GraduateProgram Stages

Stage 3

Students normally begin the third stage by the beginning of year five.  During this stage, the focus is on the research, writing, and completion of the dissertation project.  The department does not require a dissertation defense.  Upon successful filing of the dissertation, the Ph.D. is conferred.  Standard time for degree completion is two years from the date of advancement to candidacy.

Career Development Expectations

In this last stage of the PhD students should strategize for a strong finish and begin planning for life beyond UCLA.


  • Review and finalize timeline for degree completion and update regularly
  • Review job search goals, revise as needed and update action plan; this review and revision can be done in conversation with the student’s adviser, the Director of Professionalization, and a graduate counselor at the Career Center.
  • Stay healthy with rest, exercise, diet, and recreation.
  • Maintain a competitive edge by finishing their dissertation and professionalizing their wardrobe.

Career Path Preparation

  • Make sure online presence is up to date and tailored to specific roles the student is targeting
  • Finalize application materials, including references, and tailor as needed. See chapter 5 of the Career Preparation Toolkit for Graduate Students and Postdoctoral Scholars to get started, and be sure to watch the series of workshops on the “Academic Job Search” page of our Career Development CCLE website.
  • Search for and apply to job openings and postdoc positions

Communications Skills

  • Complete the dissertation and continue submitting work to journals
  • Schedule a mock interview with the English Department and at the Career Center
  • Continue to engage diverse audiences through presentations, teaching, or community involvement.