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Scary News

Tuesday, March 06, 2007
So I've been making very good progress on my dissertation lately, and I'm close to beginning data analysis. The hard part of my project is the data collection, and with that almost completed, I was feeling pretty good.

Then I was told by the departmental secretary that PhD candidates have 5 years after they finish comps to graduate. I passed comps in April of 2002. This was not good news. I'm a pretty smart guy, but even I can't write and defend a dissertation in a month.

Now why has it taken so long for me to finish? Life gets in the way, and money has been a big problem until recently. But to lose the chance to get my PhD after so much work would be heartbreaking. I was told that it is possible to get an extension, but I don't know how difficult that process is. The worst case scenario would be that I would have to take my prelims all over again - a pretty gruesome prospect.

I really hope this doesn't turn out as badly as it could. I feel guilty about taking so long as it is. To sink so much time and effort into something with no result is just too awful to imagine.
Posted by Arbitrista @ 8:07 AM
  • I would try the extension route first. They have to have dealt with this kind of circumstance in the past.

    I hope everything works out.

    By Blogger Seeking Solace, at 9:32 AM  
  • Oh my god, that really is scary. I'll bet it's not that difficult to get an extension--and you should definitely look into that before panicking! Like Seeking Solace said, I'm sure they've had other students in your position. Good luck, and let us know how it works out!

    By Blogger luckybuzz, at 10:27 AM  
  • What the other two commenters said. At my university, I think there are some bureaucratic hoops to jump through - you might have to present a revised diss proposal to the department or something like that, just to show you're still working - but they've definitely granted extensions in the past.

    By Blogger kermitthefrog, at 10:37 AM  
  • Thanks guys. I'm working on the letter begging them to give me another year right now. Whatever it takes!

    By Blogger Arbitrista (formerly Publius), at 11:46 AM  
  • I think typically if the department/advisor support the extension, the university (grad college) will. That said, I totally get how scary it is. Trust me.

    By Blogger shrinkykitten, at 12:40 PM  
  • Oh, that sucks. Not that there's any reason to think there's similarity between the USA and Australian systems, but over here, an extension is pretty much a formality, as long as your advisor is okay with it. And everyone I know who has applied has been granted it without question (in fact, I don't know anyone who hasn't needed one, applied, and received it). But we have a four year limit, so I guess applications for extensions are maybe more common here.

    By Blogger StyleyGeek, at 7:34 PM  
  • Since you can show progress, I hope it will be a formality.

    By Blogger Inside the Philosophy Factory, at 12:15 AM  
  • This sounds way scary! Please keep us posted!

    By Blogger BrightStar, at 9:59 AM  
  • Oh no!!!

    By Blogger comebacknikki, at 4:57 PM  
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