REG 02.25.10 – Time Limit for Completion of Graduate Degree

Authority: Dean of the Graduate School

History: First Issued: June 1, 2002. Last Revised: February 13, 2008.

Additional References:
Graduate Administrative Handbook 3.4

Contact Info: Dean of the Graduate School (919-515-7956)


1. Master’s Degrees

Students must complete all requirements for the Master’s degree within six calendar years; beginning with the date the student commences courses carrying graduate credit applicable to the degree program either at NC State or another institution, unless a more restrictive time limit has been established by the academic college/school or program. The time limit remains at six years even if a student was on approved leave of absence during the six-year period.

2. Doctoral Degrees

All doctoral students must attain candidacy for the degree within six calendar years from the date of admission and complete all degree requirements within 10 calendar years. The time limit remains at 10 calendar years even if a student was on approved leave of absence during the 10-year period. Academic colleges/schools or programs may have more restrictive requirements than the above stated University policy.

3. Exceptions to Time Limits

3.1 The Graduate School may grant any reasonable exception to the above time limits prior to the expiration of the time limit.

3.2 A request for an extension of time to complete degree requirements must be submitted in writing to the Graduate School and include the following:

3.2.1 A proposed Plan of Work;

3.2.2 A timeline for completing the degree; and

3.2.3 A letter of support from the Director of the Graduate Program

3.2.4 A statement documenting the extenuating circumstances that justify the request for a time extension;

3.2.5 A statement of the impact that the proposed extension would have on the validity of the student’s course work and program; and

3.2.6 Evidence of endorsement of the request from the student’s advisory committee and the Director of the Graduate Programs (DGP). The request must proceed from the committee to the DGP to the Graduate School.

3.3 If the Administrative Board of the Graduate School (ABGS) approves the request, the student must reapply for admission to the program.   Upon reentering the program, the student is bound by the terms for completion of the degree outlined in the re-admission application. Failure to follow the approved plan will result in termination from the degree program.   Except under extraordinary circumstances, the ABGS will not consider more than one request for resumption of studies by a student.

3.4 If the Dean of the Graduate School denies an extension of the time limit, the DGP may appeal the decision to the ABGS.