Graduate students at the dissertation stage should discuss expectations for submitting and receiving feedback on their work with their advisors and committee members. Some professors may establish strict deadlines for the submission of work, while others may have more flexible policies. Most professors try to respond to essays or chapters within a month or two, but it is important to discuss those expectations up front. After discussing them, students should confirm those expectations in writing with a follow-up email.
Certain times of the semester are especially busy and during those times it may take longer for a professor to respond with feedback. When circumstances make it impossible for a professor to return work within the agreed-upon timeframe, he or she should communicate a revised estimate to the student as promptly as possible. Similarly, when a student misses a deadline, the student should contact the professor as soon as possible to agree on a new timeline.
A full draft of a dissertation can take considerable time to read, so students should not expect that the normal turnaround time applies. Well in advance of submitting a full dissertation draft, students should talk with their advisors about the timeline for feedback and revisions.