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Doctoral Programs: Time to Degree Completion

Anticipated Graduation Date

Walden requires its students to complete their programs within a specific number of years. The maximum will vary by degree program

  • Doctoral students have 8 calendar years
  • Ed.S. students have 5 calendar years

Upon your initial enrollment in the program, your degree audit will populate your anticipated graduation date (AGD) the appropriate number of years based on the maximum time to complete the program. If you happen to reach or approach the maximum number of years in the program without completing it, Student Success Advising will contact you regarding any possible next steps. If you worry that you are approaching the time limit, Advising would recommend that you work with your faculty mentor and/or capstone chairperson to develop a plan for successfully completing your program.

Staying on Track

Use your time off wisely but sparingly.

Students can take up to 180 days of Leave of Absence during any one 365-day period, and Student Success Advising recommends that students utilize this option when life events (the birth of your child, a new job, relocating, personal emergencies, etc.) would otherwise hinder successful completion of your courses. However, remember that this time away from your program is included in the total time that you have to complete your degree. Taking 180 days of leave does not add an additional 180 day to your overall Time to Degree maximum.

Attend your academic residencies as outlined by your Student Success Advisor.

Academic Residencies have been designed to be taken at specific key points in your doctoral programs. Attending them as outlined will help you stay on track as the sessions you'll attend and the information you'll gain have been shown to help students be prepared for that phase of their program. While we certainly understand that a variety of factors play a role in when students are able to attend their residencies, delaying the residency for too long only means you delay your access to the information and resources presented at the residency.

Attend a Capstone Intensive if you feel you are struggling to make progress on your dissertation or doctoral study.

For those students at the Ph.D. dissertation or D.B.A./Ed.D. doctoral study stage, a Capstone Intensive may be a good choice to help them get caught up or make progress on their work.

Use the Doctoral Research Coach

There are many stages to the doctoral capstone or project process—prospectus, proposal, research ethics review (IRB), oral defenses, final capstone or project, form & style, and final Chief Academic Officer approval. Stay on top of the process by using the Doctoral Research Coach—an interactive, virtual tool that you can use to stay on track and complete your doctoral capstone or project.

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Doctoral Degree Coach