The department judges satisfactory progress based on:
- coursework, languages, and the general exam in the first two years
- completing an approved dissertation prospectus, forming a dissertation committee and performance as a Teaching Fellow in years three and four
- completing research and annual chapters of the dissertation in the fifth year and beyond
Advisors' reports are used to discuss each case, in the sixth year and above, with the Dean of the Graduate School (GSAS) in February, and as the basis of the Department's Graduate Student Review meeting in May.