Students receiving assistantships are generally expected to complete the M.A. in two years (at the most), complete further course work and examinations in four years, and finish the dissertation in the fifth or sixth year. These are general guidelines. Even under exceptionally favorable conditions, special circumstances often require that more time be taken to complete the Ph.D. For example, students may a) be delayed getting an M.A. thesis or Ph.D. dissertation started (i.e., obtaining permission to work in a given setting, computer difficulties, etc.); b) need extra time in order to gain teaching experience; c) have opportunities to prepare papers for presentation at sociological association meetings or for publication or to follow out other research or teaching interests.
Official Graduate School policy stipulates that all work for the M.A. must be completed within six years from matriculation. The Ph.D. must be completed within eight years of the beginning of doctoral study, unless the student entered with a Master's degree in the same field, in which case the doctorate must be completed within seven years. The beginning of doctoral study is defined as the beginning date of the earliest course applied to the doctoral record. The student must be advanced to candidacy within five years of the beginning of doctoral study, or within four years if the student entered with a Master's degree in the same field.
Unless there are special circumstances, the Graduate School withdraws financial aid from students who have not completed their M.A. by the beginning of the third year of graduate study.
In this connection, the problem of incomplete grades should be mentioned. Official regulations allow graduate students a full semester in which to complete a course in which they have received such a grade. The student should be aware, however, that any incompletes do become a permanent part of the academic record, and that frequent use of incomplete grades jeopardizes continued financial support.
Full-time students are expected to take three courses each semester (plus SOC 900 in the first year of their graduate studies). Thus a student would complete the course work for the M.A. in one year, and have the summer and, if necessary, a third semester to develop the thesis. The Ph.D. course work might then be completed in two more years.
Several qualifications to this design must be noted. As indicated elsewhere, Dissertation and Summer Fellowships, and outside sources, may provide supplementary support. The department often hires experienced ABD's (students who have completed all the requirements of the Ph.D. except the dissertation) to teach courses. At the same time, note well that it is assumed that the taking of preliminary examinations and teaching/research requirements have been worked into the regular program of the student.
Students are required to complete an annual report on their progress at the end of the academic year. Guidelines for the report are available in the Department office. It is to be submitted to the Chair of the Graduate Committee and then will be circulated to the student's advisor for signature. In this way the progress of the student in meeting the program requirements can be monitored. Graduate student teachers are required to submit, in addition to the annual report, a teaching portfolio that includes a statement of teaching philosophy, copies of course syllabi, exams, and other teaching materials (i.e., handouts, term paper requirements).