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Registration Requirements

While the faculty that recommends the award of a degree establishes its academic requirements, the University establishes the residence requirements for those degrees. The unit of residence is the academic year, which normally consists of three consecutive quarters of enrollment, beginning with the autumn quarter.

Graduate students at the University register according to registration requirements. 

1. M.A. students are registered for two years to meet the degree requirement.   M.Div. students are registered for three years.  

2. Ph.D. students are registered for no more than nine years (if enrolled effective summer 2016 or later), or twelve years (if enrolled prior to summer 2016.)

A.M.R.S. students enroll in a minimum of one course per quarter, and must complete nine courses for the degree. These students are not registered in Scholastic Residence, but will normally complete the degree within nine academic quarters.

M.Div. students who do not complete the degree during the period of Scholastic Residence may register for up to one year of residence for the purpose of completing outstanding requirements of the degree. Such registration must be approved by the Dean of Students and the Director of Ministry Studies.

Ph.D. students and registration

Ph.D. students are eligible for all the privileges and rights of full-time students, such as access to the Student Care Center (the University’s student health service) and medical insurance coverage, University housing, computer facilities, libraries, career and placement services, and athletic facilities. Provided they are not employed more than 20 hours a week or more in a job unrelated to their dissertation research, and subject to other federal and state student loan policies, students are eligible for student loans and deferment of loan payments.

A Ph.D. student  whose dissertation research requires residence away from Chicago may register Pro Forma, upon recommendation from the advisor and approval by the Dean of Students. Normally students applying for Pro Forma status will have been admitted to candidacy and have had their dissertation topic approved by the Committee on Degrees. Renewal for a second year requires approval from the Dean of Students. Quarters registered in Pro Forma are counted toward the 12 total academic years in which a student may be enrolled in the Ph.D. program. 

Leave of Absence is a formal status for students who suspend work toward a degree but who expect to resume work after a maximum of one academic year, with the possibility of approval of an additional year. Such leave must be approved by both the student’s area of study and the Dean of Students. If, at the conclusion of an approved Leave of Absence, studies are not resumed, the student will be withdrawn from the University.  After any Leave of Absence, the student resumes residence at the point at which studies were interrupted.

A female student who becomes pregnant may request a one-quarter leave of absence for childbirth. The one quarter maternity leave of absence may be taken in the quarter of childbirth or an adjacent quarter. Such a leave may be granted by the Dean of Students.

Availability of student health insurance during a leave of absence, and other issues that may arise about that coverage, will be governed by the operative student health insurance rules and policies at the time the leave is taken. Other University facilities and services are not available to students on leaves of absence.

The registration and residence requirements reflect a structure of graduate tuition that links charges to residence status. Students will be assessed the prevailing full tuition rate only for the period of Scholastic Residence. A lower level will apply to any years of Advanced Residence. Tuition is not charged for Pro Forma registration, though a fee is assessed each quarter. No tuition is assessed when a student is on a Leave of Absence.

PhD Student Academic Progress and Completion of the Degree

All Divinity School Ph.D. students must also complete an annual progress report, which includes the advisor's evaluation of student progress.  The progress report form is submitted in the Spring quarter of each year to the Dean of Students for review by the appropriate area faculty.  

Divinity School Ph.D. students who are in year six or higher must submit a plan for completion, along with a letter of approval from the student’s dissertation advisor, to the Dean of Students by the end of Winter Quarter of that academic year.  Failure to submit a plan of completion in the sixth year of study will result in restriction on the student's enrollment.  

Students who were enrolled prior to summer 2016, and who have not completed their doctoral program after 12 years of registration are subject to the policy below:

For students who were enrolled prior to summer quarter 2016:

Divinity School students who do not complete the Ph.D. program by the end of the 12th year of registration must submit a request to complete the degree by submitting a timeline for completion to the Divinity School's Committee on Degrees. The timeline and petition must be approved by the academic advisor, and must be submitted to the Dean of Students according to the published deadlines for submission of materials to the Committee on Degrees.  This petition must be submitted no later than the end of the 12th year of registration.    Students whose requests are approved will be allowed to register in the quarter in which they will graduate, and be charged the pro forma fee currently in effect.  Students must meet all other requirements for the completion of the Ph.D. degree, including a successful midpoint review, approval of the dissertation by the dissertation committee, and submission of the dissertation to the University's Dissertation Office by the stated deadlines.

For students who enrolled in summer 2016 or later:

Divinity School students who do not complete the Ph.D. program by the end of the 9th year of registration must submit a request to complete the degree by submitting a timeline for completion to the Divinity School's Committee on Degrees. The timeline and petition must be approved by the academic advisor, and must be submitted to the Dean of Students according to the published deadlines for submission of materials to the Committee on Degrees.  This petition must be submitted no later than the end of the 9th year of registration.  Students whose requests are approved will be allowed to register in the quarter in which they will graduate, and be charged the pro forma fee currently in effect.  Students must meet all other requirements for the completion of the Ph.D. degree, including a successful midpoint review, approval of the dissertation by the dissertation committee, and submission of the dissertation to the University's Dissertation Office by the stated deadlines.