Research in Higher Education

, Volume 30, Issue 5, pp 503–516 | Cite as

The lengthening of time to completion of the doctorate degree

  • Howard P. Tuckman
  • Susan Coyle
  • Yupin Bae


Time to completion of the doctorate is at a high for the century in the United States. This paper examines completion time in 11 scientific and engineering fields in the period 1967–1986, using the cohort of doctorate recipients for analysis. On average, it finds a 20% increase in completion time. Four measures of time are explored and time trend analysis reveals the existence of two patterns of increase: U-shaped and inverted U. Evidence is reported of convergence of the time distribution around the cohort mean and time spent enrolled at the university is shown to be the major source of the rise.


Completion Time Time Distribution Time Trend Education Research Trend Analysis 
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Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press, Inc. 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Howard P. Tuckman
    • 1
  • Susan Coyle
    • 1
  • Yupin Bae
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of EconomicsMemphis State UniversityMemphis

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