Physics & Astronomy Department
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Nashville, TN 37240-1807
Yes, there are time limits for the Ph.D. program and for the Master's program. According to the Graduate School Bulletin (2008/09 edition):
From these two statements one may conclude that there is an 8-year time limit for Ph.D. study at Vanderbilt. Most students will finish in five to seven years.
While RA stipends are up to individual professors, the Dean of the College of Arts & Science has imposed a 5-year time limit for TA support. Furthermore, all honor scholarships have time limits. See the “Financial Aid” Section of the Graduate Program Website.
Students whose grade point average (GPA) falls below 3.0 (i.e. below a B average) are placed on probation for one semester. If the student's performance does not improve during that semester, the Dean and Dept. Chair will decide whether to dismiss the student or continue the probation for another semester. If at the end of the second semester of probation the GPA is still below 3.0, the student is advised to withdraw or face dismissal. (Graduate School Bulletin, 2008/09 edition, p. 59.)
Students who earn a grade point average (GPA) of 2.0 or less during the first semester are subject to dismissal at the end of that semester. (Graduate School Bulletin, 2008/09 edition, p. 59.)
It is not possible to answer this question by only looking at the published Schedule of Courses for the Fall / Spring Semester. You must also consult the Graduate School Bulletin. If the course is listed here, it should counts towards graduate credit. Please contact the Director of Graduate Studies if you have any questions.
After the end of every semester you will receive a transcript of your academic record from the Graduate School. The transcript will state the grades you have earned and other vital information, including:
Only graduate courses with a B or better can be transferred . For a master's degree, a maximum of six hours may be transferred. For a Ph.D. degree, a maximum of 48 hours may be transferred. Grades earned on transfer credit WILL affect your VU Graduate School Grade Point Average (GPA), if courses transferred are to be counted as didactic hours. (Seminar and research work would NOT count as didactic hours.)
Please refer to the PhD Chronology document. It describes in detail, the procedure for setting up your committee and the Qualifying Exam. For more details on requirements for the Ph.D. degree please contact The Graduate School.
The Graduate School has detailed rules for the preparation of the Ph.D. thesis and thesis defense (as well as the rules pertaining to the M.S. degree). The main point to be aware of is that the Chair of the Ph.D. committee shall notify the Dean of the Graduate School in writing no later than two weeks prior to the examination of the place and time of the examination and the title of the dissertation. The Dean will then formally notify all committee members. (The main purpose of the two week advance notice is to give sufficient time for announcement of the Ph.D. Defense in the Vanderbilt Calendar; the Defense is open to the whole university community). The result of the Examination must be reported by the Ph.D. committee Chair to the Graduate Dean immediately after the examination.
Two copies of the approved dissertation, bearing original signatures of not less than a majority of the Ph.D. committee, accompanied by two copies of an abstract of not more than three hundred fifty words and signed by the student's adviser, must be registered in the Dean's office no later than two weeks before the end of the term in which the student expects to receive the degree. A candidate who expects to graduate in May must submit the dissertation to the Graduate School no later than April 1.
These rules imply that:
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