College of Liberal Arts & Sciences

Time to Degree

KU monitors the time to degree of individual graduate students as well as the departmental average time to degree and sets specific limits on the completion of both master’s and doctoral degrees at KU.

  • Master’s students are required to complete their degrees within 7 years.
  • Doctoral students are required to complete their degrees within 8 years.
  • Students who complete a master’s and doctoral degree in the same academic department have a maximum of 10 years to complete both degrees.

Time limits are calculated from the beginning of the first semester of enrollment as a degree-seeking student in the department offering the degree. For example, a master’s student who started enrolling in their program in Fall 2019 must complete their degree by the end of Summer 2026.  

Students who complete a Master's degree, leave KU or their program, and then return at a later date to complete a doctoral degree in the same department still have a combined maximum of 10 years to complete both degrees. The period of time between completion of the master's and start of the doctoral program is not calculated in the time to degree.  For example, a student who completes a terminal master's degree in History in three years, leaves KU after graduation, and then applies to the History PhD program two years later would be allowed up to seven years to complete the doctoral degree upon re-admission. Again, this is only true for degrees obtained in the same department.  Time to degree is calculated separately for degrees obtained in different departments. 

Enrollment as a non-degree seeking student is not calculated in a student's time to degree, even in cases where the student is later admitted to a degree and that coursework is approved to count towards that degree.

With the approval of their department, a student may petition for an extension to the time limit.  Students who have been approved by their department for additional time must work with their advisor and Director of Graduate Studies to prepare a Graduate Degree Completion Agreement.  Please consult with your department for more information on petition requirements. 

Related Policies and Forms: