Dissertation Progress Meetings

Beginning in the semester following the defense of their prospectus, students will meet once each semester with their sponsor and at least one other faculty member, in order to receive timely feedback on their dissertation work and regular support throughout the dissertation-writing process.

Students should consult with their sponsor or DGS after the prospectus defense to identify the other faculty who will constitute, along with the sponsor, a committee that will meet regularly with them to provide feedback on their work. The reader(s) other than the sponsor may be from within the department or from another department, as recommended by the dissertation topic. Dissertation Progress Meetings should be scheduled each semester until the semester before the distribution of the defense to the larger thesis defense committee. These meetings will replace the annual Dissertation Progress Reports previously required of students and their sponsors. Students or faculty who are not physically on campus in a given semester may use their preferred video-conferencing platform to participate.

If you have any questions or concerns about Dissertation Progress Meetings, please write to the GSAS Office of Student Affairs at gsas-studentaffairs [at] columbia.edu.

Process & Timeline

  • Before the start of the semester: GSAS confirms with directors of graduate studies and departmental administrators which students should participate in Dissertation Progress Meetings. (Students with the prospectus may be exempted if they are about to distribute or defend, will be conducting fieldwork, or for other compelling reasons.)
  • Beginning of the semester: GSAS sends a message to students in the dissertation-writing phase requesting that they schedule a Dissertation Progress Meeting by the end of that term. The message includes a link to a brief form that will notify GSAS of the meeting date.
  • Throughout the semester:
    • Students schedule a Dissertation Progress Meeting and notify GSAS of the meeting date by submitting the brief form mentioned above. Ideally, at least three weeks before the scheduled meeting, students should distribute to the faculty with whom they will meet a completed draft of the material on which they are then working, so that faculty may provide constructive feedback at the meeting.
    • After the meeting takes place, the sponsor receives a request to assess the student’s progress by completing a brief form (see example here). At the same time, the student receives a confirmation message, and may reply to GSAS with any questions or concerns.
  • Mid-way through the semester: Students who have not scheduled a meeting receive a friendly reminder to do so from GSAS.
  • End of the semester: GSAS notifies departments of student participation to date for that term.