USC Price School of Public Policy

Time Limit for Degree Completion

Clock-300x199Graduate students are required to complete their degrees within a specified number of years. While there are no specific time limits for completing bachelor’s degrees, undergraduates should note that departments change their major requirements in accordance with the development of their fields. The following specifies time limits required for degree completion of graduate students as well as responsibilities to which undergraduates students must adhere:

» Graduate Students
» Undergraduate Students
» Discontinued Degree Programs

Graduate Students

The time limit for completing the master’s degree is five years. The time limit for completing the Ph.D. and DPA is eight years. The time limit for completing the DPDS is six years. For students who earned an applicable master’s degree within five years prior to admission to the doctoral program, the time limit for completing the Ph.D. or DPA is six years.

An academic unit may grant an extension of up to one year at a time for a maximum of two years. In extenuating circumstance, extensions beyond seven years (master’s students) or 10 years (doctoral students) may be granted. Extensions beyond seven years (master’s students) or 10 years (doctoral students) require approval from the Graduate School. When requesting an extension beyond the allotted time, the students will need to demonstrate how earlier coursework remains current.

Process for Requesting an Extension of Time
The process for requesting a time extension follows these steps:

  • Students submit a USC Price Master’s Petition (PDF, for master’s students) or a USC Price Doctoral Petition (PDF, for doctoral students) to the appropriate Student Services Advisor. Students need to specify why they were unable to complete their degree during the requisite time frame and include a realistic timeline of when they expect to complete their degree. They must include the term in which they expect to complete the degree.
  • Students requesting an extension of time beyond seven years (master’s students) or 10 years (doctoral students) must also complete the Graduate School General Petition (PDF).
  • The Student Services Advisor forwards the petition to the appropriate degree director.
  • The Student Services Advisor informs the student in writing of the decision.

For additional information, please visit the Graduate Students page in the Requirements for Graduation section of the USC Catalogue. For additional USC Price information, go to the Doctoral Degrees page in the USC Price section of the USC Catalogue.

Undergraduate Students

While there are no specific time limits for completing bachelor’s degrees, over the years many departments change their major requirements in accordance with developments in the field and departments. Occasionally, general education requirements are changed or a degree program is discontinued. Therefore, undergraduate students who do not complete their degrees within six consecutive years from the first semester in which they completed any USC coursework might not be allowed continue following their pre–major, major, and minor requirements as specified above. (This time limit includes semesters during which students are enrolled.) The department chair will decide which pre–major, major and minor requirements each student must follow and communicate the decision to the student in writing.

Students who do not complete their degrees within 10 consecutive years from the beginning of the semester of their first completed USC coursework will not be allowed automatically to continue their general education requirements. (This time limit includes semesters during which students are not enrolled.) The General Education Office will decide what general education requirements each student must follow and communicate the decision to the student in writing.

For additional information, please go to the Undergraduate Students page in the Requirements for Graduation section of the USC Catalogue.

Discontinued Degree Programs

Students pursuing degree programs which the university discontinues will be allowed to complete the degree or minor programs within a specified time limit determined at the point of discontinuance. This is determined according to the student’s progress toward degree completion and will not exceed five years for any students.

For additional information, go to the Requirements for Graduation section of the USC Catalogue.