Ph.D. Student Handbook

Time Limit for Completion of the Ph.D.

The University’s maximum time limit for completion is ten years after matriculation. Graduate students who have been dropped after 10 years may petition the graduate group to return as a student for a maximum of one year in order to achieve recertification and defend the dissertation.  The faculty have no obligation to continue working with a student who has been dropped, nor is there any presumption that a graduate group will respond favorably to a petition for re-admission.  If the Graduate Group wishes to recommend re-admission, it must present to the Graduate Dean a list of faculty members willing to serve as a dissertation committee and a detailed, realistic plan of how the student will, within one year of re-enrollment, achieve recertification, pass the dissertation examination, and submit the final copy of the dissertation. If re-enrollment is approved by the Graduate Dean, such a student must pay reduced rate tuition for two semesters, unless all requirements are completed within one semester.


Students who have not completed all requirements for the Ph.D., including the deposit of the dissertation, within 10 years of their initial matriculation face the ever increasing risk that their knowledge of the field is no longer at the frontier of current research in their field. A student who is re-enrolled after expiration of the time limit must therefore satisfy the recertification criteria designed by their Graduate Group and approved by the Graduate Council of the Faculties (or retake and pass the Candidacy Examination). The new deadline for completion of all requirements for the Ph.D. including recertification shall be within one year.