To be eligible to earn an advanced degree, students must fulfill appropriate requirements as established by their major department and the Graduate School, and have an approved Candidacy Application.  Procedures and final deadlines required by the Graduate School are described below.  Note: Please submit paperwork first to your department and allow time for review before Graduate School deadlines.

Commencement Dates & Requirements​

​​For May 5, 2022

  • March 1, 2022
    • Doctoral students must apply online to graduate through buff portal on the “apply for graduation” card in order to have the degree awarded in May.  PhD students must enter their dissertation title as part of the online graduation application; you may update the title through the portal until this date.  This title will appear on your transcript after your degree is awarded. 
  • April 5, 2022
    • Doctoral students must complete the PhD dissertation defense or final examination by this date.  Notice of the examination must be provided to the Graduate School by your academic unit two weeks before the exam on an examination report form. 
  • April 12 2022
    • PhD students must submit the dissertation with Thesis Approval Form by this deadline. The dissertation must be submitted electronically for review and approval by Gradaute School staff by the end of the business day. The Thesis Approval Form (TAF) must be uploaded as a supplemental file with the dissertation in order for the submission to be complete. Students whose dissertations are received after this deadline, or those not submitted with the TAF, must apply to graduate at the following semester's commencement.
  • April 12, 2022
  • April 18, 2022
    • Grade changes must be submitted for incomplete courses taken during previous or current semesters.

For August 18, 2022*

  • April 1, 2022
    • Graduate students who plan to have their degrees awarded in August 2022 but would like to participate in a May 2022 commencement ceremony and be listed in the commencement program must apply online to graduate through buff portal on the “apply for graduation” card.  PhD students must also enter their dissertation title as part of the graduation application.  Though you plan to participate in a May ceremony, please select August 2022 as the semester of graduation if that is when your degree will be awarded.
  • June 15, 2022
    • Doctoral students who have not already done so must apply online to graduate through buff portal on the “apply for graduation” card in order to have the degree awarded in August. This is required even though there is no university-wide ceremony.  PhD students must enter their dissertation title as part of the online graduation application, and the title may be updated until this deadline.  This title will appear on your transcript after your degree is awarded.
  • July 19, 2022
    • Doctoral students must complete the PhD dissertation defense or final examination by this date.  Notice of the examination must be provided to the Graduate School by your academic unit two weeks before the exam on an examination report form. 
  • July 26, 2022
    • PhD students must submit the dissertation with Thesis Approval Form by this deadline. The dissertation must be submitted electronically for review and approval by Gradaute School staff by the end of the business day. The Thesis Approval Form (TAF) must be uploaded as a supplemental file with the dissertation in order for the submission to be complete. Students whose dissertations are received after this deadline, or those not submitted with the TAF, must apply to graduate at the following semester's commencement.
  • July 26, 2022
  • August 1, 2022
    • Grade changes must be submitted for incomplete courses taken during previous or current semesters.

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

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 plan to attend the commencement ceremony.

Final Exam/Dissertation Defense

The final examination report form for committee approval should be sent by the department to the Graduate School at least 2 weeks before the exam is held.  Approximately 1 week after the exam has been held, the signed form, with the committee member signatures, should be returned 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

Copies of the University of Colorado Graduate School Specifications for Preparation of Master’s Theses and Doctoral Dissertations are available online on the Thesis and Dissertation Specifications page.  Graduate School staff can conduct a preliminary formatting review by e-mail (send your document to gradinfo@colorado.edu) and these pre-checks are strongly encouraged.  The thesis must be submitted online and approved by 5:00 p.m. on the deadline day.  The Thesis Approval Form (TAF) must be uploaded as a supplemental file with the thesis in order for the submission to be complete. 

Animal & 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 committees, see the following web sites.

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 graduation contact the student advisors at the Graduate School by e-mailing gradinfo@colorado.edu.  Commencement ceremony information is available at on the Commencement site. 

International Students

Check the Office of International Education site for graduation information.

Survey of Earned Doctorates

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.

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.