Academic Policies

Doctoral candidates are required to maintain a "B+" (3.3) average.  If a student's grade point average remains below 3.3 for two consecutive semesters, the student may be asked to withdraw from the program.

All Students who elect to apply transfer credit towards the PhD Degree must complete all requirements within 7 years.  Students who undertake all of their coursework (the full 72 credits) at Wagner have a 10 year limit.

Students granted a leave of absence are still required to complete all degree requirements within 7-10 years of initial enrollment.

Students receiving Wagner School financial aid who take a leave of absence for more than one semester may relinquish their scholarships.

Transfer Credit

A maximum of 40 points of transfer credit for graduate course work taken outside of New York University is allowable for the Ph.D. This course work must meet New York University Ph.D. degree time limitations, must have been completed with grades of "B" or higher, and must have been earned at an accredited institution of established academic reputation. Courses proposed for transfer credit must be relevant and consistent with the fields of study chosen by the student.

The 40 credit maximum allowance does not necessarily mean that all 40 points are always awarded. The actual determination of the transfer credits to be awarded is an integral part of program planning and results from careful consideration of a variety of factors that range from financial issues to student desire to broaden or deepen areas of study.

Once a student passes the PQE, s/he should discuss the issue of transfer credit with the Doctoral Program Director and the relevant faculty advisor.

Transfer credit impacts those receiving tuition scholarships in that scholarship ends at the achievement of the required 72 credits.

Please note that decisions regarding transfer credit are not made prior to matriculation, although discussion of potential transfer credit should be included in planning one's overall program of study.

Maintaining Continuous Matriculation

All doctoral students must maintain continuous matriculation. No degree may be awarded to a student who has not maintained continuous matriculation. Continuous matriculation may be met in the following ways:

  • Registering for at least one course
  • Upon finishing courses, officially maintaining matriculation
  • Enrolling in PHD-GP 5901, Research in Progress

Please note that upon completion of all coursework, students may only 'maintain matriculation' by payment of fees for one academic year. Thereafter, students must enroll in PHD-GP 5901, Research in Progress.  Matriculation fees and tuition for Research in Progress are not covered by doctoral student scholarships.

Incomplete Grades

Incomplete grades are intended for rare circumstances when course requirements cannot be met in a timely manner. If an incomplete is granted, students must complete their coursework and receive a grade within one semester. Students with more than one incomplete on their record at any given time may be putting their scholarship funding at risk. In addition, such students will require the permission of the doctoral program director to register for comprehensive exams. In those cases where a student has an IP on their record that they do not intend to complete, they should contact Academic Services to officially withdraw from the course.

Language Courses

While students are encouraged to hone their language skills, language courses cannot be credited toward a Wagner degree. Please view the Wagner Language Courses page for details.

Governance of the Doctoral Program

The governance of the Doctoral Program is delegated to the Doctoral Board, comprised of six tenured or tenure-track faculty members and chaired by the Director of the Doctoral Program. The Board ensures faculty representation in the effective management of the program. The Program Director works closely with the program’s Assistant Director and Graduate Assistant and with the Doctoral Board to ensure the smooth operation of the program.

The Doctoral Board establishes academic policy for doctoral studies and defines specific strategies to implement this policy in areas such as recruitment, admissions, advisement and curriculum development. Board members take primary responsibility for admitting each year’s incoming cohort of doctoral students. Along with the other Wagner faculty, they also advise students about doctoral field preparation, approve student proposals for special fields, guide dissertations, and prepare and grade the Preliminary Qualifying Examination (PQE) and Comprehensive Exams.

The Director of the Doctoral Program leads the effort to sustain the program and improve its quality. S/he works with the Board to ensure the effective design and implementation of policy in matters affecting the academic quality of the program as well as the educational experience of doctoral students.

The Director and Assistant Director are responsible for the daily operation of the program and are in close communication with doctoral students, facilitating their academic progress and troubleshooting when problems arise. Questions related to administrative concerns, such as how to sign up for courses outside Wagner or what form is required for a particular benchmark, are best directed to the Assistant Director. The Director and the student’s primary advisor handle questions related to academic concerns, such as course selection or what fields of study to choose.