Requirements for the MPhil Degree

The degree of Master of Philosophy (MPhil) is conferred upon a student who has fulfilled all PhD requirements except the dissertation. Study for the MPhil is full time only.

For conferral of the MPhil, the Graduate School requires the completion of all requirements for the MA degree (or two Residence Units of advanced standing), plus four additional Residence Units earned at Columbia. Through course work and qualifying examinations, each student must demonstrate that a satisfactory level of competence in the discipline has been achieved. Students must complete the instructional requirements for doctoral students, and are responsible for any language or other special requirements; students should consult their director of graduate studies for the specific requirements of each program.

Students are required to complete all work and receive grades for all courses with the mark of Incomplete (IN) or Credit Pending (CP) before receiving the MPhil, whether or not the course is a requirement for the degree.

To maintain satisfactory academic progress, all work for the MPhil degree and the prospectus defense must be completed within four years from initial registration, unless the student receives two Residence Units of advanced standing, in which case all MPhil degree requirements and the prospectus defense must be completed within three years from initial registration. Students must defend the prospectus successfully by May 31 of their fourth year. Students who do not meet this deadline will lose good academic standing, be placed on probation, and not have their stipend disbursed for the ensuing fall semester. In exceptional circumstances, with a written rationale from the DGS and sponsor and the approval of GSAS, students may receive a final opportunity to defend their prospectus before September 30 of the fifth year. Students who do so successfully by September 30 of the fifth year will receive the full Dissertation Fellowship retroactively. Students who do not pass their prospectus by September 30 of their fifth year will lose PhD candidacy. For students who are off-cycle (those whose fifth year of matriculation begins in January), the corresponding deadlines described above will be December 15 and February 28.

Once all requirements have been completed, the student should submit an application for the MPhil degree to the DGS. The DGS must then sign the form and submit it to the GSAS Dissertation Office by the deadline that corresponds to the intended degree conferral date. Degrees are awarded three times a year—in October, February, and May—and each degree conferral date has a corresponding application deadline.