General InformationAdmissionGeneral GuidelinesFinancial InformationUniversity RegulationsServices & RecordsTemple CampusesCourse DescriptionsFacultyHome
Standards of Scholarship
Time Limits
Foreigh Language and

Proficiency Examinations
Enrollment Guidelines
Master's Comprehensive/

Doctoral Qualifying/
Preliminary Examinations
Completion Requirements
Change of Degree Program


The university has no overall policy concerning full-time study; however, some doctoral programs require at least one year of full-time study. Consult with the program for more information on its residency requirements and guidelines.


Many doctoral programs require knowledge of one or more natural languages in addition to English and/or proficiency in a research skill. The languages must be ones in which a significant body of information relevant to the student's area of specialization exists. Consult with the program for more information and guidelines.


Only registered students may use Temple University resources, including the libraries and faculty supervision of independent projects, theses, or dissertations.

Continuous Enrollment

All students must be enrolled every fall and spring semester between matriculation and graduation except during those semesters for which a student holds an approved leave of absence.*

*  Students at the final project, thesis or dissertation stage must be continuously registered until they have successfully defended and submitted final copies of their project/thesis/dissertation, unless they have received a leave of absence.

*  Students must be registered during the semester they defend and the semester they submit their final work to the Graduate School.

*  Students who do not hold approved leaves of absence and who do not meet university, college, or program requirements for continuous registration for two consecutive semesters will be administratively withdrawn from the University.

*The M.L.A. program is exempted from this requirement.

A student must be registered during the semester of graduation unless:

*  All degree requirements, including submission of thesis or dissertation final copies, have been completed prior to that semester, but an application to graduate has not been filed by the appropriate deadline.

*  The student is finishing one or more incompletes or taking a required examination, not including defense of a thesis or dissertation. A student in this category is not considered officially enrolled.

*  Students cannot graduate more than one calendar year after the last semester during which they were registered, except with permission of the Dean of the Graduate School.

Leaves of Absence

*  Requests for leaves of absence must be submitted to the chair or director of the student's program before the start of the semester for which they are requested.

*  There is a records maintenance fee of $25 for each semester.

*  Leaves are not granted for the semester during which a student defends his or her thesis, dissertation, or submits a required final project.

*  A leave of absence does not extend the time limit of the degree program.

Full Time Students

The number of hours for which a student must enroll to be considered full time may vary, depending on the studentís program. However, all students must be matriculated in a graduate program of study to be considered for full-time status.

The student must also meet one of the following requirements:

  • Be enrolled for nine or more semester hours of graduate credit. This is the only automatic full-time classification.
  • Hold a graduate assistant, teaching assistant, or research assistant position or equivalent requiring a maximum of 20 hours of service weekly while registered for six or more semester hours of graduate credit.
  • Enroll for at least one semester hour of required internship credit or field experience. The studentís department must certify in writing to the Graduate School that the internship or field experience is both mandatory and full time. See the following guidelines for notifying the Graduate School of a studentís full-time status.
  • Enroll for one to three semester hours of masterís project, masterís thesis, or doctoral dissertation credit. The studentís adviser must certify in writing to the Graduate School that the student is working on a thesis, project, or dissertation full-time and making progress. See the following guidelines for notifying the Graduate School of a studentís full-time status.


  • No student may be classified as a full-time student for more than two semesters while completing a masterís thesis or project, more than four semesters while completing an M.F.A.
  • No doctoral student may be classified as full time for more than six semesters while completing a doctoral dissertation. The six semesters include the time it takes to pass the preliminary examination and to prepare and obtain approval of the dissertation proposal, as well as the research for the writing of the Doctoral Dissertation. Students must take and pass the preliminary examination within one semester of completing coursework in order to be considered full time. The proposal must be approved within three semesters of completing coursework. Students who do mot pass the preliminary examination in the semester
    following coursework completion will not be eligible for additional semester of full-time classification until the preliminary examination is passed. Additionally, students who do not have an approved proposal within three semester of com-pleting coursework will not be eligible for any additional semesters of full-time status until the proposal has been approved.

  • Students must complete all of therequirements for their degree and be working on their thesis, project, or dissertation full time to be considered for full-time status.
  • Any exception to these rules is contingent on the decision of the Graduate Board in response to a formal appeal.
  • Recipients of university fellowships and assistantships are required to be full-time students.

Where certification by the studentís major adviser is required, it is the studentís responsibility to have such written certification sent to the Graduate School at the beginning of each semester after processing his or her registration.

Guidelines for Notifying the Graduate School

The studentís adviser must send a letter on Temple stationery to the Graduate School containing the following:

  • Studentís name

  • Studentís social security number or

  • Temple Identification Number

  • The reason the student is to beconsidered full-time

  • The semester for which the full-time status is sought.

Note: Full-time status cannot be awarded without confirmed registration for the semester in question.


Many masterís programs include in their degree requirements the passing of a major comprehensive examination or set of examinations. All doctoral programs require students to pass a major preliminary examination or set of examinations before being elevated to candidacy. These examinations are intended to test the studentís knowledge of the field and, in the case of preliminary examinations, the studentís ability to do doctoral research and to write a doctoral dissertation.

To be admitted to this examination, a graduate student must have satisfied all applicable residency, language, and proficiency requirements.

Examination Failure

No graduate student may take, in whole or in part, either the masterís comprehensive examination or the doctoral preliminary examination more than twice. A graduate student who fails either a masterís or doctoral examination (or part thereof) twice is automatically dismissed from her or his graduate program.

Doctoral Preliminary Examination

Faculty Responsibilities:

A minimum of three graduate faculty must approve the content of the doctoral preliminary examination. The grading of the examination must be such that no single faculty member makes the decision on whether the student passes or fails the examination. In the instance where the graduate student fails one or more examination questions, a member of the Doctoral Preliminary Examination Committee must provide feedback to the graduate student identifying areas of failure and suggestions for remediation.

Time Limits

A doctoral student who has not successfully defended the doctoral dissertation within five years of passing the preliminary examination must retake and pass that examination to remain in good academic standing and to be eligible to defend the dissertation.

Requests from such graduate students for extensions of time will not be considered, at either the college or the Graduate School level, until the preliminary examination has been re-scheduled. Then, the extension of time will be contingent on the passing of the preliminary examination.

Students who have reached the five-year anniversary of passing the preliminary examination(s) will be given one semester to retake and pass the current programís preliminary examination(s). Students who fail to retake and pass the programís preliminary examination(s) within one semester of the anniversary will be dismissed for failure to make academic progress.


Graduate students who have completed all of their course work and have not passed the preliminary examination must register for course number 799, "Preliminary Examination Preparation." Graduate students who have passed the preliminary examination but do not have an approved proposal must register for course number 899, "Pre-Dissertation Research."