This checklist is meant to be used as a supplement to information obtained from the University Catalog, the Schedule of Courses, the major department, and as an aid to meeting Graduate School requirements for the doctoral degree.  The major department should be consulted about specific additional requirements.

In brief, to graduate you must:

  • Be admitted into candidacy
  • Apply to graduate online for the current semester of graduation
  • Have no incomplete course work
  • Be continuously registered for either three (part-time status) or five (full-time status) dissertation hours each fall and spring semester after passing the comprehensive exam.  DMA students should register full-time for dissertation project hours or TMUS 8029. AuD students should register for appropriate coursework/internship credits and full time registration is required during the semester of the final examination
  • Stay within the six year time limit to complete your degree
  • Have the Graduate School approval of the final defense committee
  • Successfully defend your dissertation
  • Be registered as a full-time student the semester you defend
  • If you are an international student in F-1 or J-1 status, ask an advisor in International Student and Scholar Service* about immigration requirements for the semester following the defense 
  • Have your department submit a final grade card for dissertation hours
  • Meet all deadlines
  • Have earned a grade of B- or better in all classes applying toward your degree
  • Have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0
  • Have a minimum of 30 hours of course work for the PhD and DMA. PhD students must also have a minimum of 30 dissertation hours
  • Submit electronically and obtain approval of your dissertation to the Graduate School, and submit hard copy of signature page to Graduate School, both by dissertation submission deadline
  • Have at least six semesters of full-time registration on the Boulder campus (two part-time semesters equals one full-time)
  • Meet all departmental requirements

A deadline calendar is available from your department or the Graduate School. To assure graduation during a particular semester all deadlines must be met. Graduation deadlines are also available on the Graduate School Calendar.

All courses listed on the Application for Admission to Candidacy must have been taught by members of the graduate faculty, must have grades of B- or better, and must be at the 5000 level or above. For policies concerning academic probation, refer to the graduate school rules in the University Catalog.

All courses 5000 or above must be taught by faculty who have been approved for a graduate faculty appointment. Membership on the University faculty does not automatically constitute an appointment to the graduate faculty. Contact your departmental graduate program assistant for questions concerning these appointments.

The Request for Transfer of Credit form should be completed, approved by the major department, have an official transcript (including transcript key) attached, and submitted to the Graduate School after completion of six credits as a regular degree-seeking graduate student with a GPA of 3.0 or better. A maximum of 21 semester hours taken at other schools (this includes other CU campuses) and/or taken as a non-degree student at CU-Boulder may be transferred. Transfer courses must have a grade of B or better. Transfer grades and credits are not calculated into the graduate GPA. See the back of the form for further transfer of credit rules.

Students should apply to the department for assistantships. The maximum appointment that a student can hold during the academic year is 50%. A student must be considered full-time to hold an assistantship. Full-time prior to the comprehensive exam is 5 hours of 5000 and above course work, a combination of 8 hours if taking graduate and undergraduate courses, or any number of dissertation hours. After passing the comprehensive exam full-time is a minimum of 5 dissertation hours per semester.

Per federal law, all student research that involves any contact with human subjects or animals requires some level of review and approval by the Institutional Review Board and/or the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committe prior to the research being initiated. Failure to abide by this policy can result in a delay of graduation and/or fulfillment of degree requirements. More information on human and animal research is available on the Vice Chancellor for Research site.

Students must be free to pursue knowledge in an open environment. Any petition for student involvement in research projects that imposes either explicit or potential restrictions that could affect students' academic research and publications must be vetted by the Standing Committee on Restricted, Proprietary, and Classified Research and approved by Chancellor or Chancellor’s designee. Concurrence by the department chair or graduate advisor must also be provided to the student(s). Students may not engage in classified research as part of their formal academic work. This information is available on the Vice Chancellor for Research site.

The comprehensive exam must be scheduled with the Graduate School at least two weeks in advance by submitting a Doctoral Examination Report form obtained from your department. The form must list a minimum of 5 committee members who will be approved by the Graduate School. The chair of the committee must have a current regular or tenured appointment. The other four members must have either a regular or special appointment. Students must be registered as regular degree seeking students on the Boulder campus the semester the exam is held. To pass the exam the student must have the affirmative vote of the majority of the committee. Membership on the University faculty does not automatically constitute an appointment to the graduate faculty. Contact your departmental graduate program assistant for questions concerning these appointments.

The Application for Admission to Candidacy is considered to be a legal document and must be signed by the student and have appropriate departmental signatures. This is considered your degree plan and will be verified against your records. To be admitted into candidacy the student must pass the comprehensive exam and have the Application for Admission to Candidacy approved by the Graduate School. Students will receive written notification when the application for candidacy has been approved.

A minimum of 30 dissertation hours are required for the PhD. A maximum of 10 hours accrued prior to the semester of passing comps may be counted toward the required 30. Up to 10 hours during the semester of the comp exam may be counted. A minimum of 10 hours taken over the semesters following comps is necessary.

After passing the comprehensive exam a PhD student is required to be continuously registered each fall and spring semester through the semester of the dissertation defense. The registration requirement is full-time (5 dissertation hours) or part-time status (3 dissertation hours). The semester of the defense full-time registration is required.

The DMA continuous registration requirement is enrollment in dissertation credits having the course number 8200-8399 or TMUS 8029 through the semester in which the final examination is completed. AuD students should register for appropriate coursework/internship credits and full time registration is required during the semester of the final examination.

Students must complete all requirements for the degree within six years of commencing work in the doctoral program. Students who wish to request additional time must petition the Dean of the Graduate School and have their faculty advisor’s endorsement. Completion of requirements includes defending the dissertation and submission to the Graduate School. Any semester(s) on Time Off are included in the time limit to complete the degree.

PhD students must submit the title of the dissertation by e-mail to gradinfo@colorado.edu.  The e-mail should also include your name, student ID number, and department. This title will appear on your transcript after your degree is awarded.

The defense should be scheduled with the Graduate School by submitting a Doctoral Examination Report at least two weeks in advance. The defense committee is comprised of a minimum of 5 members who must have current graduate faculty appointments. Three of the members must be Boulder campus resident faculty. The chair and outside member should both have a regular or tenured appointment. The other 3 members can have either a regular or special appointment. To pass the defense the student must have the affirmative vote of at least four of the committee members.

A student must be registered full-time for a minimum of five dissertation hours during the semester of the defense. The 30 dissertation hour requirement must be met at the time the defense is scheduled. If you are an international student in F-1 or J-1 status, ask an advisor in International Student and Scholar Services about immigration requirements for the semester following the defense. Students may review their dissertation hours by referring to their unofficial transcript which is available on line.

PhD students must submit their dissertation electronically, and submit a paper copy of their signature page, by the Graduate School’s deadline in order to graduate in any given semester. Students should submit the thesis electronically and must have an approved submission by 5:00 p.m. on the deadline day. In addition, the signature page (page ii of the thesis) must be submitted in hard copy by 5:00 on the deadline day. The page should be created as part of the thesis, and later printed out. Signatures of the chair of the committee and one other member must be obtained.  Formatting specifications for the dissertation can be found on our Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Submission page. The Graduate School recommends that a pre-check of your format be done before you submit the final version. You can request that by e-mailing a pdf of your dissertation to gradinfo@colorado.edu.

Students must apply online to graduate. To do this, logon to myCUinfo. On the Student tab, select the Apply for Graduation link under Academic Resources. This notifies the Graduate School and your department that you intend to graduate and it provides necessary information to the Commencement Office for ordering and shipping diplomas. If you do not complete requirements for the graduation you indicate on the online application, you must apply online to graduate for the new graduation date. You must apply to graduate online whether or not you plan to attend the ceremony.

Graduate students who need to leave school for 1-2 semesters may participate in the Leave of Absence Program (details available in the Registrar’s Office). Doctoral students who have passed their comprehensive exam are not normally eligible for Leave of Absence because of the continuous enrollment requirement. Parental leave is an exception. To request any other exception because of extenuating circumstances a petition to the Dean of the Graduate School should be submitted. Students who do not register for a semester or apply for Leave of Absence will automatically be withdrawn from the University and will need to reapply for readmission. Students who withdraw from school permanently must do so formally with the Registrar’s Office.

If you are an international student and plan to participate in Leave of Absence or withdraw from school, please see an advisor at International Student and Scholar Services.

If you are graduating be aware of the following:

Grace Periods:

If you plan to leave the U.S. after completing your studies you will have a grace period during which time you can prepare for your departure.  For F-1 students, this grace period is 60 days. For J-1 students it is 30 days.

Employment after graduation:

F-1 students: Apply for Optional Practical Training early in the semester that you will graduate (you MUST apply before graduation). Processing times usually take 3-4 months. Visit the Office of International Education for more information.

J-1 students: Apply for Academic Training before your date of graduation.

Transfer students: See an advisor in International Student and Scholar Services.