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Normative Time

COVID-19 Related Time to Degree Blanket Exception

In recognition of the impact that COVID-related closures have had on all graduate students at UC Davis, Graduate Studies, with the support of Graduate Council, will provide a one-year blanket extension of time to degree for students.  The quarters from Spring 2020 to Spring 2021 will not be counted against a graduate student’s normative time to degree.  

Though this blanket exception of normative time to degree is not a guarantee of extended funding, Graduate Studies is working closely with programs and campus partners to explore potential financial support options. We will reassess in the future if additional measures may be required; in the meantime, we encourage all students to work closely with their faculty to adapt their plans to make progress in their research in different ways than anticipated.

This is a blanket exception and is automatically applied to all graduate students. Students will not be required to submit the Time to Degree Extension Request form to Graduate Studies.

For questions related to this blanket exception and your eligibility, contact your Senior Academic Advisor

Normative Time for the Doctoral Degree

Normative time is the number of years considered reasonable for completion of a particular doctoral program by a full-time student. The time varies for doctoral students from four to six years and is measured from the time you begin graduate study at any level at UC Davis. Up to three quarters of any kind of non-registered status (PELP, Filing Fee) are allowed without penalty during your graduate study career. 

Programs will assess your academic progress and determine whether you are making satisfactory progress. Individual programs may have specific requirements, including time in which courses must be completed and minimum grades required in those courses, or they may require final completion of all degree requirements within a specific time.

Graduate Council policy requires doctoral students must submit their dissertation four years (12 registered quarters) from the date they pass the qualifying exam. At this time, if a student has not submitted their dissertation to Graduate Studies, the student and their graduate coordinator and chair will receive a notification from Graduate Studies stating they have three additional registered quarters to submit the dissertation. If not submitted within three quarter, the student will be eligible for a recommendation of disqualification by their program.  Major professors, academic advisors, or students may petition for an exception to this policy for cause by submitting the time to degree extension request along with a timeline to completion and a letter of support from the major professor.  For more information, review the Time to Degree Policy.

Normative Time for the Master's Degree

Individual master's programs have a normative time to degree stated in their degree requirements.  Most often, normative time to the master's is six quarters for full-time students.  Discretion for enforcing these requirements is the responsibility of the program.  You can review your program degree requirements, listed on your program page, to determine the normative time expectation.  You should discuss any deviations from normative time with your graduate advisor.