Application to Graduate

Students must notify The Graduate School of their plan to graduate by submitting an Application for Graduation no later than the deadline shown in the University Registrar's Calendarnew window icon for the semester in which they expect to graduate. Applications should only be submitted when the student realistically intends to graduate that semester and are valid for one semester only. If a student does not graduate in the semester expected, another application for graduation in a future semester must be submitted.

Complete the Graduation check-out page in ConnectCarolina's Self Service area:
Log in to ConnectCarolinanew window icon, then in your Student Center, under the "Academic" tab, choose "Apply for Graduation" in the drop-down box, and then click the double arrows.

Students in officially recognized dual degree programs, other than the MD-PhD program, must apply to graduate for both degrees at the same time, even if the requirements for one degree are completed sooner than the second degree. Academic programs are asked to provide flexibility so students may be able to walk ceremoniously with their cohort even if they do not earn the degree that semester. See Dual Degree Programs for additional information.

Degree Award

Master's and doctoral degrees are awarded at the end of each semester and the second summer session. Formal commencement exercises are held in May and December.

All students receiving their degrees in May are encouraged to participate in the May commencement ceremony. All students receiving their degrees in August and December are encouraged to participate in the December commencement ceremony.

Doctoral students are also encouraged to participate in the Hooding Ceremony, held in May only, recognizing those who are graduating in May or those who graduated in the prior most recent December or August terms. Students must have completed all degree requirements fully to participate. Students who are eligible to participate in the Hooding Ceremony will receive an invitation from The Graduate School via email during the spring. Students planning to participate should respond to the invitation and provide requested information per posted deadlines.


Although students must be registered in the semester in which they defend the thesis/dissertation or complete the thesis substitute, they need not be registered in the semester in which the degree is to be awarded, provided that no use of University faculty time or facilities is required, and as long as they were registered appropriately in prior terms.

The defense of the thesis/dissertation or completion of the thesis substitute is the culminating experience for students. This final milestone signifies the end of their research/project as well as the synthesizing outcome of all pedagogical and research contributions to their degree requirements. Final defenses should not be scheduled until all other degree requirements have been fulfilled, including any program level milestones (e.g., internships, practica, publications).

Once students successfully defend their dissertation or thesis or complete their thesis substitute, no further enrollments are necessary or permissible, and graduation should not be delayed beyond the next graduation cycle (i.e., a student with a successful spring semester defense must plan to submit all materials and graduate no later than August graduation).


Degree requirements and milestones vary by academic program, and The Graduate School maintains the master listing of milestones required for degree clearance. Graduate School staff certify each degree candidate has met all requirements before clearing them to graduate. Milestones include:

Students can view the status of their degree milestones in their Student Center in ConnectCarolina.

Graduate School staff endeavor to clear students efficiently and accurately. Even if all completed milestones are in order and submitted, it can still take several business days for degree clearance to be processed.

Any requests for early graduation clearance due to extenuating circumstances (generally only for employment or visa requirements) should be submitted through the academic program and only after the census date for the given graduation term.