The following timetable shows expected progress through the full-time doctoral program.

Activity Target Limit
Course work completed 2 years none
Comprehensive exam passed 1 year none
Dissertation proposal approved 3 years none
Application to candidacy approved 3 years 6 years
Dissertation defended 4 years 3 years after candidacy


The Graduate School establishes limits for course work. At the time of admission to candidacy, all course work that is included in a student’s program of work must have been taken within the previous six years. The Doctoral Committee annually reviews the programs of students who have not completed the degree at the end of three years from admission to candidacy. At the time of such reviews, the committee may recommend additional course work, further examination, or termination of candidacy. For more information please refer to the Graduate Catalog.

The 99 Hour Rule. In addition to time limits, there are penalties for accumulating more that 99 doctoral hours. The Texas Legislature funds the university through “formula funding,” an amount of money provided to the university for each hour taught. Currently, the legislature provides no formula funding for students with more than 130 doctoral hours. Starting in fall 1999, the legislature provided no formula funding for students with more than 99 doctoral hours. At that time, the university began charging nonresident tuition to all students, resident and nonresident, who have accumulated more than 99 doctoral hours. For more information visit this Graduate School page.