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Graduation

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As you approach the end of your graduate program, it is important to start thinking about graduation and beyond.  The information contained below will provide you with deadlines and guidance toward graduation. Graduate students, who are required to complete a thesis or dissertation as part of their graduate studies, should start planning now!

Plan Ahead – Know Your Deadline

All graduate degree and certificate students must apply for graduation in SAIL. You should meet with your academic adviser prior to applying to graduate to confirm that all academic, credit, and degree requirements have been met.

Download the How to Apply for Graduation (PDF) for step by step instructions.

Please use the chart below to determine when you need to submit your application. If you have completed an Application for Degree and need to make revisions, please call Graduate Study and Lifelong Learning at (248) 370-4156 to update your application.

Student Type Graduation Term Application Deadline Commencement
Doctoral
(PhD, DScPT, DPT, DNP)
Winter (April) Last Friday in January April
Summer (June or August)** Last Friday in June December
Fall (December) Last Friday in September December

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Master’s

Winter (April) Last Friday in January April
Summer I (June) Last Friday in January April
Summer II (August) Last Friday in June December
Fall (December) Last Friday in September December

Certificate

Winter (April) Last Friday in January n/a
Summer I (June) Last Friday in January n/a
Summer II (August) Last Friday in June n/a
Fall (December) Last Friday in September n/a


**Doctoral students completing degree requirements in either Summer I or Summer II may only apply for August graduation. Students will be placed on the correct graduation list based on when their dissertation copies are submitted for binding.

Graduation vs. Commencement

There is a distinct difference between graduation and commencement.

Graduation
The semester or session of graduation refers to the term in which your degree will be effective. This is typically the semester or session in which you will complete your program requirements. The application for degree deadlines are early in the semester, so be sure to review the important dates for your anticipated graduation term.

Commencement
Commencement ceremonies are held twice each year. An April ceremony recognizes Winter Semester (April) and Summer I (June) master’s degree candidates and Winter Semester doctoral degree candidates. A December ceremony is held for Summer II (August) and Fall Semester (December) master’s degree candidates and Summer I, Summer II and Fall Semester doctoral degree candidates. Students earning graduate or post-master’s certificates are not included in the commencement ceremonies. For additional information on upcoming commencement ceremonies, visit the Oakland University Commencement website.

Doctoral student participation in Commencement
Doctoral students are not eligible to participate in commencement without completing all degree requirements, including the dissertation defense and submission of an approved dissertation to Graduate Study and Lifelong Learning. The dissertation must be signed by all committee members and must comply with the dissertation requirements as outlined in the Guide to the Preparation of Theses and Dissertations. Failure to comply with the dissertation requirements will delay your graduation.

Master’s student participation in Commencement ceremony before completion of degree requirements
Master’s students may request to participate in Commencement within one semester of completing degree requirements. Apply for graduation for the term in which you will complete degree requirements, and then submit the Graduate Request to Participate in Commencement Ceremony form. Approval is not guaranteed.

Degree Audit Process

Degree audits are conducted during the semester for which you have applied to graduate. All grade changes, petitions of exception and transfer credits must be submitted and approved prior to this initial audit. You will receive either a degree candidate letter or a deficiency notice approximately 4 to 6 weeks after the application deadline. Questions regarding deficiencies should be directed to your adviser.

Your degree audit will then be submitted to your department for them to review program requirements. Final audits are conducted approximately two weeks after term grades have been posted, and degrees are posted 4 to 6 weeks after the end of the semester. Diplomas are ordered for the entire graduating class as a whole, approximately 8 weeks after the end of the semester, and will be mailed directly to the address specified on your application.

Please be reminded if you are completing a thesis or dissertation (not a terminal project), you must follow the deadlines for format review, defense and submission for binding. It is important to carefully review and follow the graduation checklist to minimize deficiencies that will delay your graduation.

Important Links and Resources

Format and other Important Deadlines
Review the deadline dates early for the semester in which you anticipate graduation.

Format Appointment Request
Students are encouraged to plan ahead and submit your manuscript as early as possible to ensure ample time for necessary revisions. Delay in submission will result in postponement of your graduation date.  Appointments can go quickly, so it is recommended that you e-mail to reserve an appointment time that fits your schedule.

Degree Evaluation 
Graduate students can stay on track for graduation by running a degree evaluation each registered semester.

Commencement
Participate in the ceremonial confirmation of your degree.

Transcripts
Unofficial transcripts can be viewed or printed through SAIL.



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The following checklists are guides to help monitor your progress.  Please see your departmental adviser to confirm that you have met all the following requirements and to confirm that no additional departmental requirements exist.

Graduation Checklist For Master’s Students
  File a Program of Study with Graduate Study and Lifelong Learning.
  Submit an online Application for Graduation for the term in which you expect to graduate, by the deadline stated in the schedule of classes. Earlier submission is strongly encouraged.
Review your academic record for any unmet requirements:
  Incomplete (I) or progress (P) grades must be removed.
  Transfer credits must be approved and processed by the beginning of the semester of intended graduation.
  Transfer credits must have been completed within the 6-year time limit, to count toward degree requirements.
  An overall 3.0 GPA must be achieved.
  A Petition of Exception must be filed if the degree will NOT be completed with the university’s 6-year time limit (a 2-year extension for a maximum of an 8-year total).
If completing a thesis:
  Complete a successful defense or presentation by the deadline stated in the schedule of classes.
  Attain format approval from Graduate Study and Lifelong Learning by the deadline stated in the schedule of classes.
  Submit for binding three copies of format approved thesis to Graduate Study and Lifelong Learning by the deadline stated in the schedule of classes.
If graduation requirements are not completed by the stated deadlines
  Change your graduation date by contacting Graduate Study and Lifelong Learning.
Obtain Commencement Approval
 

Only required of students wishing to participate in a different ceremony than that associated with their graduation date. Within one term of completing degree requirements, master’s students may request to participate in commencement. The Request to Participate in Commencement Ceremony form must be approved by the academic adviser and department chair, and submitted to Graduate Study and Lifelong Learning for final approval.


Graduation Checklist For Doctoral Students
  File a program of study with Graduate Study and Lifelong Learning.
  Submit an online Application for Graduation for the term in which you expect to graduate, by the deadline stated in the Schedule of Classes. Earlier submission is strongly encouraged.
Review your academic record for any unmet requirements:
  Incomplete (I) or progress (P) grades must be removed.
  Transfer credits must be approved and processed by the beginning of the semester of intended graduation.
  Transfer credits must have been completed within the 6-year time limit to count toward degree requirements.
  An overall 3.0 GPA must be achieved.
  The maximum time limit for completing a Ph.D. degree is no more than 10 years from the term of the first course enrollment in the doctoral program.
 
  Submit verification that all comprehensive examinations have been completed to Graduate Study and Lifelong Learning.
  Register for the term in which your dissertation will be defended.
  Complete a successful dissertation defense by the deadline stated in the schedule of classes.
  Attain format approval from Graduate Study and Lifelong Learning by the deadline stated in the schedule of classes.
  Submit for binding three copies of your format approved dissertation to Graduate Study and Lifelong Learning by the deadline stated in the schedule of classes.
  Submit an additional copy of your format approved dissertation to meet the ProQuest publication requirement.
  Submit an online Survey of Earned Doctorates (SED) questionnaire.
  If graduation requirements are not completed by the stated deadlines, you must change your graduation date by contacting Graduate Study and Lifelong Learning.
Doctoral students are not eligible to participate in commencement without completing all degree requirements, including dissertation defense and submission of an approved dissertation, signatures of all committee members and compliance of dissertation requirements outlined in the Guide to the Preparation of Theses and Dissertations (DOC).


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Have questions about the graduation application?
Please review the information below:

Academic Status

Review your degree evaluation in SAIL, and contact your adviser regarding any deficiencies. All variations from published catalog requirements must be documented on an approved Petition of Exception or Plan of Study.

Adding a concentration

If you are completing a concentration as part of your degree program, you should submit the Adding a Concentration form to request your concentration(s) added to your record before submitting your application.

Applying for your degree

All graduate degree and certificate students must apply for graduation, whether or not they plan to participate in the Commencement ceremony. To submit your application, log into SAIL, click Student Services, then Student Records, then Apply to Graduate. There is no fee for applying to graduate.

Download the How to Apply for Graduation (PDF) for step by step instructions.

Change of graduation date

Complete the Change of Graduation Date form if you have already submitted your application, and need to update your graduation date.

Commencement

Commencement ceremonies are held twice each year. An April ceremony recognizes Winter Semester (April) and Summer I (June) master’s degree candidates and Winter Semester doctoral degree candidates. A December ceremony is held for Summer II (August) and Fall Semester (December) master’s degree candidates and Summer I, Summer II and Fall Semester doctoral degree candidates. Students earning graduate or post-master’s certificates are not included in the commencement ceremonies. For additional information on upcoming commencement ceremonies, visit the Oakland University Commencement website.

Curriculum error

If the curriculum displayed in the application is incorrect, or if you receive a no curriculum found error, please submit the Curriculum Error form.

Graduation audit process

Degree audits are conducted during the semester for which you have applied to graduate. You will receive either a degree candidate letter or a deficiency notice approximately 4 to 6 weeks after the application deadline. Your audit will then be submitted to your academic department for approval. Final audits are conducted after term grades have been posted, and degrees are posted 4 to 6 weeks after the end of the semester.

Student responsibility and graduate policy

Please review the Graduate Catalog for information about your responsibilities as a graduate student.



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