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The M.A. degree requires the satisfactory completion of at least 30 semester hours of graduate work which must include at least 3 hours of ANTH 393. The M.A. also requires minimum residence credit of two semesters.

The Ph.D. degree requires four semesters of residence credit, at least two of which must be earned in continuous registration at UNC-CH. The Ph.D. requirement includes time in residence at UNC while working toward the M.A. if that degree is received first.

Consult the Graduate School Handbook for details of calculating residence credits.


The University time restriction is 5 calendar years from the date of first registration in the master’s program to complete the master’s degree, excluding time for which a leave of absence has been secured from the Graduate School.


The University time restriction is 8 calendar years from the date of first registration in the doctoral program to complete the doctoral degree, excluding time for which a leave of absence has been secured from the Graduate School.  A student admitted to a master’s program and later given formal permission to proceed to the doctoral degree has eight calendar years from the date of receipt of the master’s degree to complete the doctoral degree.  Reapplication is required to continue pursuit of the degree if the eight-year limit expires.

It is very important that students apply for a leave of absence where full-time work or personal obligations prevent them from making progress towards the degree (see Section G below.) A leave of absence “stop the clock” on the time limit may help avoid difficulties in securing extensions. Note that leave of absence will affect health insurance and other University benefits.


Extensions to the above time limits for completion of the M.A. and Ph.D. degrees can be granted only by petition to the Dean of the Graduate School. A student should consult with the Director of Graduate Studies and complete the Request for Extension of Time form , asking him or her to forward to the Dean the department’s recommendation regarding the extension (which may be for approval or denial, depending on circumstances).  Submitting a petition directly to the Dean without obtaining a statement from the department unnecessarily complicates and delays the review process.


A student who fails to register for a semester is dropped from the University roll and must be readmitted. Applications for readmission for the Fall semester must be filed with the graduate school by July 1st. The deadline for the Spring semester is December 1st.


Official withdrawal from the University is required if a student wishes to drop all courses after a semester begins.   The student must obtain a Withdrawal Form from the department and complete the withdrawal steps as indicated on the form.  If at the time of withdrawal the student is failing any course, a grade of F is assigned to the student’s permanent record and the student becomes ineligible to continue in the Graduate School.

A student who withdraws during the first semester of enrollment in an academic program must formally apply for new admission (Admission Applicaiton, application fee, current GRE scores, etc.) to the program if he or she wishes to pursue the degree at some future date.

Withdrawal from the University is not equivalent to a formal leave of absence from the Graduate School.

A student who receives a medical withdrawal may be required to receive medical clearance before being readmitted.

International students who withdraw from the University may face critical consequences regarding their visa status.  International students should contact the Office of International Student and Scholar Services to discuss the implications of noncompliance well in advance of proessing a withdrawal.

Withdrawal from the University also has financial consequences for students who have been awarded tuition remission and/or in-state tuition awards through a fellowship or assistantship appointment.


Within the eight-year limit, a student in good academic standing may request one leave of absence from graduate study for a definite stated period of time (up to one year) during which the student does not plan to make academic progress.  To be eligible for a leave of absence, a student must not have received an extension of the degree time limit and must not have temporary grades of IN or AB on courses taken.  A leave of absence between degrees is not allowed.

In advance of the leave period, the student must complete and submit a Request for Leave of Absence Form to the Director of Graduate Studies for approval.  If approved, it will then be forwarded to the Graduate School for approval.  If the Graduate School approves the leave of absence, the time of that leave will not count against the total time allowed for the degree.  Readmission to the Graduate School after an approved leave of absence is generally a formality.  Ordinarily, a leave of absence may not be renewed.

Regardless of whether a graduate student officially secures a leave from the Graduate School, the student must notify his or her advisor and the Director of Graduate Studies, in writing, of intent to take a leave. The notification will be placed in the student’s file. Failure to notify will be taken into account when the student applies for readmission.

Students should be aware that while on leave, they cannot be considered enrolled students and therefore will not have access to campus services and benefits afforded to enrolled students, including eligibility for holding student employment positions (e.g., TA or RA) or student health insurange, among other services.

Students taking advantage of the Parental Leave Policy do not need to file a separate Leave of Absence request.


A formal request for readmission to The Graduate School is required whenever a student fails to register for a regular (fall/spring) semester or withdraws during a semester for any reason-whether the student had an approved leave of absence, withdrew during the semester, or simply did not register.  To resume their studies, such students must submit an Application for Readmission according to the following deadlines:

*  July 1 for the Fall semester

*  December 1 for the Spring semester

Readmission after a long absence is not automatic and will be reviewed carefully by the academic program prior to making a recommendation to The Graduate School.  If a student is not registered for as long as two academic years, a new immunization record and Medical History Form must also be submitted to Student Health Service to avoid future registration cancellation.