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Graduate Degree - Time Limits

Section 40510(b)(2), California Code of Regulations, Title 5, Education, requires that courses in completed graduate degree programs be no older than seven years at the time of the degree award. The seven-year period is counted from the end of the semester in which the course was completed. Thus no more than seven years may elapse between the time the first course in a graduate program is completed and the time the last item in the program is completed, the latter indicating fulfillment of all degree requirements. With an outdated course, the candidate has the following options:

  • repeat the outdated course with a passing grade but without credit. The new grades will be factored into the GPA for graduation, and all grade requirements, such as the 3.0 minimum GPA, will still be in effect.
  • under some circumstances, another course (one already completed or to be taken) may be used to substitute for an outdated course. Permission for the substitution must be obtained of both the program's graduate advisor and the Associate Dean of Graduate Studies. This practice is highly discouraged, as it violates the rule that completed courses may not be removed from the candidacy form. If the original course is available for enrollment, it is unlikely that permission will be granted.
  • revalidate the outdated SJSU course by examination. No more than 30% of a master's degree program may be considered for revalidation. Permission to revalidate from Graduate Studies or from GAPE is not required; examination can proceed and the results communicated to the program evaluator at GAPE by the form entitled Request for Revalidation of Course that Has Exceeded the Seven-Year Time Limit available at www.sjsu.edu/gape/forms. Course work completed at other institutions is not eligible for revalidation, but transfer courses taken at SJSU may be revalidated. However, some kinds of courses cannot be revalidated, including supervisory courses such as project and thesis courses, seminar courses, independent study courses, and internship courses.
  • departmental 100W and 200W courses, which satisfy the Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR), do not expire and, therefore, cannot be revalidated. Other courses that satisfy GWAR are more content-based and do expire; those can be revalidated.

Veterans who are candidates for graduate degrees and who have had their graduate programs interrupted by military service may petition through the Associate Dean of Graduate Studies to extend the time limit imposed by the above regulations by the amount of time spent in military service. Nevertheless, students in this situation should apply for a formal leaves of absence through the University Registrar, thereby making it unnecessary to contact Graduate Studies.