I am a phd candidate in education. My doctoral program takes 3 years. However, I have worked very hard and got several publications that sole-authored. My supervisor thinks that I can finish my phd in 2 years and a few months, but I am not sure about this move. Most of eminent scholars that I look up to took their time and finsihed their phds within the normal timeframe, so I am thinking that it is not wise to take the risk and finish earlier than the usual time. I would like to have your take on this. Would the fact that I finish my phd in shorter time negatively affect my chances in getting a tenure-track academic position?

  • I agree with the answer below. I've had students who finished 'early' with strong publications. Their career has not been impacted. However, for the layman, a quick PhD degree translates to an 'easy' or low quality PhD. Apr 2, 2021 at 8:08
  • @Prof.SantaClaus, "answer below" is ambiguous.
    – Buffy
    Apr 2, 2021 at 12:43

2 Answers 2


It likely doesn't matter much. The major question is whether finishing in two years will adversely affect the quality of your dissertation. If the quality of your publications is high and your dissertation makes a strong contribution to your field of research, it's unlikely that a search committee will care that you finished early. Depending on the type of institution you are applying to, they'll have specific criteria that they're looking for with regard to your ability to produce high-quality research, conduct high-quality teaching, etc.

If you believe that taking a third year to finish your dissertation will help you produce better work, then you should take the third year.


The other thing to consider is how it will affect you financially. If you pay for your PhD yourself, then you will obviously save money by finishing early, and might get some refund on tuition fees, or avoid having to pay "continuation fees" when you submit at the end of the third year, but it takes time to get you graduated.

Conversely if you are on a scholoarship or studentship, you might forfeit the final payments by finishing early. (although you'll be able to get a better paying job sooner).

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