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Research Degree Policies

GCAC-610 Time Limitation - Research Doctorate

Purpose: to set the maximum time limit for students pursuing a research doctorate (Ph.D.).

Academic Goal: to assure that doctoral students complete their degree in a timely manner.

Scope: all students in a research doctoral program (Ph.D.).



Professional Doctoral Degree Program: an integrated program of study combined with understanding of research literature to support application of knowledge to practice at the highest level, culminating in a project, portfolio, or performance that demonstrates expertise in professional practice. Students successfully completing a professional doctoral degree program are awarded the appropriate doctoral degree; professional doctoral degrees at Penn State include D.Ed., D.M.A., D.N.P., and Dr.P.H.

Research Doctoral Degree Program: an integrated program of study combined with investigation of a significant problem, question, or issue in the discipline, culminating in the completion of an original scholarly contribution (in the form of a dissertation) that expands the frontiers of knowledge. Students successfully completing a research doctoral degree program are awarded Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree.

Policy Statement

  1. A Ph.D. student is required to complete the program, including acceptance of the doctoral dissertation, within eight years after the date of successful completion of the qualifying examination.
  2. Individual graduate programs may set shorter time limits.
  3. Extensions may be granted by the director of Graduate Enrollment Services in appropriate circumstances.

Revision History

Adapted from Graduate Bulletin: July 2018

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