Students who have earned 72 credits may register for full time dissertation study, which maintains their full-time status for funding and immigration purposes but which does not award any credits. They are still expected to attend and participate in the field seminars relevant for their dissertation. During the fourth year, students are expected to work on a research project that may become their job market paper. They should also form their dissertation committee, which consists of three faculty members in the economics department, and one external member. All faculty members must be part of the graduate faculty. External members could be faculty from other departments or at other universities, and must have experience advising graduate students. The external committee member must be approved by the Dean.
Those students who plan to go on the job market during the fifth year should start preparing their job market materials before the end of the fourth year. The Dissertation Overview must be held by the beginning of the fifth year; during the overview, the student presents his/her dissertation plan to the committee. Most students holding overviews have completed one paper, are close to completion on a second one, and have a third research project in progress.
Fourth year students are encouraged to participate in external conferences to present their research. Travel funds are available to support this participation. They are also encouraged to submit their completed papers for publication ahead of the job market. They are also eligible to apply for university fellowships for the fifth year (Mellon and SSDD), and to teach their own courses as instructors during the summer.