PhD Timeline to Graduation

All graduate students are expected to be full time students in residence for the 9 months of each academic year.

Students are expected to complete the required coursework, initiate and continue their research, communicate regularly with their faculty advisor, and meet all appropriate deadlines for Advancement to Ph.D. Candidacy. Should an advisor relationship end at any time, students have one quarter to secure a new department faculty advisor to continue in the program.

Key Program Reminders:

  1. Students must maintain a minimum of 12 units/quarter to be eligible for financial support
  2. Students must maintain a GPA of 3.0 or they will be placed on Graduate Division probation. Students with 12 or more units of "U/F" will have a hold placed on their accounts.
  3. Petitions:
    • Department petitions for exceptions or extensions to deadlines may be approved for a good cause. Petitions must be submitted well in advance of a deadline to Graduate Program Coordinator for review by Graduate Vice Chair.
    • Retroactive University Petitions for the Academic Senate. As of 2023, the department will only approve retroactive petition submissions to the Academic Senate if a student has documentation of extreme personal circumstances (e.g. hospitalization) or system technical errors that prevented them from meeting UCSD deadlines.
  • Diagnostic Exam (take home exam typically held in mid July) 
  • Enroll in core courses or upper division undergraduate courses as advised
  • Enroll in elective courses
  • Enroll in Phys 500 in Fall quarter
  • Work as Teaching Assistant
  • Complete GEPA's Annual Spring Evaluation
  • Begin looking for research advisor
  • Complete core courses and electives if not completed during year 1 (Biophysics students have until the end of their 3rd year)
  • Enroll in Advanced Graduate Courses
  • Identify a research advisor and join their group by the end of Spring quarter
  • Complete GEPA's Annual Spring Evaluation
  • Complete Advanced Graduate Courses
  • Form PhD Committee
  • Advance to Candidacy by the end of Spring quarter
  • GEPA's Annual Spring Evaluation is waived if Advancement to Candidacy occurs in Winter or Spring
  • Continue with research
  • Complete GEPA's Annual Spring Evaluation
  • Continue with research
  • Aim to defend by Spring
  • GEPA's Annual Spring Evaluation is waived if you defend and graduate