Program Extensions

Time Limits for Program Completion

All program requirements must be completed within a specific period of time. The time limit for a degree is the maximum period of registration permitted for the completion of the program. The time limit for all graduate degrees and combined programs are as follows:

Degree TypeTime Limit to Complete Program
Doctoral6 years (except for the Dentistry PhD: 7 to 8 years depending on specialty)
Direct-entry Doctoral7 years
Flexible-time PhD program option6 to 8 years (depending on program)
Professional doctoral5 to 6 years (depending on program)
Full-time master’s3 years (exceptions: MArch (4 years); Dentistry MSc (3 to 5 years))
Part-time master’s6 years
Combined degree programsTime limit is established for each combined degree program. The time limit will be set at one year (or two for doctoral programs) beyond the established combined program length.
Time limits to complete program by degree type.

Requesting a Program Extension

If you do not complete all degree requirements within the time limit for your degree, you may submit a request for program extension.

  • Master’s students may be considered for a maximum of three one-year extensions. The first two extension requests require the approval of the graduate unit; the third requires the approval of both the graduate unit and SGS.
  • Doctoral students may apply for a maximum of four one-year extensions. The first two extension requests require the approval of the graduate unit; the second two require the approval of both the graduate unit and SGS.

To seek an extension, complete a Program Extension (Current Regulations) form (PDF) and submit it to your graduate unit along with an explanation for the delay and evidence that the remaining degree requirements may be completed within the period of the extension request.

Final Program Extension Requests

Third or fourth (FINAL) program extension requests for doctoral students, and third (FINAL) program extension requests for a master’s students, require additional SGS approval. To obtain this approval, the student, supervisor, and graduate chair / coordinator must provide additional information in a separate letter of support to SGS. This can be a single letter co-signed by all parties, or separate letters, that outline the following:

  • a reflection on the progress to date, including progress in the previous extension periods,
  • detailed plan or timeline for completion,
  • a confirmation that the degree requirements can be met within one year of the final program extension, and
  • a confirmation that the student has been made aware of support services that are available to help the student complete their thesis.

Once approved by the graduate unit, the graduate administrator will submit the form and supporting documents to SGS for final review and approval.

Fees for Extension Years

During the extension years, all doctoral students pay fees at 50% of the domestic rate plus full-time sessional incidental and ancillary fees. See Graduate Fees for more information on the pro-rating of fees in the final extension year.

Full-time master’s students on extension pay 50% of the domestic fee plus sessional incidental and ancillary fees. Part-time master’s students on extension continue to be charged part-time 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.