Graduation Guide

Graduate students nearing completion of degree requirements should familiarize themselves with the schedule of deadlines for each academic year. Questions regarding these deadlines should be directed to the office issuing them. Participation in the May Commencement Ceremony is contingent on meeting the appropriate deadlines. Please note that Ph.D. and final master’s degree students completing all requirements by the first eight weeks of the fall semester or first four week of the spring semester are eligible for a tuition deferall and should speak with a Student Accounts Officer for more details.

Ph.D. candidates and Krieger School Master’s candidates should refer to the Graduate Board Calendar for the current schedule of deadlines.

Whiting School Master’s candidates should refer to the Engineering School’s Office of Graduate Academic Affairs website for the current Completion Schedule of deadlines.

The Graduate Board considers candidates for the Ph.D. and the Krieger School’s M.A., and M.S. degrees three times a year (August, November and April). The Whiting School of Engineering considers candidates for its master’s degrees four times each year (end of summer, end of first eight weeks of fall, end of fall and end of spring).

While there is only one Commencement Ceremony, held annually in May, degrees completed during the preceding academic year are conferred periodically throughout the academic year and diplomas are issued at the end of the summer, fall, and spring semesters.

Graduation Forms

All graduate students expected to graduate must submit a series of forms (listed below). All documents listed below are to be submitted to the indicated office by the deadlines specified in either the Graduate Board Calendar or the Completion Schedule per degree/School. All Ph.D. candidates and Krieger School Master’s candidates should follow the Graduate Board Calendar and all Whiting School Master’s candidates should follow the Whiting School’s Completion Schedule.

Application to Graduate (all candidates)
All students should check the Registrar’s Office’s website for submission deadlines. Ph.D. and terminal master’s candidates should complete this form online through ISIS self-service. The online form is not available to non-final master’s candidates. Non-final master’s candidates must apply in-person in the Registrar’s Office. Candidates who do not complete this form WILL NOT be included on the degree candidates listing presented to the President of the university and therefore will be delayed in having their degree conferred.

Graduate Board Oral Exam (all Ph.D. candidates)
All Ph.D. candidates must defend their dissertation. Some departments count the dissertation defense as the students GBO examination as well – sometimes referred to as the Final GBO exam. The deadline for completing the Final GBO exam if applicable to your department is listed on the Graduate Board Calendar. If the student’s GBO exam was a Preliminary Exam the Graduate Board should already have received the results of that examination. Please consult your department administrator to verify. While the GBO Form is available online (scroll to School of Arts & Sciences and School of Engineering GBO Form) it is not to be completed by the student, but rather the appointed faculty or staff member from the department.

Readers Letter (all Ph.D. candidates and Krieger School Master’s candidates)
This document is provided to the Graduate Board by the student’s advisor and must be sent to the Graduate Board by the deadline given on the Graduate Board Calendar.

Certificate of Advanced Degree (all Ph.D. candidates and Krieger School Master’s candidates)
This form is only available to department administrators to fill out and should be submitted to the Graduate Board by the deadline given on the Graduate Board Calendar.

Certificate of Advanced Degree (Whiting School Master’s candidates)
Each WSE department has its own paperwork that is submitted to the Engineering School’s Office of Academic Affairs. Graduate students should check with their department’s Graduate Program Coordinator to acquire the appropriate form.

Doctoral Dissertation (all candidates)
Dissertations are to be electronically submitted to the library. Please review the ETD Checklist prior to submitting the dissertation.

Dissertation Submission Email to the Graduate Board
Graduate students will be required to send an email to with the following items:
1) A copy of the confirmation email they receive after electronic submission.
2) The title of their dissertation typed in the body of the email with correct spelling and punctuation. Please do not use all capital letters in the title.
Students will not be placed on the degree candidate’s listing for approval by the Graduate Board and President of the University until the email has been received by the appropriate Graduate Board deadline.
Please Note: Students are highly encouraged to cc their department admin on this email. However, it is the student’s responsibility to follow the preferred notification process, as set out by their department administrator, to inform his or her department that their dissertation has been accepted by the Binding Office.

Although students will receive a submission confirmation email, their dissertation/theses must be approved and accepted by the library before the student can be placed on the final degree candidate’s listing for approval. Students will receive a second approval confirmation email once their dissertation/theses is accepted. The library will notify the GB of all accepted submissions.

Master’s Essay* (all candidates)
If required for the degree, the Master’s essay is to be electronically submitted to the library. Please review the ETD checklist prior to submitting the thesis.

The Graduate Board’s Information for Degree Candidates site provides further detail regarding the documents listed above.

Scheduling the Graduate Board Oral Exam

The Graduate Board’s website provides information on the purpose of the exam, on scheduling an exam, on the committee composition, and on the examination procedures. Graduate Board Exams may be held throughout the academic year. The GBO Form to schedule a GBO examination should be submitted in writing at least three weeks prior to the proposed examination date. Students must be registered for the semester in which they take their exam.

Dissertations should be provided to the examiners at least two weeks before the date of a Final GBO Exam. Students and advisors are responsible for distributing copies to the examiners.

Thesis Guidelines

The Library provides detailed information on properly formatting a dissertation or thesis. Dissertations not formatted according to our guidelines will not be accepted. Additionally, the Library provides information on the submission process.

Part-Time Krieger School of Arts and Sciences Master’s Ceremony

The May Commencement Ceremony for part-time master’s degree candidates is run in collaboration with the Advanced Academic Programs which is the Krieger School’s part-time programs division. Part-time candidates can find information regarding the Application for Graduation at On that webpage, a link to the current year’s Commencement Ceremony is also made available which details essential information relating to the graduation ceremony.
As the AAP procedures do not pertain to full-time graduate students finishing with a master’s degree (especially those from Writing Seminars, and Public Policy), those student should follow the instructions provided on this Graduation Guide webpage and not those provided on the AAP website.

Student Employment after Graduation

The University has strict employment guidelines regarding continued University employment for both international and domestic graduate students following the completion of degree requirements. Students should refer to the Converting Students to Staff section of the Student Employment Service’s Employer Handbook for information on these guidelines. International graduate students should be sure to read the information pertaining to them, as the regulations are different than those for domestic students.

*Only if an essay is required for the degree.