The second-year paper requirement is designed to develop and demonstrate a student’s ability to identify a research question, develop related theory and hypotheses, and test these hypotheses empirically. In addition, it provides an opportunity for the student to practice presenting a paper in a full-session (80-minute) format. The caliber of written work required is at the level of a submission to a high quality and individually appropriate conference venue that is likely to be accepted. Indeed, we strongly encourage students to submit their second year papers for presentation at a major conference and our hope is that students will ultimately submit revised versions of these papers to equally prestigious journals for publication.
A second-year paper committee includes an “advisor” and two “readers”. The advisor is the person who has had the most previous exposure to the paper. Then, for the requirement, you must have two readers (not including your advisor) approve the written paper. You may have coauthors on this paper, but you must be the primary or coequal author, and coauthors cannot serve as readers (but can serve as advisor). When you submit the paper to your readers, they will have two weeks to respond to the paper. They may approve the paper as is, or ask for revisions before they approve. They also determine whether you are ready to present the work in an open session. When they provide a go-ahead for presentation, you are responsible for securing a presentation date and time that works for your readers, your advisor, and a member of the doctoral committee (typically the doctoral coordinator). Approval of the written paper and presentation in the open session fulfill the requirement. It is worth noting that the likelihood of your readers approving your paper is strongly correlated with the extent to which they and your advisor have provided previous informal feedback.
Several deadlines apply:
- The second-year paper committee must be formed by May 15th of the second year.
- The paper must be submitted to the committee, doctoral coordinator and doctoral administrator no later than October 15th of the third year.
- The paper must be approved and the presentation completed no later than May 15th of the third year or the student risks losing good standing.
While these deadlines are used by the doctoral policy committee to evaluate adequate progress on the part of students, we encourage students to complete this process significantly earlier, such that the requirement is fulfilled by the summer after the second year. Completing the second year paper requirements before the start of the third year allows a student to focus on other research projects, submit his or her second year paper for publication, and begin work on the dissertation in the third year.