Graduate Degree - Time Limits- Doctoral

Section 40512/40514, California Code of Regulations, Title 5, Education, requires that courses in completed doctoral degree programs be no older than five years at the time of the degree award. The five-year period is counted from the end of the semester in which the course was completed. Thus no more than five 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 With an outdated course, the candidate has the following options:

  • Repeat the outdated course with a passing grade but without credit.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  • Under some circumstances, another course (one already completed or to be taken) may be used to substitute for an outdated course.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 from both the program's graduate advisor and the Associate Dean the College 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  • Revalidate the outdated SJSU course by examination. Revalidation of courses is governed by University Policy S17-7. A student may revalidate a maximum of 9 units of a 30-unit master's degree program, or 12 units for a program with more than 30 units. Only courses in which a student has earned a "B" or better may be revalidated. Permission to revalidate from College of 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 Five-Year Time Limit available at 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 course, which satisfy the Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR), do not expire and, therefore, need not 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 formal leaves of absence through the University Registrar, thereby making it unnecessary to contact Graduate Studies.