Students are expected to remain full time in the program until completing their dissertation. This is enforced by the following rules:
- Until you pass your qualifying examination, you must take at least 9 credits in degree courses each fall and spring semester. Exceptions can be made only by the program director. (Required English courses and other professional courses such as Teaching Training Seminars are not degree courses; they do not count towards the 72 hours required for the Ph.D. degree.)
- You may enroll for dissertation research only if you have passed the qualifying examination. If you are working on dissertation research before passing the qualifying examination, you should enroll in independent study. After you defend a dissertation proposal, you may apply to the program director to convert previous independent study to dissertation credit. The program director will approve such a request if he or she judges the independent study to be directly related to the topic of the dissertation.
- After passing your qualifying examination, you must register for at least 6 credits each fall and spring semester. This can be reduced only by permission of the program director. In the case of students who have already completed all 72 credits required for the degree, including the 18 credits of dissertation research, the director usually permits registration for only one credit per semester. The program office will provide students who are working full-time on their studies certification of their full-time status even if they are enrolling in a reduced number of credits; the INS generally accepts such certification even in the case where the student is taking only one credit per semester.
- However, if you are on official leave of absence or hold a dissertation fellowship from the Rutgers - Newark Graduate School, you may register "matriculation continued” for a relatively nominal fee.
- You may not remain in the program if you take employment requiring more than 15 hours work a week. Exceptions are considered by the program director only in two cases: (1) the student requests a leave of absence until the employment ends, and (2) the student provides a study plan, approved by the adviser and doctoral coordinator, that shows how they can continue their work without pause and complete it in a timely way. Exceptions of the second type are generally considered only when the dissertation is nearly complete.
- All students must take at least 36 credits in courses, including transfer credit but not including credit from independent study.