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Degree Requirements

Requirements for the Master of Arts and Master of Science

The Graduate Center offers master’s degrees in Astrophysics, Biography and Memoir, Classics, Cognitive Science, Comparative Literature, Data Science, Digital Humanities, Data Analysis and Visualization, International Migration Studies, Liberal Studies, Linguistics, Middle Eastern Studies, Nanoscience, Philosophy, Political Science, Quantitative Methods in the Social Sciences, and Women’s and Gender Studies. See the appropriate program listing in this bulletin for specific requirements. The Graduate Center also offers en-route M.A.s to students enrolled in some Ph.D. programs. See the listing on the website at

Requirements for the Doctor of Philosophy

The degree of Doctor of Philosophy is awarded for mastery of subject matter and demonstration of research ability. It is given in recognition of the candidate’s superior attainments and ability in his or her major field. A student must maintain high academic standards to retain matriculated status in a doctoral program. Normally three or more years of full-time study and research beyond the bachelor’s degree are needed to complete a doctoral program. See the section on time limits for degree. The requirements for the Ph.D. vary from program to program. For the requirements for the Doctor of Musical Arts (D.M.A.), and the Doctor of Audiology (Au.D.), see the program listing in a later section of this bulletin. Listed below are general University Ph.D. requirements; special requirements are indicated under the specific program listings.

Residency At least 30 of the credits required for the degree must be taken in residence at the City University. Doctoral students are expected to spend at least one year as full-time students at the City University. Full-time consists of a schedule of no fewer than 7 credits or the equivalent for each of two consecutive semesters.

Credits At least 60 credits of approved graduate work, including the course requirements in the field of specialization, are required for the degree. Specific credit requirements vary and should be discussed with the Executive Officer of the individual program.

First Examination Each student must pass a First Examination in his or her field. De- pending on individual doctoral program procedures, the examination shall be oral and/or written and may be administered within a narrow time period or may be administered in parts over a more extended time period. A student may continue in the doctoral program after completing 45 credits only if he or she has passed this examination.

Foreign Languages In any discipline in which research depends significantly on direct access to materials in a language other than English, students are required to demonstrate a working knowledge of at least one foreign language relevant to the conduct of research in that discipline. See paragraphs below on the CUNY Graduate Center Language Reading Program and the Latin/Greek Institute.

Tools of Research Each program may require its students to qualify in such tool subjects (computer languages, statistics, etc.) as are necessary to conduct research in its field.

Second Examination A student must pass a Second Examination within ten (10) registered semesters of enrollment in a doctoral program. The Second Examination shall be of at least two hours’ duration and is usually taken after the completion of course requirements. A student may be admitted to the Second Examination only upon recommendation of a sponsor.

Advancement to Candidacy Before a student can be certified as a candidate for a doctoral degree (advancement to Level III of the process of earning the doctoral degree), the student must have completed the following requirements: all required course work (of which at least 30 credits must be taken at the City University) with at least an overall B average; any language requirements; the First and Second Examinations; and any special program requirements for certification.

Human Subjects Compliance The Graduate Center has an ethical and legal commitment to protect human subjects in research. All such research, whether for the dissertation or for other purposes, must be reviewed and approved by the CUNY HRPP (Human Research Protection Program) prior to its initiation. This includes interviews, observations, questionnaires, use of previously collected data with identifiers, and any other methods by which data are obtained from human sub- jects. Student researchers who are conducting research with human subjects must complete the Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) human subjects training, as must their advisors.

Important Information for Student Principal Investigators (P.I.s) Concerning Internal Review Board (IRB) Submissions: CUNY graduate students must submit their research protocols involving human subjects research to the HRPP Office at the CUNY College with which their faculty advisor has his/her primary affiliation. This applies to new and open protocols. Thus, any P.I. with an open IRB protocol must submit continuing review applications, amendments, and/or closure forms to the advisor’s primary campus irrespective of where he/she submitted the original application.

Dissertation The student must complete a dissertation that embodies original research. The dissertation must be successfully defended at an oral final examination and be deposited with The Graduate Center’s library before the degree is granted. To defend the dissertation, the student must have been advanced to candidacy. The dissertation must be submitted to ProQuest and The Graduate Center’s institutional repository for publication and archiving. Instructions for preparing and depositing the dissertation appear on The Graduate Center library’s website.

The preparation of a dissertation and its defense form the final evaluation of a candidate’s qualification for the doctoral degree within the academic program. Approval by the pro- gram is typically confirmed by action of the Graduate Council and the City University’s Board of Trustees. Dissertation committees consist of at least three members of the CUNY doctoral faculty and are approved according to procedures detailed in the governance document of each program. The program will announce to the Provost and, by posting and/or other means, to the general public and the members of the committee the time and the date of the defense.

Time Limit for Degrees: Doctoral Degree All requirements for the degree must be completed no later than eight years after matriculation. A student who matriculates after the completion of 30 credits of acceptable work must complete all requirements within seven years. Master’s Degree. All requirements for the degree must be completed no later than four years after matriculation.

Satisfactory Academic Progress Students must be making satisfactory progress toward the degree in order to maintain status at The Graduate Center and to be eligible for any student financial assistance. A student is deemed not to be making satisfactory progress if he or she has a grade point average below 3.00, has accumulated more than two open grades, has completed 45 credits without having passed the First Examination, has completed 10 semesters without having passed the Second Examination, has received two “NRP” grades in succession, or has exceeded the time limit for the degree.

The Graduate Center reviews each student’s record every semester. If formal standards have not been met, a student may register (and receive financial aid, if otherwise eligible) only upon petition of the student’s Executive Officer to the Vice President for Student Affairs. Stu- dents whose petitions are approved are considered to be making satisfactory progress toward the degree and are eligible to receive financial aid.

Teaching, Research, or Fieldwork Teaching, research, or fieldwork is required as part of the student’s training toward the degree.

Special Requirements Additional requirements or variations may be specified in the individual programs.

Waiver of Requirements To waive any specific requirement for the degree, a student may petition the Associate Provost and Dean for Humanities and Social Sciences or the Associate Provost and Dean for Sciences.