1. Reasonable Progress Policy (applies to all students entering the Rutgers Sociology Graduate Program in the fall semester of 2013 and any time thereafter)

Should a student fail to meet any of the above deadlines, the student and their advisor will receive a notice of unsatisfactory progress.  The student is then required to submit a detailed work plan for finishing any uncompleted work by the end of the following semester. The work plan should be written in consultation with the student’s advisor, the lead reader of the Qualifying Paper (when applicable), and the graduate director, all of whom must approve the plan.  Failure to meet the deadlines set forth in the work plan will result in the loss of eligibility for funding and may lead to dismissal from the program.  Please consult section IX.2 below for the policy on extenuating circumstances.

At the end of the fifth year and every subsequent year in the program, each student must submit a written plan for moving forward and completing the dissertation in a timely manner.  This plan must be approved by the student’s advisor.  These plans will be reviewed during the annual student review. The goal of these annual reviews is to foster the development and completion of the dissertation and Ph.D. degree as a means to launch students on to successful careers.  A letter will be sent to each student providing feedback on their plan.  

Note that the policy of the Graduate School-New Brunswick is that full-time Ph.D. students complete their degrees in seven years or less.  Students in the Sociology Department should finish their Ph.D. within this time frame.  Requests to the Graduate School for extensions beyond seven years are strongly discouraged.  Such requests will be evaluated by the graduate director and the student’s advisor on an individual basis.

2. Extenuating Circumstances

In some instances, a student may fail to meet the standards for reasonable progress due to circumstances that are beyond their control.  Such circumstances include (but are not limited to) severe and/or long illness, a serious accident, intensive caregiving, family leave, and death in the family. They also include unusual circumstances regarding challenges related to data collection, complications with IRB approval, or unusually delayed feedback by faculty.  When such extenuating circumstances apply, the student may petition to obtain a one-semester extension beyond the time specified in the reasonable progress policy set forth in section IX.1 to finish incompletes, a qualifying paper, or a dissertation proposal.

To petition for an extension, the student should submit a letter to the graduate director explaining the circumstances and outlining a proposed timeline for finishing necessary work.  The student’s advisor should also submit a brief letter of support for the extension and proposed timeline.  

If more than one semester is needed to get a student’s graduate work back in line with the reasonable progress policy (section IX.1), the student may request a leave of absence from the graduate director for up to two semesters in which the student can register under matriculation continued status.  Semesters of matriculation continued status do not count toward a student’s standard of progress.

3. Grandfathering for the Reasonable Progress Policy and M.A./Ph.D. Requirements

Some grandfathering of the requirements and policies on reasonable progress is necessary to align the progress of students who entered the sociology graduate program prior to the fall semester of 2013 with the new policies on standards of reasonable progress described in section IX.1. Every student who entered the program in the fall semester of 2009 through the fall semester of 2012 (students in years 2-5 in the fall of 2013) will thus be given a one-semester extension beyond the standards noted in section IX.1 to finish incompletes, a qualifying paper, or a dissertation proposal and align oneself with the new policies (see the full description of the policy and extenuating circumstances in sections IX.1-2).  They will thus be expected to complete the first QP and all required courses for the M.A. by the end of the spring semester of the third year in the program, the second QP and all Ph.D. courses by the end of the spring semester of their fourth year in the program, and their dissertation proposal (and move to ABD status) by the end of the spring semester of their fifth year in the program (all conditions beyond these dates that are noted in sections IX.1-2 apply).

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