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Statute of Limitations

Duquesne University has established a statute of limitations for all graduate degree programs. No academic program may establish a statute of limitations that exceeds those of the University. Academic schools may establish a statute of limitations that is stricter than those of the University. Students should consult the Catalog of Graduate and Professional Programs for school-specific policies

The purpose of the statute of limitations is to ensure that students earn degrees that represent mastery of current knowledge in the field and reflect the intense commitment to scholarship and practice necessary for advanced study in one's chosen discipline.

Post-master's doctoral programs must be completed within a period of seven (7) years of the first day of the first course taken. This provision applies to students who enter with or without advanced standing or transfer credit.

Students with disabilities who may require an extension of time to complete a graduate degree are encouraged to contact the Office of Special Services.

Under exceptional circumstances, a candidate for an advanced degree may apply for an extension to the statute of limitations. An extension can be requested in the form of one of the three kinds of leave: medical, military, and personal. An extension of time for completion of a degree will be granted only in cases where there is clear evidence of progress towards successful completion of the degree, and where the student can document an extraordinary reason for being granted an extension. The application for an extension (i.e., medical, military, or personal) must include a detailed schedule for degree completion.

Students are expected to register in their program of study for all Fall and Spring semesters during their academic studies unless they have been granted a leave of absence. Students who have not been registered in their program of study for two consecutive semesters of required enrollment must be readmitted to their academic department or program in order to continue their studies. Regardless of any absences during their programs of study, students who do not enroll and are not on an approved Leave of Absence will be held to their original statute of limitations for degree completion upon their return. Students may not suspend their enrollment in their degree programs in order to avoid the statute of limitations policy.

Requests for an extension to the statute of limitations must be submitted by the graduate student to his/her advisor [dissertation chair] who will review the request and provide a written recommendation that is forwarded to the program director. Next, the program director will review the request and provide a written recommendation that is forwarded to the department chair. The student will be notified in writing of the decision via electronic mail directed to the student's DUQ email address. An appeal for denial of the request for extension may be submitted to the school's academic dean whose review and decision are final.

The timeline for requesting an extension to the statute of limitations is as follows:

  • The student must submit the request for an extension to his/her advisor [dissertation chair] no later than 25 business days prior to the expected graduation date. However, the School of Education strongly encourages students to request the extension (a medical, military, or personal leave) as early as possible so that faculty members can work with students granted a leave to make sure that they will be able to meet all degree requirements and be eligible for graduation in a timely manner upon their return. When the student submits a request only 25 days prior to the expected graduation date and is not granted an extension, it is unlikely that s/he will have time to complete the work and graduate.
  • The advisor [dissertation chair] will forward the request for extension with his/her recommendation to the designated school committee or office within 5 business days of receipt of the request.
  • The designated school committee or office will review the request for extension within 5 business days of receipt of the request and the advisor's recommendation.
  • The designated school committee or office will notify the student in writing of the decision to allow or deny the request within 5 business days of the decision.
  • If the request is denied, the student may file an appeal for review of the decision to the school's academic dean within 5 business days of the date of the relevant or designated school committee or office's written notification.
  • The academic dean will notify the student of his/her decision regarding the appeal within 5 business days of receipt of the appeal. The decision of the dean is final.

A student who does not complete his/her degree as required by the statute of limitations may not apply for re-admission to pursue the same degree at Duquesne University.

[The complete details of the process for requesting a Leave of Absence or Extension may be found in the School of Education Policy and Procedure Manual.]