Six-year Policy

Students should aim to graduate within approximately five years. The program recognizes however that some challenging projects may take longer. With this in mind, time-to-degree guidelines are as follows:

  • Students are expected to graduate within a six-year time period having met the graduation requirements specified in Advancement to Candidacy and Thesis Progression. A leave of absence of up to three quarters from the program does not count toward the total number of years in the program.
  • If a student and his or her thesis committee do not feel the student will be able to meet the six-year deadline (August of year six), a maximum six-month extension must be requested by January of year six. (Request a petition from the graduate program manager.)
  • Extensions are not guaranteed, and they require the executive committee's approval. A petition must include a detailed justification for the extension provided by the thesis committee and will only be granted when there is a compelling scientific reason or other extenuating factors that have impeded progress.
  • If there appears to be a need for additional time, a student may petition for a second and final extension of up to six months.