Department of Demography

Candidacy, Normative Time, and Filing Fee

It is essential that you understand the details of the various fee reduction programs at U.C. Berkeley, as they form an important part of your overall support package. Decisions regarding timing in fulfilling various departmental requirments, completing exams, filing for advancement and temporary withdrawals can all affect your eligibility for these important forms of support.


When a student has satisfied the language requirement, passed the oral qualifying examination, and has the prospectus approved by the thesis adviser, the student submits an application for advancement to candidacy to the Graduate Division. This application, available in Graduate Degrees, online, and in departmental offices, must be signed by the graduate adviser and the chair of the dissertation committee and accompanied by a check for the current amount of the application fee (see PhD Candidacy Application Form) made payable to the UC Regents.

The advancement form should be filed no later than the end of the semester following the one in which the student passed the qualifying examination. Students who fail to file for advancement soon after they pass their exams may jeopardize the validity of the exam; qualifying examinations more than five years old will usually not be accepted as representing current knowledge. In addition, you are encouraged to time your orals so that they are taken at least three months before the deadline to Advance to Candidacy so that you will have sufficient time for completion and approval of your prospectus (a departmental requirement before the Graduate Advisor will sign approval for you to Advance). Remember that your dissertation advisor must also sign your Advancement forms; therefore, do not neglect to secure both these signatures before faculty leave during the summer.

Reduction in Nonresident Tuition

Effective in fall 1997 for graduate students who have been advanced to candidacy for the doctorate, the annual nonresident supplemental tuition fee is waived, subject to the understanding that:

(a) a graduate doctoral student may receive a waiver of nonresident supplemental tuition for a maximum calendar period of three consecutive years; and

(b) any such student who continues to be enrolled or who re-enrolls after the three-year period will be charged the full nonresident supplemental tuition rate that is in effect at the time.

Normative Time Program

Normative Time is the elapsed time, calculated to the nearest semester, that students would need to complete all requirements for the doctorate, assuming that they are engaged in full-time study and making adequate progress toward their degrees. The purpose of the program is to provide incentives to both students and departments to reduce the average amount of time taken to complete a doctoral degree.

There are two parts to Normative Time for each program: Normative Time to Advancement and Normative Time in Candidacy. The first represents the number of semesters expected for you to have completed all of your course requirements, pass your PhD exams, have your prospectus approved and be able to file for Advancement to Candidacy. The second represents the remaining semesters that you will still be within Normative Time for completion of your dissertation.

For the Demography Phd, Normative Time is as follows:

  • Normative Time to Advancement: 6 semesters
  • Normative Time in Candidacy: 4 semesters
  • Total Normative Time: 10 semesters

For the Sociology/Demography Phd, Normative Time is as follows:

  • Normative Time to Advancement: 8 semesters
  • Normative Time in Candidacy: 4 semesters
  • Total Normative Time: 12 semesters

Approved Withdrawals

A maximum of two semesters of withdrawal (documented by formal petition) are allowed and will not count in calculating a student's eligibility for medical and parental leave only. Unlike past normative time programs, a withdrawal for research or other academic purposes will count in accrued time. If no withdrawal form is filed, the interim semesters will count in accrued time. Retroactive withdrawals will not be permitted for purposes of the calculation of Normative Time.


Dean's Completion Fellowship

The Doctoral Completion Fellowship (DCF) provides an incentive for students in certain graduate programs, to complete their degree within a reasonable time. This is a new fellowship program available to students in participating graduate programs, including the Demography and Sociology and Demography doctorate programs, who enter in Fall 2010 or later. It replaces the Dean’s Normative Time Fellowship (DNTF).

This program applies only to students in participating graduate programs who entered in Fall 2010 or later. Students in qualifying programs admitted in Spring 2010 and before remain under the the DNTF program.

The Doctoral Completion Fellowship encourages students to complete their degree within one year (two semesters) beyond their major’s Normative Time to Degree.

Eligibility for the Doctoral Completion Fellowship

To be eligible for the DCF students must:

  • Be advanced to candidacy
  • Be in good academic standing with a minimum GPA of 3.0
  • Have a satisfactory online Academic Progress Report for the most recently completed academic year
  • Have participated in PhD completion activities or in other requirements, as directed by their program


Timetable for Using the DCF

Eligible students may activate the fellowship at any time after their advancement to candidacy, through the end of the year Normative Time to Degree (NTD) plus one year.

Academic Progress Report

Eligible students wishing to activate the DCF must have initiated the online Annual Academic Progress Report in the previous year (ending the day before the start of fall semester) and their dissertation committee chair’s assessment must be that their progress is satisfactory.

Consequences of Using the DCF

Filing of the dissertation is expected to occur before the end of one year past Normative Time to Degree at the latest. Consequently, no university funding can be awarded to a student who has activated the DCF beyond one year past Normative Time to Degree (Normative Time plus one year grace period). This includes paid employment of all kinds, as well as block grant and departmentally restricted funds. Students may take out loans or use their own outside funding to continue after one year past Normative Time to Degree.

The Filing Fee option is available to students who have used the DCF, assuming they qualify (must not have previously used the Filing Fee; must have been registered in the previous semester; must not be using any university resources).

Normative Time Calculation

Both the DNTF and DCF require students to maintain progress based on Normative Time for their degree program. Every semester enrolled or withdrawn, formally or informally, counts in the calculation of elapsed semesters of Normative Time, with limited exceptions for approved medical withdrawal or parental accommodation under Graduate Council policy. Any withdrawal for research or other academic purposes will count in accrued time, as will semesters included in retroactive withdrawals (except approved retroactive medical withdrawals).

Medical Withdrawal

A maximum of two semesters of withdrawal for medical purposes, documented by a formal withdrawal, cancellation by the program, or retroactive withdrawal petition, will not count in calculating a student’s eligibility for the DNTF or DCF.

Parental Accommodation

The Graduate Council’s 2007 statement on doctoral student parent accommodation says that “A student eligible for the Dean’s Normative Time Fellowship (DNTF) who has been granted a time extension for parental accommodation is entitled to a credit in the normative time calculation. Credit for up to two semesters of parental leave before advancement to candidacy will be granted provided that either 1) the student formally withdraws for that purpose, or 2) the student intends to register to undertake a modified schedule and applies for parental leave status before or at the start of the proposed semester of leave.”

The same parental policy guidance will be applied to the Doctoral Completion Fellowship (DCF).


Procedure to request parental accommodation in Normative Time calculation for DNTF or DCF: When a student parent intends to register to undertake a modified schedule and applies for parental leave status before or at the start of the proposed semester of leave, the Head Graduate Adviser should send a memorandum requesting credit in normative time calculations to the Graduate Degrees Office. Retroactive requests will not be considered.

More information can be found in the Guide to Graduate Policy.


Time in Candidacy, Lapsing, Reinstatement, and Termination of Candidacy

Candidacy for the doctorate is of limited duration. When students are advanced to candidacy, the Graduate Division informs them of the number of semesters they are eligible to be candidates, based on time in candidacy, or Normative Time, calculations for each discipline. Students who do not complete the requirements within that time, plus a two-year grace period, will have their candidacy lapsed by the Graduate Division.

Filing Fee

The Filing Fee is a reduced fee for graduate students who have completed all requirements for the degree except for filing the master's thesis or doctoral dissertation or taking the final comprehensive examination for the master's degree or the Final Examination for the doctorate. The Filing Fee is not a form of registration or equivalent to registration. If students wish to use University services that are supported by registration fees, they must pay those fees.

The Filing Fee is equal to one-half the Student Services Fee.

Starting in fall semester, 2002, those who are on Filing Fee, and thus are not registered and enrolled, will not be approved for academic student appointments. The Filing Fee will apply for the length of the semester for which Filing Fee status has been approved, up to the deadline for filing for a degree in that semester. These dates vary from year to year, but are approximately December 20 and May 25 of each year. You may check the current filing deadlines here.

The Filing Fee may be used only once. However, students currently in graduate programs who have used the Filing Fee to file for a master's degree in spring semester, 2002, or in a prior semester, will be permitted to apply for Filing Fee for the doctoral degree.

Students may file for graduate degrees during the Summer Sessions if they are registered and enrolled. Degrees for which students file in Summer Sessions will be awarded as of the end of the following fall semester. Summer Sessions enrollment, for purposes of the regulations covered in this memo, must be for a minimum of three units. The current fees for Summer Sessions can be found on the Summer Sessions Fee Schedule website.

As in the past, to be approved for the Filing Fee, students will have to have been continuously enrolled during all periods of study and research that have required use of University facilities or faculty consultation. Two semesters of approved withdrawal are permitted, but the student must be registered in the semester (or in a Summer Session) immediately preceding the one for which Filing Fee status is requested.

Students must apply for the Filing Fee by the end of the first week of classes of the semester in which they intend to file.

Filing Fee status satisfies the registration requirement for international students. They should contact the Berkeley International Office (BIO) well before the beginning of the semester during which they will use the Filing Fee in order to avoid visa problems with the U.S. Immigration Services.

If it is determined that a student is ineligible for Filing Fee status, the student will be required to pay full registration fees to complete final requirements for the degree.

Students on Filing Fee status may not take course work or use any University facilities not available to the general public. They are eligible only for the faculty time necessary for a final reading of a thesis or dissertation or judging a final examination. Students must be registered in order to receive advice on academic requirements by a faculty member, whether the faculty member is out-of-town, on sabbatical, or temporarily off the UC payroll.