the degree is not officially awarded until the next degree granting opportunity in May.  Since you are no longer studying or working towards the degree, you are no longer considered a student.  That means that you will not have Yale Health Plan coverage.  This is really important and has been a cause of confusion and strife so please pay attention: If you file your dissertation ANYTIME in the fall semester – whether before OR after the fall filing deadline –  your student status, and therefore your Yale Health Plan coverage, will end at the close of the fall semester.  If it is important to you to retain Health coverage through the spring of your final year, then do not file your dissertation before the close of registration in the spring semester (near the end of January).  Check with the DGS if you have ANY questions. Timing, it turns out, is everything.