Nine-Year Policy for Time to the Doctoral Degree

Doctoral students in the Arts and Sciences are allowed nine years of continuous registration to satisfy all requirements for the doctoral degree, during which time they are required to maintain full-time status.*

However, GSAS doctoral students are expected to complete all requirements for the PhD or DMA degree in no more than seven years, beyond which they are not eligible for housing or for funding from GSAS or the Arts and Sciences.

*Only those semesters in which a student has been registered are counted toward the time-to-degree limit (i.e., official leaves of absence granted by GSAS are not counted). Students who have not registered continuously (and did not receive an official leave of absence) must reapply for admission in order to return to doctoral study.

Policy for Students Who Entered a Doctoral Program in Fall 2011 and After

Students who entered a doctoral program in Fall 2011 and after and who do not complete all requirements for the doctoral degree by the end of the ninth year will no longer be considered to be GSAS doctoral degree candidates, and will be notified accordingly in writing by GSAS. Note that the ninth year ends on May 31. Students so notified may appeal this determination within thirty days of receipt of notification.

To appeal, a student must do the following:

  1. Submit a letter to the Dean of GSAS that indicates all the steps that he or she will take, with a timetable, to distribute, defend, and deposit the dissertation in at most two additional semesters of candidacy.
  2. Submit to the sponsor all chapters and materials produced to date on the dissertation, as well as a copy of the timetable referenced above. After examining the materials, the sponsor should write a letter to GSAS that evaluates the materials received, and that endorses as feasible the timetable provided.

GSAS will review the request and determine either that a) the student be allowed to remain a degree candidate as a registered student for at most two additional semesters; or that b) the student not be allowed to continue as a degree candidate. There are no further possibilities of appeal beyond the Dean of GSAS. If the appeal is granted, but the student does not complete all requirements for the doctoral degree, including the deposit of the dissertation by the stipulated date, he or she will no longer be considered to be a doctoral degree candidate by GSAS.

Policy for Students Who Entered a Doctoral Program Prior to Fall 2011

Students who entered a doctoral program prior to Fall 2011 and who have not completed all requirements for the doctoral degree by the end of the ninth year of registration may request a two-semester extension to finish all requirements for the degree. Note that the ninth year ends on May 31.

To request this extension, a student must do the following:

  1. Submit a letter to the dean of GSAS that indicates all the steps he or she will take, with a timetable, to distribute, defend, and deposit the dissertation in at most two additional semesters of candidacy.
  2. Submit to the sponsor all chapters and materials produced to date on the dissertation, as well as a copy of the timetable referenced above. After examining the materials, the sponsor should write a letter to GSAS that evaluates the materials received, and that endorses as feasible the timetable provided.

GSAS will review the request and determine either that a) the student be allowed to remain a degree candidate as a registered student for at most to two additional semesters; or that b) the student not be allowed to continue as a degree candidate. If the extension is granted but the student does not complete all requirements for the PhD or DMA, including the deposit of the dissertation, by the stipulated date, he or she will no longer be considered to be a doctoral degree candidate by GSAS.

Students who entered a doctoral program in the Arts and Sciences between Fall 2002 and Fall 2010 and who have not registered continuously (and did not receive an official leave of absence) must reapply for admission in order to return to doctoral study. Students who entered a doctoral program before Fall 2002 and who have registered continuously to date should contact gsas-dean [at] columbia.edu for more information. To certify that the student's scholarly preparation remains current, the student may be required to repeat coursework taken more than ten years prior or to retake the doctoral qualifying exams (in whole or in part).