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I have worked in a few academic institutes (and still know many friends in the same places). 5 years seems to be the norm, with some people taking up to 7.

I am university lecturer, and the rules have been tightened dramatically in the last few years, precisely to prevent 7 or 8 year-long PhDs, which were indeed getting increasingly common, and benefited nobody.

Now, students must submit their thesis within five years (one of my students very nearly failed his PhD because of this), and there are funding restrictions for continuing beyond three.

I didn't know this was a Europe-wide rule, but as a professor in Spain I can attest that the 3 years + 1 year extension rule is now enforced and met. If your time elapses and you haven't completed your thesis, you're out.

I am in Spain. Maybe it has changed but a few years back it was the norm. The institute I worked for had a 5 year rule and you got kicked out (if you were doing research), but a few people managed to get extensions around that.

It has changed, I think around 3 or 4 years ago.

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