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Normative Time

Time to Doctoral Degree Completion

As a UC Davis graduate student, you may hear about something called “normative time.” Normative time is the number of years considered to be reasonable for completion of a particular doctoral program by a well-prepared, 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 is allowed without penalty during your graduate study career, provided you meet all conditions for non-registered status. 

Programs will assess your academic progress and determine whether you will remain in good standing. Individual programs may have specific requirements of progress, 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 to 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 his/her dissertation to Graduate Studies, this student should be notified by his or her program that he/she is placed on probation, and has one year from that date to submit the dissertation. If not submitted within one year, the student will no longer be allowed to enroll the following quarter and will be disqualified. Major professors, academic advisors, or students may petition for an exception to this policy for cause. For more information, review the Time to Degree Policy.