Lapsing, Reinstatement, and Termination of Candidacy

Candidacy for the doctoral degree is of limited duration. When a student exceeds their total normative time for the degree (either 10 semesters for Social Welfare PhD candidates or 12 semesters for Combined MSW/PhD candidates), they enter a four semester period during which candidacy is still valid, but which is beyond the norm for their discipline.

Four semesters after the end of normative time for the particular program, candidacy ends, or “lapses.” Lapsed candidacy indicates that the student has exceeded the time that their doctoral program has indicated the Qualifying Examination should be considered valid. If otherwise in good academic standing, the student may continue to register, but to file the dissertation, the program must affirm that the student still possesses the currency of knowledge originally demonstrated in the Qualifying Examination.

Candidacy can be extended at the request of the Head Graduate Adviser when circumstances beyond the control of the student have delayed progress to the degree. Extension of time in candidacy should be requested at the time that the student experiences the circumstances leading to the delay, and in no case any later than the last semester in candidacy. Unless extended, candidacy must be reinstated in the semester when the student will file the dissertation and degree.

Once candidacy has ended, it is not possible to request an extension of candidacy; instead, the program should request reinstatement of candidacy, following the procedure outlined in the Guide to Graduate Policy F3.7: Lapsing, Reinstatement, and Termination of Candidacy. Reinstatement of candidacy should be requested in the term during which the student plans to file the dissertation. A recommendation for reinstatement may be subject to review and approval by the Administrative Committee of the Graduate Council.

The Graduate Division may terminate a doctoral student’s candidacy two years after the student’s candidacy lapses. Termination may be based on any of the following circumstances:

  1. the student no longer holds the qualifications appropriate for the award of the degree, because knowledge tested by the Qualifying Examination is no longer current;
  2. continued lack of progress indicates that the student will not be able to complete the remaining requirements; or,
  3. the student fails to correct major deficiencies in a dissertation previously submitted for committee review within the period determined by the Graduate Division and the program. 

For further guidance please also consult the Guide to Graduate Policy F3.7: Lapsing, Reinstatement, and Termination of Candidacy.