Generally, students take research credits after they have been admitted to Ph.D. candidacy.  Students involved in field research and out of daily contact with their advisors must sign up for at least one research credit per semester, but may sign up for more if they can pay for them.  Students in New Brunswick or elsewhere, working or writing in regular contact with their advisor, should sign up for at least one research credit per semester.  Students may, however, take up to 12 research credits prior to becoming ABD. Students interested in enrolling in research credits pre-ABD must fill out the appropriate form and acquire the necessary signatures before they can obtain a special permission number from the Graduate Program Secretary. These credits must be for dissertation-related research only (not independent studies), and up to a total of 3 of these credits can be given for work undertaken during the regular semester. All other credits must be earned for supervised summer dissertation research to be credited upon completion and reporting in the following fall semester. Students must have 24 research credits by the time they defend their Ph.Ds, so within the above minimum constraints, it is up to them and their advisors to figure out the rate per semester at which they acquire these 24 necessary research credits.