Time Limitations and Residence

Time Limitations

A student devoting half-time (9 to 12 credits per semester) to graduate studies will normally require about two to three years beyond the Master's degree to earn the Ph.D. degree. In no case may a student take more than eight years to complete the program from the date of acceptance as a candidate.


There is no required minimum of credits or semesters of study, but over some twelve-month period during the interval between admission to candidacy and completion of the Ph.D. program the candidate must spend at least two consecutive semesters (which may include the semester in which the candidacy examination is taken) as a registered full-time student engaged in academic work at the University Park Campus.

Beyond this residency requirement, a student receiving assistantship support must be continuously registered up through the time of the comprehensive examination (e.g. students on half-time assistantships should schedule 9 to 12 credits per semester). If the doctoral candidate is not receiving assistantship support but is using University facilities and/or faculty-time, the student must enroll for a minimum of one credit during that semester or session (enrollment for a minimum of one credit is required during every semester or session until completion of the doctoral defense as long as University facilities and/or faculty time are used).

In addition to the above, all students must be registered for a minimum of one credit during the semester or session that the comprehensive examination is held. Once the comprehensive examination has been successfully passed, the student may enroll for FD SC 601 and will be considered to have ―full-time status (Note, that enrollment for one credit of 600 is also acceptable to the Graduate School after the student successfully passes the comprehensive examination; however, the student will not be considered to have ―full-time status in this case).

After successfully completing the doctoral defense, there is no requirement for the student to be registered, however, all degree requirements (including submission of the final doctoral thesis to the graduate school) must be completed prior to expiration of the statute of limitations (8 years for the doctoral candidate from the date of successful completion of the candidacy examination).