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Duration of Admission Status: Time for Completion of Degree

After admission to a graduate program of study, students are expected to complete degree or certificate requirements in a responsible and timely manner. For full-time students, two calendar years should be adequate for the completion of most master’s degree programs; five calendar years should be adequate for the completion of most doctoral programs. Part-time students may need a somewhat longer period to meet these requirements, but in all instances, coursework and other requirements must be completed within the following time limitations:

  1. Graduate Certificate: within seven years;
  2. Master’s or Specialist’s degrees: within seven years;
  3. Doctoral Degrees: within eight years if the student had a relevant graduate degree when beginning the program OR within ten years if the student began doctoral study without a relevant prior graduate degree.

Continuous Registration

A graduate student requiring continuous and ongoing access to student resources (e.g., remote access to library, data storage on servers, email access) associated with a CMICH global ID requires enrollment in at least one course per academic year.  Reinstatement of access to these services commences upon reenrollment.

In addition, a program/department may require a graduate student to enroll in at least one CMU graduate credit hour each fall or spring semester for one or more of the following reasons:

  • Continuous registration is part of the program curriculum (e.g., student has completed the required coursework, but does not have an approved prospectus);
  • Significant university resources (e.g., faculty time) are necessary.

The Continuous Registration credit (course 619) within the student’s home department can fulfill this one graduate credit hour requirement.  Regardless of whether the student has registered for Continuous Registration credit(s), the student must still complete the degree within the time-to-degree limitations set forth under the degree requirements.

(Approved by Academic Senate, November 5, 2019)

Extension of Time Requests

Extension of time requests are serious and approval by the advisor and department do not guarantee approval by the College of Graduate Studies. Extension of time to complete a degree or certificate are rarely granted and only considered if there are clearly extenuating circumstances. Extenuating circumstances are circumstances in which the student would be entitled to an extended leave of absence from work or other responsibilities. Examples may include, but are not necessarily limited to military service and situations that would be covered under the Family Medical Leave Act. Students must demonstrate the following for their requests to be considered by the College of Graduate Studies: compelling extenuating circumstances, current knowledge in the subject matter they wish to extend, and steady progress toward the certificate or degree. Transfer credit is not eligible for extension consideration. Typically, extension requests are a one-time request of twelve to eighteen months total and for up to 9 graduate credit hours. Additional credits can be approved at the discretion of the College of Graduate Studies. If an extension is granted, a second extension is highly unlikely and students should plan accordingly. Extension of time request forms are available on the Graduate Studies website

Admission to Graduate Studies is valid for four to ten years (depending on the degree or certificate sought) after the date of first admission, except by cancellation for cause, or by one of the following provisions:

  1. Degree or Certificate Recipients. The student's admission to Graduate Studies is terminated upon completion of all requirements for a degree or certificate. (This provision does not apply to students who earn a master's degree while enrolled in a doctoral program, or to students who earn a certificate while enrolled in a master's or doctoral program.) To resume graduate study thereafter on a second degree program or as a non-degree student, the student may apply for readmission by submitting an Application for Admission.
  2. Termination of Admission. This policy is explained under the “Duration of Admission Status,” noted above.
  3. Inactive Status. If a student does not register for the initial graduate work within one year after the date of admission to Graduate Studies, or if in completing one or more courses the student earns no further graduate credit at this university for one academic year, the student is classified as inactive and the admission is terminated. If the student has completed one or more courses, the permanent record card is retained by the Registrar. The student may thereafter apply for readmission to resume graduate study at a later date by submitting an Application for Admission and supplying all other documents requested by the department concerned.

If a student does not earn graduate credit at CMU for seven consecutive years, the student's original application, letters, transcripts from other universities, and other materials will be destroyed. If one wishes to apply for readmission after that length of time, all materials, including a new application, transcripts and other documents requested by the department will need to be submitted.