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Time Limitation

Time Limitation Policy

Candidates for Master's degrees must complete the degree within three years of initial registration. If the degree is pursued strictly on a less than full-time basis, it must be completed within five years of initial registration after which point the student will be withdrawn. In exceptional cases, a student who wishes to submit a thesis or complete outstanding degree requirements after withdrawal may do so, but only on the recommendation of the department concerned. GPS has final approval. Please see the Policy compliance section below for more information. 

By registering annually, all doctoral candidates may maintain their connection with the University for four years after completing their residence requirements. Candidates for doctoral degrees must complete the degree by the end of PhD7. Please note that students admitted after a Master’s degree are normally considered to be PhD2 and not PhD1 (direct entry). Contact your Graduate Program Coordinator/Administrator to confirm the number of years in which you must complete your program.

The object of these regulations is to encourage candidates to complete their theses and qualify for their degree without undue delay.

Policy compliance

GPS no longer considers extensions to time limitation. Students who do not complete their degree requirements within the time limits stated above will have their registration at McGill terminated and will lose their student status and access to McGill facilities and support. International students on study permits will also be required to leave Canada.

Certain options are available for students who do not submit their thesis for examination within time limitation. These options are:

  1. Reinstatement: An individual who produces a suitable thesis for examination within two years after termination may be reinstated to deposit the thesis.
  2. Readmission: If a student wishes to deposit a thesis after the time period for reinstatement has passed, then they must submit a new application for admission.

Procedures for reinstatement

  1. The individual must have:
    • A thesis approved by the supervisor(s) and ready for submission to GPS
    • A thesis checklist accompanied by the required documents for thesis submission (signed thesis submission form, nomination of examiners form, etc.)
    • The support of the Unit
  2. The reinstatement must take effect within two years of the previous registration. The individual must submit a Request for Reinstatement form available at www.mcgill.ca/students/records/forms asking to be reinstated to deposit the thesis. This request must be submitted within twenty (20) months of the date when registration was terminated in order to be processed before the two-year time limit.
  3. The Unit assesses the request for reinstatement, reviewing the documentation in consultation with the thesis supervisor. If the request is approved, the Unit recommends the reinstatement, in writing, to the the Management of Academic Records Office, ES. The student will be informed of the decision and process to follow by letter sent to the student's official McGill email address. The letter will explain the process and fees.
  4. Upon registration, the student must pay the required fees according to the schedule of thesis submission, including reinstatement fees to the time of last registration. The student's ID card is reactivated, and thesis submission and examination proceeds according to normal procedure.

Procedures for readmission

  1. The individual must submit a request for readmission webform according to the specified deadlines for each academic term. Official transcripts from previous institutions may need to be submitted.
  2. The Unit reviews the request and, if favourable, makes a recommendation for readmission to Management of Academic Records in Enrolment Services. Please note that there is no obligation on the part of the Unit to recommend readmission. 
  3. Enrolment Services reviews the request and Unit recommendation and arranges processing of the readmission request. If the request is approved, a readmission letter is issued to the student.
  4. In addition to the support of their Unit, the student must have the following to be readmitted:
    • A thesis approved by the supervisor(s) and ready for submission to GPS
    • A thesis checklist accompanied by the required documents for thesis submission (signed thesis submission form, nomination of examiners form, etc.)
  5. The student must pay fees for the new academic session according to the schedule of thesis submission.
  6. Thesis submission and examination will proceed according to normal procedures.

Interim access to libraries and electronic resources

A graduate student who is no longer registered because of non-compliance with the Time Limitation Policy, but who requires access to library or VPN resources to complete their thesis, has the following options:

  1. Use online resources in person on computers located in the libraries
  2. Access online library resources from home through VPN (provided by ICS). Access will normally continue for six (6) months after the last registered term.  The supervisor can submit a request to ICS for an individual to maintain VPN for additional time. For additional information on expiry of IT services, please consult the Knowledge Base article IT services available after leaving McGill.
  3. Obtain library borrowing privileges by bringing a letter of authorization to the library. For details. please contact the Loans Desk supervisor, Robert Selby, at robert [dot] selby [at] mcgill [dot] ca.