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PhD Program And Academic Progress Requirements Time To Degree

To maintain satisfactory academic progress, Ph.D. students must reach the degree milestones by the following deadlines:

  • Written Qualifying Exam:  End of 2nd year (6th quarter)
  • Breadth Requirement:  End of 3rd year (9th quarter)
  • Proposal of Fields:  End of 3rd Year (9th quarter)
  • Oral Qualifying Exam:  End of 4th year (12th quarter)
  • Final Defense:  End of 6th year (18th quarter)

The expected time to graduation of 6 years (18 quarters) accords with Graduate Division rules, which limit students to a maximum of 12 quarters as a teaching assistant and a maximum of 18 quarters combined as either a teaching assistant or research assistant.

Each year at the end of spring quarter, the entire faculty evaluates the academic progress of all Ph.D. students. A summary of each evaluation is sent by email to all students and their faculty advisors. These notifications indicate if the academic progress of students has been satisfactory or unsatisfactory.  By default the evaluations work as follows, but outcomes can differ based on the faculty discussion:

  • A student who has completed all milestones that are required based on his/her length of time in the program receives an evaluation of “satisfactory progress.”
  • A student who fails to meet one of the above deadlines for the first time receives an evaluation of “unsatisfactory progress.”
    The student is typically given six months to complete the milestone and is re-evaluated at that point.
  • A student who fails to meet the deadline required by a prior evaluation of “unsatisfactory progress” receives an evaluation of “unsatisfactory progress, subject to dismissal.”  The student is typically given six more months to complete the milestone and is notified that he/she is subject to dismissal from the Ph.D. program if this deadline is not met.
  • A student who fails to meet the deadline required by a prior evaluation of “unsatisfactory progress, subject to dismissal” will be
    discussed by the faculty.  Based on input from the student’s faculty advisor and other information, the faculty may vote to dismiss the student from the Ph.D. program, or they may decide to give the student one more chance and send another “unsatisfactory progress, subject to dismissal” letter. An “unsatisfactory progress, subject to dismissal” evaluation may also
    affect a student’s eligibility for a TA assignment.