My Ph.D Timeline

Public Affairs Ph.D Plan of Study at UCF (Full-Time)

  • Year One
    • Coursework
  • Year Two
    • Coursework
    • Qualifying Exams/QE’s (also called Comprehensive Exams/Comps, etc)
  • Year Three
    • Complete Track Specialty courses
    • Complete Dissertation Prospectus
    • Defend Dissertation Prospectus
  • Year Four
    • Dissertation (conduct study, analyze findings, and report findings)
    • Defend Dissertation
    • Graduate

At each University and in each Doctoral program there will be variations within and amongst students in their Plan of Study. The timeline presented above is the plan of study that I started with and by the grace of God it’s what I have been able to stick with, considering that I am a full time student. Currently, I am in the process of closing out year three, which consists of me taking my final track specialty course and preparing to defend my Dissertation Prospects. Essentially a dissertation prospects is a document that identifies your proposed research study, it’s significance, existing literature on your topic, and your very detailed research plan.

Last week I submitted my fourth (yes you read that correctly, numero cuatro) draft of my Prospectus to my Dissertation Chair for review before submitting it to my other Committee Members. Although this has been a tedious process, I can honestly say that every draft, comment and revision made has contributed to advancing my overall academic writing skills and my Dissertation/research project tremendously.

Lessons Learned During this Phase

  1. This is an opportunity for you not only to learn from the intellectual and experienced members of your committee, but this is also an opportunity for you to prove your identity as a researcher…Which is the overall purpose of a Dissertation.
  2. The comments and suggestions presented are not attacks on your work. Your committee members are there to help you, to challenge you, and to ensure that you are presenting your best work…Welcome and take heed to their comments.
  3. While awaiting feedback from your Dissertation Committee catch up and/or get ahead on your other obligations (classwork, teaching, chores, etc.)…Use your time wisely.

Motivational Scripture:

Galatians 6:9- “And let us not be weary in well doing, for in due season we shall reap if we faint not.”

With four weeks until my defense date I keep reminding myself that I am four weeks closer to transitioning from a Doctoral Student to a Doctoral Candidate. Also, that I am four weeks closer to becoming Dr. Mack.





  1. Richard Mack
    April 11, 2019 / 7:43 am

    Do what you know from your dad.

    • rachaeldmack
      April 11, 2019 / 8:55 pm

      I could never thank you enough dad. Love you.

  2. April 27, 2019 / 7:45 pm

    Congrats Cousin…So Godly Proud of you!!!

    • rachaeldmack
      May 22, 2019 / 4:03 pm

      Thank you Cousin Naomi. I appreciate you taking time to visit the site and read my posts.

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