The Tepper School's Ph.D. program places a strong emphasis on research. Students are required to prepare a paper of publishable quality in the summer between their first and second years.
This paper should demonstrate the student's ability to explore a particular problem area, define a problem, confront that problem with the appropriate research methods and communicate the results in a clear and concise form. The problem may lie within a single discipline, or may extend to several disciplines.
The research should be an initial attempt at an important problem, rather than a trivial extension of known results. Students are encouraged to select topics that will enable them to acquire knowledge and develop research skills that will complement those developed in the formal educational process.
Work on the first-summer paper begins formally at the end of the student's second semester of study, though students are well-advised to begin thinking about research topics during the second semester.
Students are required to have two faculty readers for their papers. The faculty readers work with the student in developing the research topic, setting goals and expectations for the paper, and proving feedback to the student on the work.
Each of the areas requires students to make a brief research proposal presentation to their peers and to the faculty in late May.
A first draft of the paper is due on the last working day of July, with one copy going to the Ph.D. office, and one copy each to the student's readers.The final draft of the paper is due on August 31, with one copy going to the Ph.D. office and one copy each to the readers. This draft is the basis for the readers' evaluation of the summer paper, which serves as one input to the third semester review.