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*


Apply online to graduate through buff

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


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


The Candidacy Application for an Advanced Degree is due to the Graduate School.

Applications follow a workflow process and must be approved by the academic department before they are directed to the Graduate School. Applications received after this date may not be processed in time for that semester’s commencement.


October 2 (Monday)


Preferred deadline: February 1 (Thursday)


Final deadline: March 1 (Friday)


June 14 (Friday)


Last day for final exam/thesis defense if required. 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 28 (Tuesday)


April 16 (Tuesday)


July 30 (Tuesday)


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


December 5 (Tuesday)


April 23 (Tuesday)


August 6 (Tuesday)


Have grade changes submitted for incomplete courses taken during previous semesters.


December 11 (Mon)


April 29 (Mon)


August 12 (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.


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. Students whose departments do not require a master’s final exam for non-thesis students will not submit a form.


Registration during the semester of final exam/thesis defense: Students must be registered for a minimum of one credit hour, for credit or pass/fail, during the semester of their final examination/thesis defense. Students who wish to schedule an examination/defense between semesters may use 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 thesis 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:

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 by the spring graduation deadline)
  • Students who have applied online to graduate in August, and have done so before April 1 (PhD students must also submit a dissertation title by the spring graduation deadline)

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.