The Graduate School considers progress to be minimally satisfactory when progress is such that a student completes the MA degree within two years of registration, the MA/MPhil degrees (including the prospectus defense if relevant) within four years of registration, and the MA/MPhil/PhD within nine years of registration. Students who receive credit for an MA completed elsewhere, and/or with two Residence Units of advanced standing, must complete the MPhil within three years, and the PhD within eight years of registration.
Students must also maintain a minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.0. The cumulative GPA is derived from all courses in which a student has registered and received a grade. Students may not hold more than one mark of Incomplete at a time.
Continuous registration is required of all doctoral degree candidates in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. Exceptions are made for students on approved Leaves of Absence, which stop the clock on time-to-degree requirements and multi-year fellowship packages. For more information, see the Leaves of Absence page.
(Note: The rule commonly called the Seven-Year Rule refers to the maximum number of years PhD students are eligible for GSAS financial support.)
To receive the en-route MA, the student must apply for the MA degree with the Registrar. To receive the MPhil, the student must submit an application for the MPhil degree to the DGS, who then submits it to GSAS. For information about receiving the PhD, click here.
Assessment of Progress
The satisfactory progress of doctoral students is assessed annually on the basis of academic performance, including the timely completion of all language examinations and all certifying and comprehensive examinations and thesis requirements, grades, and performance in any required teaching or research apprenticeships.
In addition, each year post-MPhil students and students in their eighth semester who are required to complete the MPhil by the end of the semester must submit the Report on Progress in Candidacy online through SSOL. The dissertation sponsor reviews the student’s report, determines whether or not the student is making satisfactory progress, and reports this evaluation of progress annually to the GSAS Dean’s Office via SSOL. Students have access to the online report from mid-January through mid-March, and faculty have access until mid-April; specific deadlines can be found on SSOL.