UCSF

Six-year Policy

Students are expected to complete their Phd within five years, not counting approved leaves of absence. The program recognizes however that some challenging projects may take longer. With this in mind, time-to-degree guidelines are as follows:

Exceptions beyond 6 years can only be granted by the Executive Committee. 

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 administrator.) Generally, the Executive Committee has been inclined to grant approvals for 3-6 month extensions in cases where the student, the advisor, and the other members of the thesis committee all agree that the additional time is warranted, most frequently in cases where the student is completing an ambitious project.

The Executive Committee has broad authority to set expectations and requirements for the extension, which may include holding thesis committee meetings (or meeting with the Executive Committee itself) prior to or after approval.

Requests for a second extension, beyond an initially granted 3-6 month extension, are subjected to a higher level of scrutiny. In no case will extensions be granted that would cause the total time to-degree, excluding leaves of absence, to exceed 7 years.