Graduate School, University of Colorado Boulder

To earn a graduate degree in any given semester, students must fulfill appropriate requirements as established by their graduate program and the Graduate School.




Graduate School Deadlines


December 21, 2023*


May 9, 2024


August 22, 2024*


Ensure that a Candidacy Application for an Advanced Degree has been approved.


Due within two weeks of passing the comprehensive examination


Apply online to graduate through buff

portal on the “apply for graduation” card. Must be done whether or not you plan to attend ceremony.


PhD students must enter dissertation title as part of the online graduation application and may update the title through buff portal on the “apply for graduation” card until this date. The dissertation title will appear on your transcript and in the commencement program (for May graduates.)


October 1 (Sunday)


March 1 (Friday)


April 1 (Monday)

Summer graduates who wish to appear in the spring commencement program


June 15 (Saturday)

All summer graduates who have not yet applied


Last day for final examination or defense of dissertation. The process must be initiated a minimum of two weeks before the exam for Graduate School review and approval of committee. Learn more and initiate the form on our website.


November 16 (Thursday)


April 9 (Tuesday)


July 23 (Tuesday)


PhD students must electronically submit dissertation to Graduate School through UMI/Proquest website, along with the Thesis Approval Form (TAF) as a supplemental form, by 5pm MT. Students whose dissertations are received after this deadline, or are received without the TAF, must re-apply to graduate in a future term.


November 28 (Tuesday)


April 16 (Tuesday)


July 30 (Tuesday)


PhD and DMA students must complete the

Survey of Earned Doctorates online.


November 28 (Tuesday)


April 16 (Tuesday)


July 30 (Tuesday)


Have grade changes submitted for incomplete courses in previous or current semesters.


December 4 (Mon)


April 22 (Mon)


August 5 (Mon)





*Note*Although there is no campus-wide ceremony, students may have degrees awarded in August and December.

Additional important graduation information is available on the Graduate School website.

Online Graduation Application: Only students who have applied online to graduate by the deadline for the semester they intend to graduate will be checked for graduation. If you do not graduate when you anticipate, you must apply online to graduate in a new semester. This online graduation application is required whether or not you attend the commencement ceremony. PhD students must enter dissertation title through the graduation application.


Final Exam/Thesis Defense: Students should follow the final examination/defense process, first working with their graduate program to ensure that program-specific committee requirements and exam timelines are met. The form must be initiated a minimum of two weeks before the exam. The form will be reviewed by the Graduate School and program and be sent to all committee members for signature. The final signed form will be sent to the Graduate School.


Registration during the semester of final exam/thesis defense: PhD students must be registered for a minimum of 5 dissertation hours during the semester of their dissertation defense. DMA students must be registered full time for DMA dissertation credits (8200-8399) or TMUS 8029 during the semester of the final exam. AUD students should be registered for 5 hours of graduate level credit during the semester of final exam. Students who wish to schedule an examination/defense between semesters may use either the previous or the upcoming semester’s registration to meet this requirement. NOTE: summer session is considered a separate semester. For the purpose of this registration requirement, a new semester has begun on the first day of class for that semester. Registration for submitting the dissertation only is not required if the defense was held in a previous semester. International students should contact ISSS to discuss graduation and registration issues.


Thesis Review: Information about thesis formatting and submission is available online. The Graduate School can review theses for compliance to the Specifications. Preliminary formatting reviews can be done by e-mail (send your document to and are strongly encouraged. The thesis must be submitted online along with the single page Thesis Approval Form and approved by 5:00 p.m. on the deadline day.



Animal and Human Subjects Research: ANY research involving the use of animals or human subjects MUST have approval from the Animal Care and Use Committee or the Institutional Review Board before such research can be undertaken. A thesis involving animals and/or human subjects that has not been reviewed by the appropriate committee may be disallowed. For the guidelines and procedures for submitting research proposals to the necessary committee see the following web sites.

Human Research:

Animal Research:

Survey of Earned Doctorates (SED):

The survey collects information from all research doctorate graduates in the country to assess characteristics of the doctoral population and trends in doctoral education and degrees. This compiled information is used by policymakers in evaluating the nation’s work force, and it is important for CU to be accurately represented. More information about the survey is here.

The information provided on the questionnaire remains confidential, and is reported only in a way that does not identify individuals. The survey can be completed in advance of the deadline listed above, and we encourage early completion to facilitate timely degree clearance and award. Students must register and complete the survey online by the posted deadline:

Graduation Ceremony Information: Students who have applied online to graduate by the posted deadline may receive an e-mail containing information about the commencement ceremony. Receiving such notification, and attending the ceremony, does not mean that you have completed all requirements. To verify that you have completed all degree requirements, contact the Graduate School by e-mail.  There is one university-wide commencement ceremony, held in May; commencement ceremony information is available online.

Commencement Program/Walking in the May ceremony: The printed commencement program, available at the May university- wide ceremony, will include:

  • Students who received their graduate degrees the preceding December
  • Students who have applied online to graduate in May (PhD students must also submit a dissertation title as part of the graduation application.)
  • Students who have applied online to graduate in August, and have done so before April 1 (PhD students must also submit a dissertation title as part of the graduation application by this date)

International Students: International students should reach out to ISSS with information about their expected graduation date and plans for registration during that semester. Check the ISSS web site for graduation information.