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Time Limitation - Professional Doctorate



To set the maximum time limit for students pursuing a professional doctorate.


Academic Goal

To assure that professional doctoral students complete their degree in a timely manner.



All students in a professional doctoral program.

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 doctoral student is required to complete the program, including acceptance of the professional doctoral culminating experience, within eight years after the date of successful completion of the qualifying examination, not including approved leaves of absence as outlined in GSAD-906.
  2. Individual graduate programs may set shorter time limits.

Further Information

Extensions to Time Limits for Doctoral Students due to COVID-19

Revision History

  • Approved by Graduate Council, Dec. 16, 2020. Effective date: Fall 2021 (08/16/2021).
    • New policy.
This page was generated on December 4, 2023 at 7:24 AM local time. This may not be the most recent version of this page. Check the Penn State Graduate School website for updates.