For GSLIS in particular, be sure to see GSLIS Ph.D. Program Phases.
- Phase I: Foundation: Coursework.
- Phase II: Field examination. Qualifying exams should foreshadow the PhD research. The field examination sets the grand stage, e.g., “the study of information systems”, but also suggests where researchable issues might lie.
- Phase III: Dissertation.The final dissertation defense is a public affair. In many departments that’s only on paper, not in actual practice. In GSLIS may people attend, and there’s even a portion of the time devoted to questions from the audience beyond the committee. Even the proposal defense is public.
At the end of either of these, the committee meets in private session to formulate its evaluation and any required changes. There is then a private session at in which the committee conveys its findings to the student.