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Athabasca University

Program Extension Requests

Definition of Program Extension

An amount of time that is added to the maximum number of years permitted in a program in order to allow students to complete their studies and graduate.

Details pertaining to a Program Extension

Each program may have a maximum number of years within which to fulfill the requirements of the degree, i.e. the number of years permitted between a student's initial registration after acceptance to the program and the completion of all requirements to graduate from that program.

Enrolling in graduate studies involves a commitment by the student to complete a program within a specified time frame. Adult learners may have difficulty completing their program within the length of time allowed due to unforeseen circumstances.

If a student is unable to complete the program within the expected maximum number of years for completion, a program extension may be considered. Requests for an extension will be considered only under compelling circumstances.

The maximum length of a program extension is one (1) year. In exceptional circumstances students may reapply if additional time is necessary.

Factors to consider before requesting a Program Extension

  • The timing of the request for a program extension must adhere to the relevant application procedures and deadlines for the student's program.
  • The maximum length of a program extension is one (1) year. In exceptional circumstances students may reapply if additional time is necessary.
  • It is the student's responsibility, if they are in receipt of an award/scholarship or other financial aid, to investigate the implications of their program extension on their funding.
  • It is the student's responsibility to become aware of any fees. A program extension (continuation fee) fee will be paid by the student upon approval of the program extension. Additional fees may be charged by the student's faculty/centre.

Procedures

  1. The request is initiated by the student.
    1. For students in the thesis-route and in the doctoral programs, the student completes an Annual Progress Report with their supervisor and supervisory committee (if formed). At this time the student's progress through the program is discussed with specific goals outlined for the subsequent year. After discussion and agreement by the supervisor, the student can proceed with their request for a program extension.
    2. In a course-based route, the graduate program director (or designate) may be the substitute for the supervisor. When the student is entering their final year of the expected time-to-completion, the student and the graduate program director may determine that the student will be unable to fulfill all of the requirements of the program within the remaining time left in the program. At this time the student may apply for a program extension.
  2. In the request, the student must submit the following information to the graduate program director:
    1. A summary of their progress to date;
    2. Reasons for the program extension (e.g. cause of delay, extenuating circumstances);
    3. Length of program extension requested (maximum one year); and
    4. A plan with timeline that indicates how the degree requirements will be completed in the period requested.
  3. The submission is presented to the graduate program director who then submits the documentation and recommendation to FGS for approval.
  4. Upon review of the documentation, FGS will notify the graduate program designate of the decision.

Approved at FGS Faculty Council November 1, 2012.

Updated February 15 2017 by Student & Academic Services

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