Ph.D. Program Milestones

There are four milestones in the Ph.D. program:

Additional Notes

Registration Requirements

(From the Office of Graduate Affairs’ web pages): University policy requires that post-master’s students register for at least 3 credits in the term in which they take their Candidacy Exam. Those who successfully pass their Candidacy Exam and become Ph.D. candidates must register for at least 1 credit for at least 3 terms each academic year until they complete their degrees (at this point, students usually register for research or dissertation credits).

If Ph.D. candidates are not working on campus, taking courses, or otherwise using campus facilities during the summer, they do not need to register for summer term.

Annual Review


Deadlines and Time Limits

University policy provides that students who enter graduate study at the master’s or post-baccalaureate level must complete their studies for the their graduate degrees within seven years after initial graduate registration. Those who enter at the post-master’s level are permitted five years after initial registration to complete the Ph.D. degree.

The Department of Computer Science imposes two additional time limitations on Ph.D. students after they pass the Qualifying Exam. They must advance to candidacy by taking both Written and Oral Examinations no later than one year after passing the Qualifying Exam and passing it no later than one and a half years after passing the Qualifying Exam. Secondly, the Thesis Proposal must be completed within two years after becoming a Ph.D Candidate. Of course, a student may proceed more rapidly than the deadlines require.

In unusual circumstances, a student who finds that these time requirements are inadequate due to special circumstances must discuss this with his or her research advisor. Together they may request an extension to any of these time limits. A revised plan of study along with a timeline for completion must accompany the request. All requests must be approved by the department Graduate Advisor and exceptions to University requirements must by approved by the Office of Graduate Studies.

As described here, the time limit is ten years. This means that Drexel courses taken more than ten years ago cannot be counted towards satisfying degree requirements.

Graduation Procedures

The description of the procedures can be found at the Student Resource Center site. In addition to filing the Application for Degree Form with SRC by the designated deadline, doctoral students must file several forms with the Office of Graduate Studies having to do with the thesis examination committee, the oral defense, and the completion of the degree. Students wishing to complete their degree in a certain quarter should take into account that typically it takes several weeks after the oral defense to do the things that are necessary for final approval. The final forms must be submitted no later than the first day of final exam week.