The first year of study is typically devoted to coursework and preparation for the comprehensive examinations. The second year combines comprehensive examinations and work on a dissertation proposal. The third and subsequent years are devoted to dissertation research and writing. It is a requirement of the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (G&PS) that doctoral students be advanced to candidacy no later than before commencing the fourth year of study in the program.
Full-time Ph.D. students are required to have completed their program within six years of registration. Students are normally required to spend at least one winter session (Sep – Apr) at UBC, although it is strongly advisable for students to remain in close, regular contact with their advisory committee, fellow students and the university community throughout their studies. Students may request from G&PS a year of leave for reasons of health or personal crisis. This year will not be counted towards the six-year time limit. Parental leave is available upon request. Extensions beyond the time limit are not normally granted, and in those cases where an extension is considered, evidence of a nearly completed dissertation is required. All course requirements and comprehensive examinations should be completed prior to registration for a fourth year of Ph.D. study.
If the time in a degree program has expired, the student must apply for “readmission” rather than reinstatement. Upon readmission, the student may receive up to 12 credits toward the degree at the department’s recommendation. In exceptional instances the department can recommend “reinstatement”. Reinstatement implies that the student never left the program and that tuition fees must be paid for the time away.