Graduate Student Handbook

Graduation Procedures

Preparing for Graduation
Consult the Calendar for Candidates for Degrees distributed and/or posted by departments and 109 Towne Building. It is very important to note the application deadlines for graduation:

Opens in December For May Graduation
Opens in May for August Graduation
Opens in August for December Graduation

Master's Candidates

Master's students applying for graduation should fill out the Application for Graduation form and submit it to 109 Towne.


Candidates for Ph.D. degrees need to apply online.

Since all Ph.D. candidates at the University of Pennsylvania are governed by procedures established in the SAS Graduate Office, Engineering Ph.D. candidates should be aware that their applications for graduation are processed in the SAS Graduate Office and that their dissertation is submitted there. The SAS Graduate Office firmly observes the deadlines they establish, so it is important to adhere to their requirements.

Early application for graduation is necessary to ensure that grades, thesis preparation and/or revisions, and financial obligations can be fulfilled by the deadline for graduation. Also, the process for ordering and printing diplomas can take up to three months.

Information on what happens to email accounts post graduation is found here.

Graduation Checklist

  1. Obtain master's thesis instructions or dissertation instructions early in the writing stage. These documents can also be obtained at 109 Towne Building.
  2. Confer with your advisor and inform him or her of the need for a timely reading and signature before graduation.
  3. Fill out the application form well in advance of the deadline.
  4. Make sure that your financial obligations are cleared before the end of the final semester.
  5. Check that your academic record is complete, and that appropriate courses have been taken for the degree. Students who have completed all requirements for the degree before their final semester should obtain an exemption from registration form in 109 Towne Building.
  6. Order cap and gown from the Bookstore in early March if you wish to participate in the May graduation ceremony. MAY is the only formal graduation ceremony. (Students who graduate in August or December of the preceding year are invited by the University and SEAS to attend the May ceremony. Students anticipating graduation in the same year may request, by approval, to participate in the May ceremony.)