Graduate Studies

College of Fine Arts Graduate Funding and Time to Degree Policy

The College of Fine Arts strives to matriculate outstanding doctoral (Ph.D, DMA) and terminal masters degree (MFA) students and provide them with the training, experience and support necessary for successful completion of their respective degrees and placement in academic and other training-related jobs upon graduation.

As higher education in general comes under increasing scrutiny for its ability to deliver quality education within a reasonable time frame, issues of time to degree and level of support for graduate education naturally draw focus. Graduate student support takes the form of scholarships, fellowships, external grants and work appointments as Teaching Assistants, Assistant Instructors and Graduate Research Assistants.

The College of Fine Arts, responsive to the issues of support and sensitive to the corollary dynamic surrounding student debt, monitors graduate student enrollment and overall program populations, encourages multi-year support offers as part of recruitment, and calculates average time to degree of all programs, particularly relative to per-student average levels of funding support.

It is the general expectation that graduate students maintain full-time status for the full duration of their study, remain in residence while completing their respective degrees, and include summers in their program of work when appropriate. All forms of support will be contingent upon progress toward the degree as reflected in meeting the milestones for doctoral programs as well as program timelines established for terminal master’s degrees.

We expect our departments to have doctoral students enter candidacy at some point during their third year but no later than the fourth year in the program. In general, the College expects students to complete their PhD or DMA no later than three years after having entered candidacy. Most terminal degree MFA candidates complete their programs in three years; some programs have now engineered completion to occur in two years linked by summer study.

While we will continue to consider individual exceptions, the general intent of the College is not to approve financial support for all doctoral students beyond their seventh year in the program as of 2015-16, and beyond their sixth year in the program as of 2016-17. By 2018, all entering and current doctoral students should work with a clear expectation of no more than six years of College funding. MFA students should expect no College funding beyond the milestone determined by their program.