GSAS Ph.D. Dissertation Guidelines

For updated policy changes for remote learning please consult the Thesis and Dissertation Guidelines page.

All requirements for the doctoral degree must be completed within eight years of the first semester of matriculation in the graduate school for those students who enter with a master’s degree from another institution, or within ten years of the first semester of matriculation for those students who are direct doctoral students (students who receive a master’s degree in curso from Fordham) or who complete a master’s degree from Fordham and then continue directly into a doctoral program. Time limit requirements apply to both full and part time students. 

The requirements for doctoral students are typically as follows: 

  1. Completion of the appropriate number of graduate credits (see §7.1 in the GSAS Academic Policies and Procedure Guidebook.)
  2. A language and/or research skills requirement (see §7.5 in the GSAS Academic Policies and Procedures Guidebook).
  3. Comprehensive examination (see §7.6 in the GSAS Academic Policies and Procedures Guidebook).
  4. Dissertation proposal acceptance.
  5. Doctoral dissertation.
  6. Oral dissertation defense.
  7. Presentation of the dissertation to the dean

Individual departments and programs may impose additional requirements.

Students who wish for an extension to the doctoral time limit must apply before the conclusion of their final academic year. Such a request must be directed in writing through the department chairperson or program director, must be approved by the dissertation mentor, readers, and the department chairperson and must receive the written approval of the dean. An extension to the time limit for degree completion will be granted only if, in the dean’s judgment, there is sufficient evidence that the degree will be completed expeditiously and that the dissertation will be of high merit. 

Extensions beyond the time limit will not be granted to students who have not secured approval of a dissertation topic prior to the expiration of the time limit or who have otherwise not made substantial academic progress toward completion of the degree, except with the permission of the dean. 

Requests for an extension of the doctoral time limit must include: 

  • A sufficient portion of the dissertation to permit an objective evaluation of the quality of the student’s work. In the humanities, a reasonable portion is one-half of the dissertation; in the sciences, research through the stage of data collection should be presented.
  • A timetable for the completion of the remaining portions of the dissertation. 
  • A plan for renewed demonstration of language and/or research skills competency (if needed for dissertation research) if more than five years have elapsed since the original completion of these requirements.
  • A plan to demonstrate currency of knowledge for any courses taken prior to the request for extension, and departments may require that they retake certain courses.
  • A timetable for retaking and passing the doctoral comprehensive examinations in the department’s or program’s current format if more than five years have elapsed since any portion of the comprehensive examination was completed.