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Do they have deadlines in the US?

I've heard about US PhD students going on for seven years, ten years, fourteen years, and so on.

In the UK I had to submit before four years. If I didn't do that I literally just failed the degree.

I worked twenty-hour days for about a month at the end and then submitted with one day to go. Not even exaggerating.




In the US, there's a lot of administrative pressure to keep the time-to-degree somewhere in the neighborhood of five or six years, but there's not usually a fixed cut-off date for everyone there.

Instead, they just get increasingly insistent about you making "forward progress" and increasingly reluctant to keep your funding going.


I've been at 3 different universities now, and all of them have a 8-year cutoff for credits expiring even at the PhD level. So I've definitely seen folks push that number but in my experience no one has gone over that.


7.5 years for myself, USA PhD at top-ten institution in Computer Science. This was straight from Bachelor's without Master's degree.


I'm in Australia, no deadline when I went through but it seems like it is changing. Plenty of friends who took 6+ years, record of 13.


Brian May, started 1970, submitted 2007. https://ewikipedia.org/wiki/Brian_May#Scientific_career

They may have made an exception.


The hard time limit on UK PhDs is a recent-ish thing, which started coming in around 2010ish from memory (as is usual with such things, there was a fairly long phase-in, which messes with my memory). Broadly speaking, anyone who started in the old system could still carry on for as long as they wanted.

[It's also possible to "suspend regulations" -- which is University speak for "something happened which the rules don't deal with sensibly" -- and extend a PhD's length, though this is generally accompanied by weeping and gnashing of teeth by administrators. It's much harder to do than it used to be.]


In the US, most go from BS to PhD, not BS to MS to PhD. A MS is 2 years, so your deadline would be 6 years if it was the same system.


No that’s the same in the UK. You wouldn’t normally do both an MS (we’d call it a MSc) and PhD - you’d just get on and do the PhD.

And what’s more four years is the limit - the intention is three.

So in the UK most people go from zero to PhD in six years total, rather than ten or more in the US. And we still manage to get papers into top tier venues in that time so it doesn’t seem to be too short.

I know someone in Austria who got a great PhD in two years with multiple top-tier papers! That’s pretty extreme though.




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