Degree Time Limits

KU and your department monitor your time in the program to ensure you are staying within the maximum time limits to complete your degree, set by University policy:

  • Master’s degree only – 7 years
  • Doctoral degree only – 8 years
  • Master’s and doctoral degree within the same academic department – 10 years

Time limits are calculated from the beginning of your 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 would have to complete their degree by the end of Summer 2026.  

If in the event you complete a master's degree, leave KU or your program, and then return at a later date to complete a doctoral degree in the same department, you still have a combined maximum of 10 years to complete both degrees. The period between completion of your 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.  

If your enrollment is non-degree seeking, it is not calculated in your time to degree, even in cases where you may be later admitted to a degree and that coursework is approved to count towards that degree. 

If there are extenuating circumstances and you aren’t able to complete your degree by the time limit, you may petition your department for an extension to the time limit. If approved by your department, you must then work with your Graduate Coordinator and Director of Graduate Studies to prepare a Graduate Degree Completion Agreement (.pdf). Please consult with your department for more information on petition requirements. 


Courses completed at the University of Kansas, or transfer credits from another university, are valid for a period of 10 years. Courses that were completed more than 10 years before the scheduling of the final defense may not be used to fulfill graduate degree requirements in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. 

If there are extenuating circumstances, you may petition your department to accept out-of-date course work to fulfill the requirements for your graduate degrees.  If approved, your department will then petition on your behalf to the College.

Petitions to revalidate expired coursework are reviewed by a faculty committee. The committee will be looking for justification for how the coursework is still relevant and meets the current standards of scholarship in the discipline, in light of changes or developments in the field since the course was taken.

The College requires that you make all final revisions and file the final version of your thesis or dissertation manuscript to ProQuest within 6 months of the date of your final presentation and/or defense. Until the final manuscript of the thesis or dissertation has been approved by your advisor and submitted to ProQuest, you must be enrolled in accordance with post-comp enrollment policy. If you do not submit the final manuscript within the 6-month time limit, you must enroll in 3 hours each semester until your thesis or dissertation is completed and submitted.