To record the progress of students toward the Ph.D., the University requires full-time continuous registration. Students complete Ph.D. program requirements as established by individual academic units, and program requirements vary by department or school, but the requirement for continuous registration applies across the University.
PhD students must be enrolled for at least 300 units, including the option of research or advanced study. The choice to enroll in specific courses is made in accordance with program requirements and students' scholarly needs, and PhD tuition associated with registration is a fixed sum that is not altered by enrollment in specific courses.
While registered, students may have access to student housing, library privileges, use of athletic facilities, eligibility for student health insurance and access to the services of the Student Health Service (SHS) and Student Counseling Service (SCS). If otherwise eligible to participate in federal student loan programs, registered students have the ability to borrow under federal student loan programs and to defer repayment of past federal student loans.
Although some divisions and schools have shorter limits on registration, for most of the University’s doctoral programs, students who matriculated prior to summer 2016 may register for up to twelve years from the date of their matriculation, and students who matriculated in summer 2016 or beyond may register for up to nine years from the date of matriculation. Students in the Booth School of Business, the Humanities Division, the Physical Sciences Division, and the School of Social Service Administration should consult their deans of students or field-specific student manuals for information about shorter limits on registration.
- Leaves of absence may extend a student's eligibility to register beyond the time limits for students who matriculated in summer 2016 or beyond (see Leaves of Absence).
- To meet the full-time continuous registration requirement, students are required to be registered annually for at least three academic quarters (normally autumn, winter, and spring), and some programs require registration during the summer quarter as well.
- Students may still be allowed to graduate after reaching their divisional or school registration limit with departmental and divisional permission (see Time Limit Administrative Withdrawal). Satisfactory academic progress toward the doctorate, as determined by the specific programs, is required for continued registration. Academic programs may set a time limit on degree completion.
Doctoral candidates who submit their approved dissertation by Friday of the first week of a quarter and apply to graduate in that quarter are not required to register as students in that quarter. If not registered, students would not be required to pay tuition or fees associated with registration and would therefore not have access to the privileges associated with student status. All students should consult with their area dean of students and, as applicable, advisors in the Office of International Affairs, before making the decision of whether to register in this case. Some divisions and schools may have earlier deadlines or other requirements, and students are required to follow divisional/school guidelines in those cases.
Students with questions about continuous registration requirements, time limits on registration eligibility, dissertation deposit timelines, and the impact of leaves of absence on registration time limits should consult with their area dean of students.