About fifteen students are accepted each year for the PhD program. All admitted students receive full funding, including tuition and stipend. Standard fellowships are for five years, and involve teaching or other types of department service during at least three of the five years. Students are very often successful in obtaining further support from competitive fellowships offered by Columbia, as well as from the various national fellowship competitions. In addition, the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences makes summer stipend support available for up to five years to students who maintain good academic standing.
Candidates for the degree of the Doctor of Philosophy are required to pursue an approved programme of advanced study and research under supervision as enrolled students of the University. The degree of Doctor of Philosophy is awarded on the basis of the submission of a thesis. The thesis, which may include a nominated creative component, should give evidence of the candidate’s ability to carry out research, that the candidate has shown originality and independence, and that the candidate has made a significant contribution to the advancement of their particular field. The research should be of a kind which a diligent and competent student might reasonably be expected to complete within three years of full-time study.