A graduate degree, at either the master's or doctoral level, implies a significant mastery of a discipline within a specified time period. A well designed curriculum is not a mere collection of classes that add up to a set number of credits. It is, rather, a coherent selection of courses with an overall educational achievement that is greater than the sum of its parts. However, this coherence is lost if the program is completed over a long time span.
Master's degree requirements must be completed within a five-year period from the semester of admission. For those master's programs requiring 45 or more credits, the time limit is six years.
The doctoral degree must be completed within an eight-year period beginning with the semester of admission as fully matriculated or matriculated with conditions.
A student may obtain an extension of one year by filing an Academic Petition (http://www.uml.edu/docs/petition_grad_tcm18-3545.pdf) signed by his or her coordinator, department chair, and college dean, and which is then submitted to the Registrar's Office.
In exceptional cases, an additional extension may be granted by the Graduate Policy and Affairs Committee (GPAC). In this case, the student must submit an Academic Petition (http://www.uml.edu/docs/petition_grad_tcm18-3545.pdf), a letter of explanation accompanied by a detailed schedule for degree completion, and a letter from the student's coordinator or thesis advisor in support of the request.