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Year of Graduate Study (G-Year)

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A student’s time in graduate study is measured by G-Year, which refers to the number of years of graduate study. For example, a student in their first year is a G1, in their second year a G2, and so on. Both the Registrar’s Office and academic programs track G-Year, which may diverge if the academic program approves an adjustment.

G10 Enrollment Cap

PhD candidates who have not completed the requirements for their degree by their 10th year of study will be withdrawn. Once the dissertation is complete, withdrawn students may apply for readmission to register for the purpose of receiving the degree.

  • Exceptions may be made for students with special circumstances. For more information, students should contact their program, which may confer with the Office of Student Affairs to review particular circumstances.
  • Exceptions to being withdrawn require a letter from the advisor, endorsed by the DGS, to Harvard Griffin GSAS Student Affairs explaining the: 
    1. Progress the student has made 
    2. Reason for exception (i.e., why student should remain enrolled) 
    3. Plan for completion with detailed timeline and departmental effort/support.

Adjustment to G-Year

A program may grant a student a G-Year adjustment to their Departmental G-Year in certain circumstances; students should reach out to their program for more information. If approved, the adjustment will apply to the G10 enrollment cap and, if applicable, to when the student invokes guaranteed teaching and applies for a dissertation completion fellowship. G-Year adjustments are not accompanied by additional funding but are aimed at providing students more time to meet academic deadlines/milestones by delaying them one year, such as: 

  • In department X, "general exams should be taken at the end of the third year.” A student in Registrar G4 (cumulative-time), who has been adjusted to a Departmental G3, will have approximately one extra year to complete their general exams.
  • In department Y, students "must submit their prospectus by the end of their G4 year.” A student in Registrar G5 (cumulative-time), who has been adjusted to a Departmental G4, will have approximately one extra year to submit their prospectus. 

Please contact your financial aid officer to discuss your specific situation.

Students who desire a change in their department G-Year based on a reason below should contact their program to submit a formal request; the program will confer with the Office of Student Affairs. A leave of absence may not be necessary to receive an adjustment for a medically documented illness, childbirth or major family-related issues, or other disruptions.

Disruption Caused by the Covid-19 Pandemic

An adjustment of one year can be made to the department G-year for students whose academic progress has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Delayed Start due to Visa Processing

An adjustment of one year to the department G-Year can be made if a student experiences delays outside of their control in visa processing, which delayed the start of their graduate work. This does not apply to students who have been approved to defer for one year.

Medically Documented Illness

An adjustment of one year to the department G-Year can be made for a medically documented illness. Documentation must be submitted to the Disability Access Office (DAO) providing an explanation of the illness signed by the attending physician. Contact the DAO for more details.

Childbirth or Major Family-Related Issues

An adjustment of one year can be made for childbirth or other major family-related interruptions of timely progress to the degree.

Active Military Service

An adjustment to the department G-Year can be made for the years a student is on active military service.

Coordinated Degree Program

An adjustment to the department G-Year can be made for the years in which a Harvard Griffin GSAS student is participating in the MD/PhD or JD/PhD Coordinated Program.

Beginning a Doctor of Philosophy Program from a Harvard Griffin GSAS Master’s Program

Students entering a PhD program from a Harvard Griffin GSAS master’s program will start as a G1 Departmental G-Year. Their Registrar G-Year will still reflect as a G2 or G3, depending on how long their master's program was, simply to track their cumulative time with Harvard Griffin GSAS. 

Other Disruptions

An adjustment to the department G-Year may be considered for students who suffer disruptions to their academic progress due to circumstances beyond their control. Please consult with the   the Office of Student Affairs. Documentation may be requested.

Contact Info

Disability Access Office  
1350 Massachusetts Avenue 
Smith Campus Center #470 
Cambridge, MA 02138

Phone: (617) 496-8707 
Fax: (617) 496-1098 


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