How to Graduate

The Graduate School of Arts & Sciences awards master’s and doctoral degrees in August, December and May. The university conducts commencement exercises annually in mid-May. There is no ceremony in August or December.

Application for Graduate Degree

Students must apply to graduate through MyAccess (instructions below) in order to be awarded their degree. Students who wish to graduate in August or December must apply to graduate by the first working day of those months. Students who wish to graduate in May are advised to apply to graduate by the first working day of February. Those who apply later than the first working day of February may be cleared to graduate, but they will not have their names in the Commencement program book and their diplomas may not be available at the Commencement ceremony in May.

Dissertations, doctoral projects or theses of students whose programs require them must be accepted by the Graduate School no later than the first business day of May. All other degree requirements must be met by the Monday preceding May Commencement. In December, the date by which the dissertations, doctoral projects or theses must be accepted generally corresponds with the end of the exam period.

Graduation applications for students who do not meet all requirements by the deadline for the term in which they applied will be inactivated. Students must create a new Application for Graduate Degree for the following academic term in which the student intends to graduate.

How to Apply to Graduate

  1. Login to MyAccess.
  2. From the main menu, select the Student tab
  3. Click on Student Records
  4. Click Apply to Graduate
  5. Select the appropriate program or degree
    • Dual/joint degree students must create a graduation application for each degree. If a dual or joint degree student (i.e. JD/MSFS) is applying for both degrees in the same term, the student must apply for each degree separately. A student may not use one graduation application to apply for both degrees.
  6. Select the month in which you want to graduate (August, December, May)* The default date will be the last day of the month regardless of the date set for graduation in that month.
  7. Click Continue
  8. Indicate whether or not you will be attending the commencement ceremony. Your response can be changed later, though not through MyAccess.
  9. Click Continue
  10. Select the name you want to appear on your diploma
    • It is traditional to show your full name on a diploma, but the name must match the name on your student record.
    • The Graduate Bulletin states that the name on diplomas must match the one on a student’s record. If the name that appears is not the name you want on your diploma, select “new” and enter the name as you want it to appear. Note that if you enter a different name, you must submit a name change form and documentation to the Registrar’s Office. If your name is not changed by the Registrar’s Office within a month of your application to graduate, the name on your graduation application and diploma will be changed match the one on your student record.
    • Chosen Names entered in MyAccess are NOT acceptable for diplomas. Please submit the name change form along with documentation to the Registrar’s Office.
    • If your name has special characters such as accent marks, enter them in MyAccess. Please note that the printer cannot produce all special characters. After you have completed the application to graduate, email so that we can track the exception.
  11. Click Continue
  12. Select the address to which you want your diploma mailed. If the address you want is not currently listed, select “New” and enter the appropriate information.
  13. Verify the information you have entered. If everything is correct, click “Submit Request” to complete the process.
  14. There is no email confirmation. Instructions on viewing an existing graduation application in MyAccess are below.


*When applying to graduate in May, select the May 31, 2020 option. Your degree will be conferred on May 14, 15, or 16, 2020, based on your school.

Graduation Deadlines

Students must apply to graduate no later than the first business day of the month in which they intend to graduate. These also deadlines apply for students applying for a master’s in passing so students should keep them in mind when submitting a Student Petition for Change to Graduate Program to the Graduate School. Students requesting a master’s in passing should NOT apply to graduate in MyAccess.

Monthly Graduation Deadlines

Intended Graduation Month : Degree Date Application Due Date
August : August 24, 2020 August 3, 2020
December : December 31, 2020 December 1, 2020
May : May 14, 15, 16, 2020  ‡
(date based on your school)
May 1, 2020*
  • *Special application deadlines for May graduates apply. Be sure to read the “Spring Graduation Deadlines” note below.
  • Commencement weekend is the only graduation date available for the month of May. Graduating on May 31 is not an option.

Spring Graduate Application Deadlines

Special deadlines apply for Spring semester graduation, as noted below:

You MUST apply to graduate NO LATER THAN FEBRUARY 3, 2020 if you wish to: (a) have your diploma available at the May graduation ceremony and (b) have your name and graduation information printed in the Commencement Book. This early deadline is required by the production schedules of both the diplomas and Commencement Book.

The February 3, 2020 deadline also applies for students applying for a master’s in passing so these students should submit the relevant Student Petition for Change to Graduate Program to the Graduate School by the February 3, 2020 deadline.

After February 3, 2020, you may apply to graduate up until May 1. Dissertations, doctoral projects and theses must be accepted by the Graduate School on May 1 so require earlier action. If you apply after February 3 for May graduation, you will be able to participate in the  Commencement ceremony, but your diploma MAY NOT be available at that time and your graduation information WILL NOT be printed in the 2020 Commencement Book.

Contacting the Graduate School

All questions about graduation and other academic topics may be directed to the Graduate Student Services email account at: 


Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Commencement will take place during the weekend of May 14-16, 2020. Detailed information about the May ceremony can be found on the Graduate School Commencement webpages. These pages will be updated in February.

How to Check your Graduation Application (prior to graduation)

  1. Follow the instructions above to use MyAccess to go to Student Records.
  2. Click on the View Application to Graduate link.
  3. On the next screen headed Graduation Application
    • Under that heading, you will see the Request Date and confirmation that you have an “Active Application” that will be processed for the month noted in the Graduation Date in the next section.
    • Under Diploma Name, you will see the name as it will appear on your diploma
    • The heading Diploma Mailing Address, shows the address where the diploma will be sent if you are unable to come pick it up
  4. If you need to change any of this information, please email