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Report 90-29 : Shortening Time to the Doctoral Degree: A Report to the Legislature and the University of California in Response to Senate Concurrent Resolution 66 (Resolution Chapter 174, Statutes of 1989)

Published by The California Postsecondary Education Commission

December 1990

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In 1989, the Legislature adopted Senate Concurrent Resolution 66 (Hart), directing the Commission to "determine whether there has been an increase in time to completion of doctoral degrees awarded by the University of California, and to study the factors which have led or may lead to an increase in time to completion of doctorates, and to make specific recommendation relative to methods of increasing the rate of progress toward receiving doctoral degrees awarded by the University without compromising the integrity of the academic process." This report responds to that request.

The report outlines recent trends on attrition and time to the doctoral degree both nationally and at the University of California, as well as factors that appear to contribute to attrition and lengthy time to degree. However, it does not offer recommendations on how these trends might be reversed and these factors overcome.

Rather than submitting recommendations in this report, the Commission will continue to study issues of time to degree and attrition as the University moves forward in its planning for graduation education. University officials have planned to present a new academic program plan for graduate education to the Regents late in 1990. As part of the Commission's review of that plan, the Commission will seek to undertake a more comprehensive and integrated discussion of graduate education, including issues of attrition and time to degree, than was possible before completion of the University's plan. By proceeding in this way, the Commission can address the interrelatedness of the problems of doctoral education within the framework of the University's own plan. When the Commission comments on the University's plan, if necessary it can offer specific recommendations on the board variety of issues confronting graduate education, including attrition, time to degree, and diversification of the graduate student body and faculty.

The Commission adopted its report at its meeting of December 10, 1990, on recommendation of its Policy Evaluation Committee.

Related Topics: Student Progress and Success

Further information may be obtained from the Commission's Research Staff
(916) 445-1000 or via e-mail at

A copy of any publication may be requested from the Commission's Publications Unit
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