The University of Waterloo allows a specific amount of time for students to complete their degrees (refer to the char below). While registered full-time and within these limits students are eligible for financial support.


Time Limits

Minimum Residency*


6 terms (2 years)

3 terms (1 year)


12 terms (4 years)

6 terms (2 years)

Ph.D. - direct entry

18 terms (6 years)

9 terms (3 years)

Ph.D. - transfer

* enrolled full-time and on-campus

Once a student goes beyond their time limits, a Request for Extension of Program Time Limits form must be submitted to the Biology Graduate Office and are approved by the Associate Chair. Subsequent extensions (4th and beyond) are approved by the Associate Chair, as well as the Associate Dean, Graduate Studies for Science.

Students beyond their time limits are no longer eligible for the Science Graduate Award (SGA), and most scholarships and awards are time-limited. In addition, your supervisor is not obligated to pay you a Graduate Research Studentship (GRS) once you have exceeded your program time limit. Students who go beyond their program time limits should discuss any funding possibilities with their supervisor.