Leniency for limits

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With the latest time limits on graduate students, Queen’s is putting itself in a more precarious situation than it may realize.

The administration has placed a limit of two years on Master’s students and four years on PhD students to graduate. These new restrictions will constrict the ability of graduate students to produce high-quality work, let alone finish their degrees on time.

The problem isn’t only the shortening of degree times, it’s the extent to which the restrictions have been imposed. PhD programs take, on average, five to six years to complete, according to research collected by U15, a group of 15 research-intensive universities in Canada.

What’s most worrisome is the lack of flexibility inherent to these new limits. Some students will likely be forced to withdraw from their degree programs altogether due to their inability to complete their degree on time.

Especially when it comes to research-based graduate degrees, these time limits can be far too stringent. Sometimes studies go awry or results are inconclusive. Graduate students shouldn’t have to be punished for this — they should be supported by their university instead.

A three-year time limit for a Master’s program or five years for a PhD with the option of receiving an extension would’ve been more reasonable. Hopefully, as negotiations continue, the option of extensions will be on the table to ease some of the burden on students.

With these strict restrictions, the University is placing itself in a situation where it will be publishing more rushed and therefore lower quality research from its students. This may reduce the standing of Queen’s research in the long-run, harming its reputation.

It’s not just the University’s reputation that’s at stake here. The lack of consultation or consideration with students in this issue will hurt the administration’s relationship with students.

Graduate student representatives have clearly demonstrated they’re unhappy with the decision — the administration should take this into consideration.

One can only speculate that it comes in an effort to cut funds.

Dragging out graduate degrees can cost departments time and money, especially in giving more funding to research initiatives and in forcing professors to give more of their time to supervise students. The cuts are still far too drastic and sudden to be justifiable. Consultation and flexible limits would’ve been more reasonable.

— Journal Editorial Board

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