Candidacy Extensions


A degree student who has completed all requirements for the doctoral degree exclusive of thesis research will be designated as a “doctoral candidate” in the School of Graduate Studies (SGS).

To achieve candidacy, students in doctoral degree programs must:

  • complete all requirements for the degree exclusive of thesis research and courses such as ongoing research seminars that run continuously through the program; and
  • have an approved thesis topic, supervisor, and supervisory committee.

Successful completion of candidacy is recognized by a notation on the transcript.

Time Limits to Achieve Candidacy

Candidacy must be achieved by the end of Year 3 for all doctoral programs, except for the five-year doctoral program, flexible-time PhD program option, and professional doctoral programs begun on a part-time basis. For those exceptions, candidacy must be achieved by the end of Year 4 of registration (see chart below).

Doctoral Degree Program CategoriesTime Limit to Achieve Candidacy
Doctoral, four-year programby end of Year 3
Doctoral, five-year program (direct-entry)by end of Year 4
Flexible-time PhD program optionby end of Year 4
Professional doctoral program, full-timeby end of Year 3
Professional doctoral program, part-timeby end of Year 4
Time limits to achieve candidacy by program category

Requesting a Candidacy Extension

If you do not achieve candidacy within this time, an extension to achieve candidacy may be permitted in exceptional circumstances. If you require an extension to achieve candidacy, complete the Extension to Achieve Candidacy form (PDF) and submit it to your graduate unit for review.  An extension may be granted and a student may be permitted to register in the program for up to 12 months (3 sessions) at the discretion of the graduate unit. Continuation beyond 12 months will require a further extension and approval of both the graduate unit and the School of Graduate Studies.

To apply for a candidacy extension, you must present to your graduate unit a brief explanation for the delay, a plan that includes a realistic timeline to completion, and evidence that the remaining candidacy requirements will be completed within the program time limit. The supporting documents must be submitted to the supervisor and graduate chair / coordinator. If approved by the graduate unit, the graduate administrator will forward the documentation to SGS for processing.


Doctoral students on an approved candidacy extension must continue to pay full-time domestic or international tuition fees.

Students are encouraged to reach out to University services that can assist with personal challenges that are causing delays. Visit the Resources and Supports section of the SGS website for more information about the resources that are available.