Time to Degree

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 SAA.

Normative Time for the Doctoral Degree

Normative time to degree is the number of years considered reasonable for a full-time doctoral student to complete their degree program.  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.  Non-registered statuses (PELP, Filing Fee) are not counted towards normative time.  

Graduate Advisors and major professors evaluate student progress to determine if students are making satisfactory progress towards the degree. Programs may have specific timing requirements in their degree requirements (e.g. quarters to pass the Qualifying Exam, advance to candidacy, complete certain courses).

Graduate Council policy requires doctoral students to file their dissertation within 12 registered quarters after passing the Qualifying Examination. If a student has not filed their dissertation by the 12th quarter, Graduate Studies will send a notification to the student stating the student is beyond normative time to the degree and has three additional registered quarters to file the dissertation.  If the dissertation is not filed in three quarters, the student is subject to a recommendation for disqualification from their program.  Students, with support from their major professor and Graduate Advisor, may petition for an exception to the Time to Degree policy by submitting the Time to Degree Extension Request, along with a timeline for completion of remaining work, and a letter of support from the major professor.

Normative Time for the Master's Degree

Graduate programs designate normative time to degree in their degree requirements.  In most programs, normative time to complete the master's degree is six quarters for full-time students.  Programs are responsible for tracking master's students progress, and enforcing normative time requirements as needed.  Program degree requirements are available on each program page.  Students who are delayed in their progress towards the degree should discuss normative time with their Graduate Advisor.