Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Update

In the interest of protecting the health and safety of students, faculty, staff and community members, the Graduate School continues to operate in a remote format. MORE INFO>

Internet Explorer Detected

The Penn State Graduate School website is best experienced in Firefox or Google Chrome. It is highly recommended that you use an alternative browser.

Extensions to Graduate Council Time Limits Due to the COVID-19 Outbreak

This Guidance provides temporary allowances to the following Graduate Council Academic (GCAC) Policy provisions for any degree-seeking student enrolled in the Graduate School for the applicable graduate degrees listed below beginning in the Spring 2020 (SP20) semester.  These temporary allowances DO NOT require an exception request to Graduate Enrollment Services.

[Please note that this guidance applies only to students enrolled in the Graduate School in SP20, who may use these allowances as needed until they graduate.]

Qualifying Examinations

CURRENT POLICY PROVISIONS – Qualifying Examinations

  • GCAC-604 Qualifying Examination - Research Doctorate
  • 2.b. All students must take the Qualifying Examination within three semesters (not counting the summer semester) of entry into the doctoral program.
  • 2.b.ii Students pursuing dual-title degrees must take the Qualifying Examination within four semesters (not counting the summer semester) of entry into the doctoral program.
  • GCAC 700-D – Qualifying Examination - Professional Doctoral Degrees
  • 5. For the doctoral student, the examination may be given after at least 18 credits have been earned in graduate courses beyond the baccalaureate. The examination must be taken within three semesters (excluding summer sessions) of entry into the doctoral program.

ALLOWANCE – Qualifying Examinations

  • Students enrolled in the SP20 semester must take the Qualifying Examination within FOUR semesters (not counting the summer semester) of entry into the doctoral program.
  • Students pursuing dual-title degrees must take the Qualifying Examination within FIVE semesters (not counting the summer semester) of entry into the doctoral program.

Example

  • A research doctorate (Ph.D.) student who was scheduled but unable to take their qualifying examination in the Fall 2020 semester (and that is the third semester after entry into the doctoral program) may take the examination in Spring 2021 without an exception request to Graduate Enrollment Services.

Comprehensive Examinations

CURRENT POLICY PROVISIONS – Comprehensive Examinations

  • GCAC-606 Comprehensive Examination - Research Doctorate
  • 6. When a period of more than six years has elapsed between the passing of the comprehensive examination and the completion of the program, the student is required to pass a second comprehensive examination before the final oral examination will be scheduled.
  • GCAC-700-F Comprehensive Examination - Professional Doctoral Degrees
  • 8. When a period of more than six years has elapsed between the passing of the comprehensive examination and the completion of the program, the student is required to pass a second comprehensive examination before the final oral examination or final performance will be scheduled.

ALLOWANCE – Comprehensive Examinations

  • When a period of more than SEVEN years has elapsed between the passing of the comprehensive examination and the scheduled date of the final oral examination or final performance, the student is required to pass a second comprehensive examination before the final oral examination or final performance may be rescheduled and proceed.

Example

  • If the doctoral student successfully completed their comprehensive examination on April 1, 2014, they would now have until April 1, 2021 to schedule the Final Oral Examination or Final Performance.  After April 1, 2021 a second comprehensive examination would be required.

Time Limitations - Doctoral Degree Students

CURRENT POLICY PROVISIONS – Time Limitations – Doctoral Degree Students

  • GCAC-610 Time Limitation - Research Doctorate
  • 1. A Ph.D. student is required to complete the program, including acceptance of the doctoral dissertation, within eight years after the date of successful completion of the qualifying examination.
  • GCAC-700-H Time Limitation - Professional Doctoral Degrees
  • 1. A doctoral student is required to complete the program, including acceptance of the doctoral culminating project or the passing of the final performance, within eight years after the date of successful completion of the qualifying examination.

ALLOWANCE – Time Limitations - Doctoral Degree Students

  • A research doctorate (Ph.D.) or professional doctoral degree student is required to complete the program, including acceptance of the doctoral dissertation or culminating experience, or passing the final performance, within NINE years after the date of successful completion of the qualifying examination.

Example

  • If the doctoral student passes the qualifying exam on January 1, 2014, the student now has until the end of the Fall 2022 semester to complete all doctoral program requirements and have the degree awarded.

Time Limitations – Master’s Degree Students

CURRENT POLICY PROVISIONS – Time Limitations – Master’s Degree Students

ALLOWANCE – Time Limitations - Master’s Degree Students

  • All requirements for a master’s degree, including acceptance of the culminating experience, must be met within NINE years of admission to degree status.

Example

  • If the master’s student is admitted in Spring 2014, the student now has until the end of the Fall 2023 semester to complete all master’s program requirements and have the degree awarded.
  • All other Graduate Council defined time limits remain in effect.

Frequently Asked Questions - Extensions to Graduate Council Time Limits Due to the COVID-19 Outbreak

GCAC 601 – Residency Requirement - Research Doctorate

GCAC-700-A - Residency Requirement - Professional Doctoral Degrees

Residency requirements for the Ph.D. or professional doctoral degrees must still be met, but have no time limitation for completion, and thus do not require an allowance.

Despite the COVID-19-related restrictions to on-campus activities, SP20 will count towards residency for all students who were enrolled full time in residence.  Thus:

  • Graduate students who were enrolled full time in residence for FA19 and SP20 will be considered to have met residency
  • Graduate Students who were enrolled full time in residence for SP20 and will complete full time enrollment in residence for FA 20 will be considered to have met residency.

GCAC-608 - Final Oral Examination - Research Doctorate

The requirement for a minimum of 3 months to elapse between Comprehensive Examination and Final Oral Examination is not impacted by the current situation.

GCAC-515 Registration Requirements When Course Work Has Been Completed

Students who cannot maintain continuous registration due to the COVID-19 outbreak will be given a Leave of Absence under guidance released previously. A Leave of Absence automatically extends all time limits for the duration of the Leave, without the requirement that the student be continuously registered during the leave, and provides a seamless transition back to the student’s program.

This page was generated on May 18, 2021 at 12:18 PM Eastern Time. This may not be the most recent version. Check the website for updates.