3.21 Graduation

A. Official Graduation Periods
B. Completion of Graduate Course of Study
C. Holds on Graduation for Outstanding Degree Requirements
D. Posthumous Degrees

A. Official Graduation Periods
There are three official graduations per year for graduate students: at the end of the fall and spring semesters and at the end of the second summer session. Formal commencement exercises are held at the end of the fall and spring semesters, but any student who graduated the preceding second summer session is eligible to participate in the fall commencement exercises. All students scheduled to graduate in the fall or spring semesters are strongly encouraged to attend the respective commencement. Any doctoral candidate wishing to have the degree conferred in absentia must notify the Graduate School in writing; master's candidates should contact their departments or programs.

Each semester the Graduate Dean receives requests from students or their families that students be allowed to participate in commencement ceremonies without having completed degree requirements or having met the appropriate deadlines for completion of requirements. The Administrative Board of the Graduate School reaffirms the Graduate School's regulation that the thesis defense deadline must be observed and all degree requirements met for a student to participate in the University commencement ceremony. [Recommended by the Administrative Board of the Graduate School and approved by the Dean of the Graduate School on 4/13/89.]

B. Completion of Graduate Course of Study
[Approved by the Administrative Board of the Graduate School on 12/11/03.]
For students in Ph.D./Ed.D. programs and in master's programs requiring a thesis, the date of "completion of the course of study" depends upon (1) the date the student submits the thesis or dissertation to the Graduate School, (2) the date the student receives thesis or dissertation format approval by the Graduate School, and (3) the date that the entire advisory committee has approved the thesis or dissertation.

  • 1. The date of completion of the course of study is Commencement Day for a given semester if
    • (a) the student submits the thesis or dissertation to the Graduate School for initial review on or after the first day of classes for a given semester but on or before the semester deadline for submission of theses or dissertations;
    • (b) the student submits all required formatting revisions to the Graduate School and receives Graduate School format approval on or before the deadline for the same semester; and
    • (c) the advisory committee approves the thesis or dissertation on or before the last day of classes for the same semester.
    • The student must register for the semester, and the degree will be awarded on Commencement Day of the semester.
  • 2. The date of completion of the course of study is the last day of classes in the first summer session if
    • (a) the student submits the thesis or dissertation to the Graduate School for initial review on or after the first day of classes for the first summer session;
    • (b) the student submits all required formatting revisions to the Graduate School and receives Graduate School format approval on or before the deadline for the first summer session; and
    • (c) the advisory committee approves the thesis or dissertation on or before the last day of classes for the same semester.
    • The student must register for the first summer session and the degree will be awarded on the last day of final examinations of the second summer session.
  • 3. The date of completion of the course of study is the last day of classes in the second summer session if
    • (a) the student submits the thesis or dissertation to the Graduate School for initial review on or after the first day of classes for the first summer session, but on or before the deadline for submission of theses or dissertations in the second summer session of the same year;
    • (b) the student submits all required formatting revisions to the Graduate School and receives Graduate School format approval on or before the deadline for the second summer session; and
    • (c) the advisory committee approves the thesis or dissertation on or before the last day of classes for the same semester.
    • The student must register for one of the two summer sessions and the degree will be awarded on the last day of final examinations for the second summer session.

The date of completion of the course of study is the date that the thesis or dissertation is approved by the advisory committee if the student submits the thesis or dissertation to the Graduate School after the deadline for submission of theses or dissertations in a given semester (or summer session), but before the first day of classes of the next semester or first summer session (whichever follows).

The student is not required to register during the next semester (or summer session) in order to graduate at the end of that semester (or second summer session). However, the student must be registered when the thesis or dissertation is first submitted to the Graduate School. In cases where the thesis or dissertation is submitted between semesters or between a semester and a summer session, the student must be registered in the immediately preceding semester or summer session.

See also the ETD web site and the Graduate Academic Calendar.

C. Holds on Graduation for Outstanding Degree Requirements
Students who are on the graduation list but have outstanding requirements (incomplete grades, corrections in theses or dissertations, etc.) are put on "hold" for a period of 30 days following graduation. The Director of Graduate Programs (DGP) will be notified of this action. If the student does not satisfy the outstanding requirements within 30 days following graduation, his or her name will be dropped from the graduation list. The student will be put back on the graduation list for the next graduation following completion of the requirements. If the student does not complete the outstanding requirements during the initial 30-day "hold" period, the semester or session in question will be applied toward the time-to-degree limit. If the time limit for the degree is exceeded before the requirements are met, the student must apply and receive a time extension before being cleared for graduation. [Recommended by the Administrative Board of the Graduate School and approved by the Dean of the Graduate School on 10/22/92.]

D. Posthumous Degrees
Programs can petition the Administrative Board of the Graduate School to award posthumous degrees. In most cases, these petitions have been granted for students who had completed a portion of their thesis or dissertation, or at least, the research upon which the final project would have been based. The DGPs should contact the Graduate Dean or the Senior Associate Dean to prepare the request for the Board's consideration.