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Doctoral Policies

Doctoral Studies

Policies for PhD and EdD Students


Matriculation is defined as official enrollment for study leading to a degree.

After you have been formally admitted into a doctoral program, you will receive notification from the Graduate Admissions Office. For information regarding application deadlines and procedures, please contact the Office of Graduate Admissions at 212-998-5030.

Doctoral students are required to maintain a minimum grade point average of 3.0.

A student is not permitted to be matriculated for more than one degree at a time.

Maintaining Matriculation

All doctoral students must maintain matriculation, either by registering for credit-bearing course work or enrolling in MAINT-GE 4747 Maintenance of Matriculation each semester, exclusive of summers.

Reinstatement of Matriculation

If you fail to maintain continuous matriculation and allow your matriculation to lapse, you may request reinstatement. All requests for reinstatement must be approved by the academic department, as indicated on the required form (download on the Forms and Checklists page), and are contingent upon satisfactory progress toward completion of the degree and payment of the Maintenance of Matriculation fee, retroactively, for any and all semesters when you were not registered for course work (exclusive of summers). Students should note that reinstatement approvals are not automatic and such requests may be denied at the discretion of the department.

Time to Degree and Extension of Matriculation

Students are expected to follow program guidelines for time to degree completion in order to make satisfactory academic progress. In most cases, PhD students are expected to complete the degree within six years, and EdD students are expected to complete the degree within three to five years depending on the program. Consult your department or program website for specific information on timing of milestones and expectations for time to degree.

In all cases, doctoral matriculation expires no more than eight years from the date of matriculation for full-time students, and no more than 10 years from the date of matriculation for part-time students. Again, these are school-wide maximums and do not typically demonstrate satisfactory academic progress.

In the event you are unable to complete the degree within the maximum matriculation period, your matriculation is automatically terminated without notice. If your program has an established maximum time to degree that is less than eight years and you do not complete the degree within that time period, matriculation may be terminated due to lack of satisfactory academic progress.

If extraordinary circumstances prevent you from completing the degree within the matriculation period, you may request an extension of matriculation.

The following policies apply to extending doctoral matriculation beyond eight years (or 10 years for part-time students:

  • An extension of matriculation must be requested in writing prior to the end of the eight-year matriculation period. The form to request an extension is available from the Office of Doctoral Studies, Pless Hall, 2nd Floor.
  • All requests for extension require the approval of the student's dissertation committee chairperson and the chairperson of the department as indicated on the above-mentioned form. Extension requests are also subject to the approval of the Vice Dean for Academic Affairs.
  • Students should also be aware that extensions are approved only if the student is making adequate progress toward the completion of the degree. For example, if by the end of the matriculation period, the student does not have an approved dissertation proposal, it is unlikely that an extension will be approved.
  • No request for extension will be considered if the student has not been admitted to degree candidacy and does not have an approved dissertation committee prior to the end of the matriculation period.
  • All requests for extension must be accompanied by a statement explaining the reasons for the inability to complete the degree within the matriculation period, a student copy of the transcript, a detailed description of remaining work, and a proposed timetable for the completion of that work including a projected date of graduation. This timetable must be considered reasonable by the dissertation committee and must include ample time for review of dissertation drafts prior to the dissertation filing deadline.
  • Course work must represent a currency of knowledge in the student’s field at the time of graduation; therefore, any course completed more than 10 years prior to the anticipated date of graduation, or any course completed within 10 years with substantive changes in content, must be evaluated by the appropriate department chairperson. Any course not considered current in content must be repeated or an appropriate substitution must be completed.

The above-mentioned requirements are in addition to any eligibility requirements mandated by a student's department, program, or dissertation committee chairperson. Some programs do not approve extensions at all or restrict them to less than one year. Students are advised to discuss this matter with their program faculty well in advance of the expiration of matriculation.

Termination of Matriculation/Degree Candidacy

A member of the faculty or dissertation committee may at any time recommend the termination of a student's matriculation (or degree candidacy) to the Dean's Office, provided that such recommendation is accompanied by substantiating evidence.

Reasons for recommending termination of matriculation include, but are not restricted to, poor academic performance, academic misconduct (including plagiarism), and lack of satisfactory progress toward completion of degree requirements.

Matriculation is automatically terminated under the following circumstances:

  • Expiration of the matriculation period without an approved extension
  • Two outcomes of fail on the departmental candidacy examination
  • Two outcomes of fail on the final oral examination

Doctoral Leave of Absence

If you do not wish to attend NYU Steinhardt for one semester or for an academic year, you may request an official leave of absence for up to two semesters during your course of study. A leave of absence requires the approval of your adviser and your department chairperson. You must adhere to all terms and conditions for a leave of absence and your return from this absence as described in this form.

If you are seeking a leave of absence for a medical condition, you must provide appropriate documentation from an attending health care professional.

NYU Steinhardt does not grant leaves after the third week of the semester unless you have compelling personal or medical reasons. Any refund or cancellation of billing will follow the University schedule for refunds. If NYU Steinhardt grants you a leave of absence, you do not have to make a formal application for readmission or reinstatement of matriculation. However, you must return to the school within the agreed-upon time, which is a maximum of two semesters. While you are on leave you are responsible for all deadlines (e.g. financial aid, housing). When returning from a leave of absence, contact your adviser for advisement and registration.

A leave of absence from New York University precludes you from taking courses at another academic institution without prior approval from your academic program, department, or school. Matriculation in another degree program while on leave will result in automatic termination of your NYU Steinhardt matriculation. You should understand some NYU services (computers, libraries, sports center, etc.) may not be available to you, and you will not be eligible for full-time or half-time equivalency during the period of your leave.

Adviser's Approval

Advisers should review this request with you to determine whether or not you will be able to complete your program within the prescribed time limits. A leave of absence does not extend the maximum eight-year (or ten-year for students who entered part-time) matriculation period. If you receive approval to take time off beyond the two semesters of a leave of absence, you must register for MAINT GE 4747 Maintenance of Matriculation. You must also inform your academic program, department or school at least six weeks prior to the registration period for the semester of your return. You should be aware that your leave may affect your ability to pre-register for the semester in which you return.

Funding/Financial Aid/Student Loans

If you are currently funded as a Steinhardt Fellow during either fellowship years or scholarship years, or if you are receiving any other type of internal funding, you must have written permission from both your department chair and from the Office of Doctoral Studies to defer your funding during your leave. If you are externally funded, you must have written confirmation from the funding agency clearly stating that funding will be reinstated upon your return. This confirmation must be submitted to your department chairperson and to the Office of Doctoral Studies.

You must meet all financial aid deadlines for the semester in which you plan to return to the University. If you take a leave of absence you may be required to immediately repay financial aid for the semester(s) you are on leave. You must notify the Office of Financial aid in writing of your leave of absence or termination of matriculation. For further information contact the Office of Financial Aid, 25 West 4th Street, 212-998-4444. A leave of absence or termination of matriculation does not exempt you from student loan repayment.

Student Health Insurance

You may be eligible for continued enrollment and/or coverage in the Student Health Insurance Basic Plan or the Graduate Student Health Insurance Plan (GSHIP) during an official Leave of Absence if you were enrolled in the plan during the previous semester. Please contact NYU Student Health Insurance Services at 212-443-1020 or for more information about the semester deadlines and the online enrollment process.

International Students

If you are an international student holding an F1 or J1 visa, a leave of absence will affect your visa status.  You must contact the Office Global Services, 561 LaGuardia Place, 212-998-4720, to review the status and requirements pertaining to your matriculation while on leave from the University. You are not eligible for full-time equivalency status while on leave.

School-wide Course Requirements

Most programs have established or are in the process of establishing requirements to replace the general course requirements outlined below. Check with your program adviser to determine the appropriate requirements for your degree program. In all cases, Steinhardt’s minimum residence requirement must be fulfilled in addition to specific program requirements.

Unless otherwise specified by your program (see note above), the following 36 credits in the areas indicated are required of Steinhardt PhD students and are in addition to the specialization course work required by the specific academic program (the total number of credits is determined by advisement within program guidelines). As is the case with all course work, the courses listed below must be completed according to the recommendation of the student's academic adviser. 

Foundations (6 credits)

Graduate courses qualify for the foundations requirement when they are upper-division courses (NYU Steinhardt GE level courses or their equivalent in other schools) and designed to broaden students’ access to knowledge outside of the areas of specialization. To this end, courses are considered foundational when they: (1) provide broad basic content, not limited to a single profession, and are outside the student’s specialization, and do not require prerequisites; (2) are based on current scholarship in the arts, humanities, sciences and/or social sciences; and (3) have wide applicability to common issues of the student’s specialization and profession.

Cognate Study (6 credits)

Cognate courses are electives closely related to and supportive of the student's area of specialization. This course work must be taken outside of the student's program.

Departmental Seminar (3 credits)

Seminars are typically offered by each program or department and concentrate on research and theoretical issues related to the program's specialization.

Research Electives (15 credits)

Research electives are courses specifically addressed to preparing you to design and conduct your research. These courses may include:

  • a foundations of research or survey of research methods course offered by the program, department, or School;
  • courses identified as prerequisites for the course used to fulfill the student's specialized research methodology course requirement;
  • a second semester of departmental seminar focusing on research topics in the field of specialization;
  • advanced courses in the areas of research design, data analysis, tests and measurement, and the prerequisites for those courses;
  • additional cognate courses specifically relevant to the dissertation research;
  • courses designed to provide you with support while conducting field-based qualitative research for the dissertation;
  • courses designed to provide you with reading knowledge of modern foreign languages;
  • a second semester of dissertation proposal seminar;
  • courses designed to provide you with the other skills required to conduct and evaluate research, e.g., statistics.

Research courses are taken to acquaint doctoral students with formal research methods and practices and, in particular, to prepare you for dissertation research. Advanced specialized research courses should be taken after *candidacy has been achieved and, preferably, as the dissertation proposal is being shaped, to ensure that selections are relevant to the dissertation.

*Note: this applies to those programs that have candidacy examinations early in the program and not to programs that have candidacy requirements closer to the dissertation proposal stage.

Specialized Research Methodology (3 credits)

Specialized methods of research courses include RESCH-GE 2135 Historical Research; RESCH-GE 2139 Survey and Correlation Research; RESCH-GE 2134 Experimental and Quasi-Experimental Design and Analysis; APSY-GE 2074 Research Design & Methodology in Behavioral Sciences; RESCH-GE 2141 Qualitative Field Research (note: RESCH-GE 2140 is the required prerequisite to RESCH-GE 2141), etc. The current NYU Steinhardt Graduate Bulletin lists all courses in specialized methods of research along with their course descriptions.

Dissertation Proposal Seminar (3 credits)

The dissertation proposal seminar course will assist you in preparing your proposal. In some cases, this course may be offered by the academic department, in others, the academic adviser will recommend that the student register for one of the interdepartmental proposal seminars. The NYU Steinhardt faculty recommends that you register for dissertation proposal seminar only after your dissertation committee chairperson has been officially appointed (see Appointment of a Dissertation Committee on the Proposal and Dissertation page).

Substitutions and Exemptions

Course substitutions for any of the above requirements must be approved by the academic adviser, the department chairperson, and are subject to the approval of the Vice Dean for Academic Affairs.

Transfer credit is not granted at the doctoral level. Appropriate course work, however, may be presented for exemption from specific course requirements. Exemptions from course requirements (based on course work completed at another university) must be approved by the academic adviser and are subject to the approval of the Vice Dean for Academic Affairs. Course work presented for exemption must have been completed at an accredited institution within 10 years of the student's matriculation date, and may not have been applied to another degree. The course work must also have been completed with a grade of A, B, or Pass.

Minimum Residence Requirement

PhD and EdD students must complete a minimum of 36 credits in residence beyond the master's degree which must be on the graduate level. Undergraduate courses may not be counted as credit toward a doctoral degree.

With the approval of the academic adviser, appropriate graduate level course work completed at New York University prior to official matriculation (as a non-degree graduate student or taken in excess of a Master’s degree) may be counted toward the residence requirement. Please note that no more than 18 credits completed prior to matriculation may be used.


Below is information on plagiarism excerpted from Steinhardt’s Statement on Academic Integrity. Additional information on academic integrity, avoiding academic dishonesty, and disciplinary sanctions can be found by reading the full statement. 

Plagiarism, one of the gravest forms of academic dishonesty in university life, whether intended or not, is academic fraud. In a community of scholars, whose members are teaching, learning and discovering knowledge, plagiarism cannot be tolerated.

Plagiarism is failure to properly assign authorship to a paper, a document, an oral presentation, a musical score and/or other materials, which are not your original work. You plagiarize when, without proper attribution, you do any of the following:

  • Copy verbatim from a book, an article or other media
  • Download documents from the Internet
  • Purchase documents
  • Report from other’s oral work
  • Paraphrase or restate someone else’s facts, analysis and/or conclusions
  • Copy directly from a classmate or allow a classmate to copy from you

Your professors are responsible for helping you to understand other people’s ideas, to use resources and conscientiously acknowledge them, and to develop and clarify your own thinking. You should know what constitutes good and honest scholarship, style guide preferences, and formats for assignments for each of your courses. Consult your professors for help with problems related to fulfilling course assignments, including questions related to attribution of sources.

Pass/Fail Option

Students have the option of taking courses on a pass/fail basis. The maximum of such courses is determined by the program and/or the academic adviser, but may not exceed 25 percent of the student's total program (and may not exceed 25 percent of the specialization requirement).

Pass/fail option forms may be obtained from NYU Steinhardt's Office of Registration Services (82 Washington Square East, 2nd Floor) and must be filed in the Office of the University Registrar (25 West 4th Street) prior to the end of the fifth week of the semester for Fall and Spring semester courses. For courses taken during the Summer semester, pass/fail option forms must be filed prior to the fifth meeting of the course. All pass/fail option forms must be signed by the academic adviser before they are filed with the Office of the University Registrar. The decision to utilize the pass/fail option cannot be changed after the pass/fail option form has been filed (a letter grade will not be recorded).

Full- and Half-Time Equivalency Status

A student is considered full-time by the University when registered each semester for a minimum of 9 credits of course work, and half-time when registered for 6 credits, however, most Steinhardt doctoral students are expected to register for 12 credits (or equivalent) in order to be considered full-time. 

When registered for fewer than 12 credits, eligible students may apply for equivalency if they must maintain full- or half-time status as a condition of funding, to obtain student loans, defer repayment of student loans, or satisfy student visa requirements.

In order to be eligible for full-time equivalency status, you are expected to spend no less than 40 hours per week on a combination of course work and/or the relevant items which appear below; half-time students, a minimum of 20 hours per week.

  • Candidacy Examination (3 credits of equivalency - granted for one semester only): Three credits of equivalency may be granted during the semester in which you are completing the departmental candidacy examination and/or paper. The appropriate application for the examination must be filed with the Office of Doctoral Studies in order to be eligible for equivalency based on this category.
  • Required Internship (for Counseling Psychology students only): Students in the Counseling Psychology program should contact their academic program office for further information on the required internship.
  • Candidates working on the topic for the dissertation (3 credits of equivalency - granted for one semester only): This category may be used by students who have been admitted to degree candidacy, but have not yet officially appointed a dissertation committee chairperson.
  • Research Assistant (6 credits of equivalency): This category may be used only by students with official University appointments as research assistants working a minimum of 20 hours per week.
  • Candidates working on the dissertation proposal (maximum of two consecutive years including the respective summer sessions): Students who have officially appointed a dissertation committee chairperson may request up to full-time equivalency status while working on the dissertation proposal. The approval of the dissertation committee chairperson is required (as indicated by signature on the equivalency form) in order to be eligible for this category.
  • Supervised research on the dissertation: Students who have successfully completed the dissertation proposal review process may request up to full-time equivalency while working on the dissertation. The approval of the dissertation committee chairperson is required (as indicated by signature on the equivalency form) in order to be eligible for this category.

All requests for equivalency status must be approved by the academic adviser (or dissertation committee chairperson if required), as well as the Dean's representative in the Office of Doctoral Studies. No student's application for equivalency status will be considered unless that student is registered for credit-bearing course work or Maintenance of Matriculation.

Admission to Degree Candidacy

All doctoral students are required to satisfy a departmental candidacy requirement. Departments and programs use different methods for determining a student's eligibility for admission to degree candidacy, e.g., written tests, oral tests, research papers, performances, other creative work, etc., alone or in combination.

Consult your department or program office for specific information on the candidacy requirement for your program. You should also obtain information regarding examination scheduling and deadline dates from your department.

Please file an application for the doctoral candidacy examination with the Office of Doctoral Studies three to four weeks prior to the examination date established by the department.

Prerequisites to Application for Admission to Degree Candidacy

NYU Steinhardt policy requires that you meet the following two eligibility requirements prior to taking the candidacy examination:

  • You must be fully matriculated. This means that you have been accepted for matriculation and have registered for course work in the doctoral program.
  • You must be in good academic standing with a minimum 3.0 cumulative doctoral grade point average, and have no more than 12 credits on your transcript that are incomplete (IP, IF, or N).

Please note that the above-mentioned requirements are in addition to any prerequisite requirements or eligibility requirements required by your department and/or program.

The Outcome of the Candidacy Examination

The results of the candidacy examination are reported by the academic program or department to the Office of Doctoral Studies. That office will, in turn, officially notify you and the Office of the University Registrar by letter.

The candidacy examination may result in a pass, deferred pass with conditions, or a fail.

If the candidacy examination results in a deferred pass with conditions, you will be notified by the department or program of what is required in order to have the conditions removed. If the candidacy examination results in a fail outcome, matriculation is suspended and you must request permission (in writing) from the department to retake the examination. A second opportunity to sit for the examination may or may not be allowed, depending on program or departmental policy. If you pass the second candidacy examination, doctoral student status is restored.

Please note that NYU Steinhardt policy does not allow any doctoral student to take the candidacy examination more than twice. In the event that a student fails the candidacy examination a second time, matriculation in the doctoral program is automatically terminated.

Dissertation Policies and Guidelines