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Washington State University Graduate School

Chapter 6E: Maximum Time Limits for Completion of Degree

1. Master’s Degrees

Most full-time students enrolled in master’s degree programs at WSU require 2-3 years for completion of their program. The maximum time allowed for completion of a master’s degree is 6 years from the beginning date of the earliest course applied toward the degree. The Graduate School recognizes some programs are designed for the part-time student and can be expected to require a longer completion period. As appropriate, departments may request an extension of this time limit as described in Section F.

2. Doctoral Degrees

Most students enrolled in doctoral degree programs at WSU require 4-6 years for completion of their program. There are two time limitations for doctoral students:

  • The maximum time allowed for completion of a doctoral degree is 10 years from the beginning date of the earliest course applied toward the degree. This means that the courses (including transfer coursework) on the Program of Study remain valid only for 10 years from the earliest date of the course(s) applied toward the degree.
  • In addition, the doctoral degree must be completed within 3 years of the date of the satisfactory completion of the preliminary examination.

It is imperative that students work closely with their programs to develop a timeline for completion that successfully accommodates both of these deadlines. At least four months must elapse between preliminary and final examinations for doctoral degrees.

The Graduate School recognizes that part-time students may require a longer completion period. As appropriate, departments may request an extension of this time limit as described in Section F.

3. Certificates

Full-time students enrolled in certificate programs generally require 2-4 years to complete their certificate program; part-time students may require a longer completion period. The maximum time allowed for completion of a certificate is 6 years from the beginning date of the earliest course applied toward the certificate. Students may request an extension of this time as described in Section F.

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