Doctoral Graduation Information

This information is supplied by the Graduate School at the University of Colorado at Boulder. The links below provide the necessary forms and information to complete the requirements for graduation. Please review deadlines carefully for the semester in which you plan to earn your degree. If at any time you have any questions or problems, please contact the Graduate School at 303-492-8220 or

Graduation Deadlines

This includes all the deadlines for upcoming semesters. Forms must be submitted to the Graduate School by the deadlines for the indicated graduation. These deadlines apply regardless of attendance at the commencement ceremony. (Note: if you do not meet the graduation deadline for your final exam but can complete the exam before the first day of class for the upcoming semester, you will not be required to register for another semester, but your paperwork will be processed for the next scheduled commencement date. Plan ahead carefully, as the exam must be done on or before the Friday before classes begin.) In these cases, international students in F-1 or J-1 status must consult with International Student and Scholar Services (located in the Center for the Community, room S355).  F-1 and J-1 regulations require enrollment to maintain valid F-1 or J-1 status.  An ISSS advisor must advise you if you will not have future enrollment.

Candidacy Application  

This form was required to have been filled out when you passed the comprehensive exam. If your candidacy application has been approved, it does not need to be filled out again unless there has been a change to the course plan being used toward your degree.

Defense Committee

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 at CU Boulder. 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.

Phd committees

Online Graduation Application 

Students must apply online to graduate through buff portal on the “apply for graduation” card to have the degree awarded. This notifies the Graduate School and your department that you intend to graduate and provides the necessary information to the Registrar's Office for ordering and shipping diplomas. If you do not complete the 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. The Registrar's site provides detailed instructions for applying to graduate. Ph.D. students must enter their dissertation title as part of the online graduation application.  This title will appear in the commencement program and on your transcript. You may update the title through your portal until the deadline to cancel/update. 

Doctoral Final Examination Report 

All students completing a doctoral degree must hold a final defense of their dissertation (or a final exam for DMA and AuD students). Notice of the examination must be provided to the Graduate School using the doctoral final examination form two weeks before the exam with the date and committee members' names for approval. Through a workflow process, the Graduate School and your graduate program must approve your committee, and the form will be sent to your committee members. The completed form with committee member signatures will be returned to the Graduate School and your graduate program.

Thesis Specifications & Submission Information 

The specifications document includes all the necessary information formatting the Ph.D. dissertation. The Graduate School strongly encourages you to email your document for a pre-check of the format before submitting your dissertation electronically. Please email a pdf of your document to gradinfo@colorado.eduThe dissertation must be submitted electronically to ProQuest/UMI by the deadline. The Thesis Approval Form (TAF) must be uploaded as a supplemental file with the thesis for the submission to be complete. 

Dissertation Final Grade Report

All students completing a Ph.D. will be assigned a grade for dissertation hours. Please contact your graduate program assistant to ensure that your department has initiated the final grade report process.