I am approaching the seven-year limit in the doctoral program and will need more time to finish my dissertation due to the disruption of the pandemic. Can I request an extension?

Due to the disruptive nature of COVID-19, we expect some students to ask for additional time beyond the seven years to complete the PhD. Any such appeal (detailed below) should include clear reference to the particular effects of the pandemic on the individual’s ability to conduct research, access archives, or otherwise complete work toward the PhD.

Students who do not complete all requirements for the doctoral degree by the end of the seventh year will no longer be considered to be doctoral degree candidates, and will be notified accordingly in writing. Note that the seventh year ends on May 31. Students so notified may appeal this determination within thirty days of receipt of notification.

To appeal, students must do the following:

  • Submit a letter to the Chair of the Doctoral Program that indicates all the steps that they will take, with a timetable, to distribute, defend, and deposit the dissertation in at most two additional semesters of candidacy.
  • Submit to the sponsor all chapters and materials produced to date on the dissertation, as well as a copy of the timetable referenced above. After examining the materials, the sponsor should write a letter to the Doctoral Chair that evaluates the materials received, and that endorses as feasible the timetable provided.

The Chair will review the request and determine either that a) the student be allowed to remain a degree candidate as a registered student for at most two additional semesters; or that b) the student not be allowed to continue as a degree candidate. If the appeal is granted, but the student does not complete all requirements for the doctoral degree, including the deposit of the dissertation by the stipulated date, the student will no longer be considered to be a doctoral degree candidate.

  • Students who have not registered continuously (and did not receive an official leave of absence) must reapply for admission in order to return to doctoral study.

NOTE: The above language is adapted from the GSAS policy to reflect CSSW’s internal policies regarding our seven-year time to completion and our process for requesting additional time.