PhD Registration Limit

General Policy

For students who entered a PhD program in the Physical Sciences Division before summer 2016, there is a twelve-year registration limit. For students who entered between summer 2016 and spring 2017, there is a nine-year registration limit. For students entering summer 2017 or later, the registration limit is seven years. Students who exceed these limits will be administratively withdrawn from their degree programs.

Per University policy, students who exceed registration limits after entering PhD candidacy may complete a dissertation independently and petition their program to defend the dissertation and to graduate.

Exceptions to Registration Limits for Students Entering in Summer 2016 or Later

For students entering summer 2016 or later, leaves of absence are not counted against registration limits, nor is time spent in a formal master’s program.

Exceptions to registration limits may be granted by the Dean of the PSD on petition of the relevant department chair or program director, subject to approval of the Provost. Requests for exceptions should be submitted to the PSD Dean of Students. Such requests should ordinarily be made at least two quarters before the registration limit (e.g., seventh or ninth year) or at least two quarters before the end of any time extension that may already have been approved. Factors that will be taken into account in deciding whether to grant the exception include, but are not limited to: 

  • Whether the student has entered PhD candidacy;
  • The extent to which circumstances outside the student’s control have contributed to delayed progress toward the PhD;
  • Whether the exception is being sought in connection with an accommodation granted by the Student Disabilities Services Office;
  • whether the student, along with the advisor and department chair or program director, has developed a reasonable plan, including clear, achievable milestones, for finishing in a timely manner.
  • Exceptions typically will be for no more than one year at a time.