Graduation Information & Requirements
Congratulations! We look forward to celebrating with you!
In this section you will find answers to frequently asked questions regarding graduation requirements, procedures and deadlines. Please also consult the degree requirements listed in the Graduate Bulletin as well as your graduate program coordinator or director for details concerning specific program requirements.
If your question is not answered here, contact us at GradGraduation@stonybrook.edu.
Before filling out the online form to apply for graduation, please review the FAQs below as well as the instructions detailed on the Application for Graduation page.
The thesis and dissertation guidelines section outlines the steps involved in preparing your electronic thesis or dissertation submission and lists the additional required documents students must submit to the Graduate School.
This section also has links to theses and dissertation templates.
3. Instructions for a Doctoral Defense Announcement
Download and complete the Doctoral Defense Announcement form. Email the completed form to your graduate program director (GPD) for review and approval. The GPD or designated delegate should then email the approved form, as an attachment, to GradRecords@stonybrook.edu at least three weeks prior to the proposed defense date.
The form must be saved and emailed to the Graduate School in PDF format; the file name cannot contain any special characters, including apostrophes ('), commas (,), colons (:), or semicolons (;). An example of an acceptable file name is LastName_FirstName_1 June 2017_ddd.pdf.
Once approved, the Graduate School will post the announcement on the Doctoral Defense Announcement page.
Degree Requirements (All Degrees)
1. Students must be registered for the semester in which they intend to graduate. Spring (May) and Fall (December) candidates must register for at least one graduate credit. Summer (August) candidates may register for zero graduate-evel credits in either summer session.
2. Students must apply for graduation for the semester they intend to graduate. If degree requirements are not met, students must submit a Change of Graduation Date form for a subsequent degree-awarding period . Applications are not carried forward.
3. Students must achieve a 3.0 overall GPA in all graduate courses taken at Stony Brook.
4. As part of the Graduate School’s continued initiative to ensure student satisfaction, we ask that all graduate students, both master's and doctoral, complete the Graduate School Exit Survey before leaving the university. Results are kept completely confidential.
NOTE: Students need to apply for graduation regardless of whether they want to attend any of the graduation ceremonies. Students obtaining master’s degrees while pursuing a doctoral degree need to apply for graduation for the master’s degree.
Master's Degree Requirements
1. Students must obtain at least 30 credits of graduate work. Check with your program for specific credit amounts.
2. Students who are preparing a thesis for submission to the Graduate School, if required by their program, must submit the final version of their thesis to the Graduate School by the posted deadline. The format of the thesis must be prepared according to the appropriate guidelines.
Doctoral Degree Requirements
1. Doctoral students (with the exception of DMA students) must be advanced to candidacy (G5 status) for at least one year prior to graduating.
2. Doctoral students must have their defense committee approved by the Graduate School. The program needs to send a Committee Approval Request form to the Graduate School four weeks prior to the defense date.
NOTE: Students do not fill out this form; the form is prepared by and sent by the program to the Graduate School.
3. Students must have their defense announcements posted, and must fill out a Doctoral Defense Announcement form. Students should email the completed form to their graduate program director (GPD) for review and approval. The GPD or designated delegate should then email the approved form as an attachment to GradRecords@stonybrook.edu at least three weeks prior to the proposed defense date.
NOTE: Failure to have a Doctoral Defense Announcement form submitted to the Graduate School according to procedure and in a timely manner may result in students defending their dissertations a second time.
4. Students must submit the final version of their dissertation to the Graduate School within three months of a successful defense. Students must submit by the posted semester deadline if they intend to graduate that semester. For example, a student must submit by the posted deadline for May 2017 if they intend on graduating in May 2017.
The dissertation must be prepared according to the appropriate guidelines.
5. Doctoral students are asked to fill out the National Research Council’s Survey of Earned Doctorates. The survey is available online at https://sed-ncses.org. Students do not need to provide hard copies of this survey to the Graduate School.
Frequently Asked Questions
Please note, all graduate students, even those who do not plan on attending graduation ceremonies, must still apply for graduation.
How do I apply for graduation?
Master's candidates should apply online via their SOLAR Account by Friday, October 20, 2017 for Fall 2017 graduation in order for their name to be included in the Commencement Publication. Under Academic Records select Apply for Graduation. After this date, Master's candidates must apply through the Graduate School website.
PhD candidates do not have access to apply for graduation via SOLAR. This includes PhD candidates applying for their Masters along the way. All PhD candidates should apply for graduation through the Graduate School website. In order for candidates name to appear in the Commencement Publication for December commencement, PhD students must submit their graduation application by Friday, October 20, 2017.
The application form and instructions is available in the Graduation Application section.
Master's candidates should apply online via their SOLAR Account by Thursday, March 1, 2018 for Spring/Summer 2018 graduation in order for their name to be included in the commencement publication. Under the " Academic Records," select "Apply for Graduation."
After the March 1 deadline, master's candidates must apply through the Graduate School website.
PhD candidates do not have access to apply for graduation via SOLAR. This includes PhD candidates applying for their master's along the way. All PhD candidates should apply for graduation through the Graduate School website. In order for their name to appear in the May commencement program, PhD candidates must submit their graduation application by Thursday , March 1, 2018.
Will I receive a confirmation?
Once a degree application is processed in the system, an email notification is sent to students. This contains information on graduation and related procedures. Students should expect to receive this email notification shortly after they apply.
For your records, please keep the summary page that appears after your application is complete.
What if I need to change my degree date?
Students who apply for May 2018 graduation and find later in the semester that they need to become an August or December 2018 candidate will need to submit a change of graduation date form for August or December 2018. They should also email GradGraduation@stonybrook.edu to have their May 2018 candidacy removed.
What if I need to change my diploma name, diploma address, or dissertation title?
As long as their degree date remains the same, students who need to update diploma
name, diploma address or dissertation title
should not apply again. Instead, email
GradGraduation@stonybrook.edu with your updated information.
Any updates to the diploma address should be made before the degree is awarded. For further information, see the section Awarding the Degree below.
When will my application show up on the system?
Degree candidacy may not show up immediately on the system after the application is complete. The Graduate School runs retrievals of online applicants periodically, so students should expect the application to show up approximately two weeks after application. During our peak processing periods, it may take an additional week or two for it to appear.
I applied for graduation, but cannot register for the semester that follows the degree date. What should I do?
Sometimes students who apply for graduation will not become term activated (eligible to register) for the following semester because the system ‘thinks’ they are graduating. If you find that you need to cancel your degree application, email your program coordinator a completed Change of Graduation Date form for approval. The program will then forward the approved form to GradGraduation@stonybrook.edu.
Is this application also for attending the graduation ceremonies?
No. The Application for Graduation is separate from the Ceremony Registration form. The Ceremony Registration form is administered by Conferences & Special Events, and is only to be filled out if a student wishes to attend any of the ceremonies.
The Ceremony Registration form is filled out via SOLAR by both PhD and Master's students who plan to attend the University commencement ceremony.
See the Ceremony Information section for more details.
Students must submit the final version of their thesis (if required by program) or dissertation online through Stony Brook University's ProQuest/UMI ETD administrator site. Students must submit the final version of their thesis or dissertation on or before the deadline date to be considered for that semester’s graduation. Online submissions must be received by 4:00 pm ET of the deadline date. No extensions will be granted.
Students who submit after the deadline date will become a candidate for the following semester and will need to reapply for graduation and register appropriately.
Please note, the thesis/dissertation deadline date for December 2017 is Wednesday, December 20, 2017 at 4:00 pm ET.
Please note, the thesis/dissertation deadline date for January 2018 is Friday, January 19, 2018 at 4:00 pm ET.
Please note, the thesis/dissertation deadline date for May 2018 is Wednesday, May 16, 2018 at 4:00 pm ET.
Please note, the thesis/dissertation deadline date for May 2018,SUNY-Korea candidates is Thursday, June 21, 2018 at 4:00 pm ET.
Please note, the thesis/dissertation deadline date for August 2018 is to be determined. Please check back for the date..
How and when do I submit my thesis/dissertation?
Effective May 2010, students must submit theses and dissertations online. Further information about procedures is available on the Thesis & Dissertation Guidelines section of the website.
Do I need an appointment?
No appointment is necessary. Students are always welcome to visit during our regular office hours of 8:30 am through 4:00 pm, Monday-Thursday . Friday our office hours are 10:00am through 4:00pm.
Do I have to wait until the week of the submission deadline to submit my thesis or dissertation?
No. If students are ready to submit your thesis or dissertation to the Graduate School early in the semester, they can do so without any change to their student status, even with a submission on the first day of classes. When a student submits their thesis or dissertation, nothing regarding their student status in the University system changes:
- International students are not out of status.
- A student with a tuition scholarship or TA/GA/RA will not lose funding.
- A student who lives on campus will not lose housing.
- Students retain all University privileges (such as library access) until their degree is posted to their record.
How do I prepare my thesis/dissertation?
Theses and dissertations must be prepared according to the guidelines, which are outlined in the Thesis & Dissertation Guidelines section of the website. Students can also reach us at GradGraduation@stonybrook.edu with any questions.
When are ceremonies held?
In May, the university hosts two ceremonies: the doctoral hooding ceremony, where doctoral degrees are conferred, and the main commencement ceremony, where master's and bachelors degrees are conferred.
The December commencement ceremony confers doctoral, master’s and bachelor’s degrees. No ceremonies are held in August.
Visit Conferences & Special Events' Commencement website for current dates and times.
Who can attend?
Doctoral Candidates: To participate in a hooding ceremony, doctoral candidates must have completed their degree requirements by the Ceremony Registration form deadline. More information is available on the Commencement website.
August candidates are permitted to attend the May doctoral hooding ceremony. However, they must apply for graduation prior to completing the Ceremony Registration form on SOLAR.
If May candidates are unable to attend the May doctoral hooding ceremony, they should email email@example.com to defer their ceremony participation.
Students will have access to the Ceremony Registration form on their SOLAR account on specific dates. Please see the Commencement website for these dates. Questions regarding the Ceremony Registration form should be directed to Conferences & Special Events at (631) 632-6320 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Master's Candidates: The Graduate School does not have any policy regarding what master's students can walk in the December commencement ceremony. Questions should be directed to Conferences & Special Events at (631) 632-6320 or email@example.com .
Departmental Ceremonies: The Graduate School does not have any policy regarding who can participate in departmental ceremonies. Questions should be directed to the graduate program coordinator.
When is information sent out?
Students will have access to the Ceremony Registration form on their SOLAR account on specific dates. Please see the Commencement website for these dates. Questions should be directed to Conferences & Special Events at (631) 632-6320 or firstname.lastname@example.org .
The Graduate School will also send information about the hooding ceremony to all doctoral candidates shortly after receiving their Ceremony Registration form. Contact the Graduate School at DoctoralHooding@stonybrook.edu for any additional questions. More information is also available on the Commencement website.
When will my degree be posted?
Programs send a completion statement to the Graduate School once students have completed all requirements for their degree. This can only happen when the semester of graduation is complete and all grades have been posted (including for the last semester). These completion statements are then reviewed and processed by the Graduate School.
The Graduate School cannot review your record for clearance without first receiving the completion statement form from the program, so students should first consult with their program regarding the status of their clearance before contacting any other office.
The Graduate School generally begins reviewing students' records for clearance during the third week of the month following the degree awarding date. Degree awarding dates are May, August and December.
Records are reviewed in the order the completion statement forms are received.
It takes approximately 4 weeks to review all candidates’ records, as the Graduate School processes an average of 500 degrees per semester.
Due to the time involved, the Graduate School cannot consider requests to process certain degrees or individuals first.
When the Graduate School clears students for their degree, the degree is immediately posted to their transcript. At this time, official transcripts requested from the Registrar will reflect the degree.
While waiting for their degree conferral, PhD candidates can request a letter of completion for their employers. The form is available in the Forms section of our website. Master's candidates can request a letter directly from their program.
When will I receive the diploma?
It takes approximately 4-6 weeks from the date of clearance by the Graduate School for candidates to receive their diploma. The Registrar handles the diploma process with an outside vendor, and the vendor produces and mails out the diplomas. Students can view the ordered or mailed date of their diploma on their checklist through SOLAR.
NOTE: Once a diploma has been ordered, the diploma address cannot be changed. Students should make sure that their diploma address is accurate before the degree is awarded.
Financial holds, including those from Student Accounts, Library, or Parking Services, prevents the release of official transcripts and diplomas. Candidates should make sure all fees and fines are paid by graduation.
|Fall 2017 Deadline Dates|
|Advancement to Candidacy*||Tuesday, September 12, 2017|
|Defense Committee Request due to the Graduate School||Four weeks before the defense|
|Application for Graduation (to be included in commencement booklet)||Friday, October 20, 2017|
|Thesis/Dissertation Deadline||Wednesday, December 20, 2017|
|Winter 2018 Deadline Dates|
|Defense Committee Requests due to the Graduate School from Departments.||Four weeks before defense|
|Last day for Graduate Students to apply for graduation online and be included in the December Commencement program. The online form can be found here: Application for Graduation (Masters students should apply via SOLAR). The SOLAR application for graduation will also be available until Friday, October 20, 2017. All candidates that apply for graduation after October 20th will NOT BE included in the publication.||Friday, October 20, 2017|
|Last day for Graduate Students to file theses/dissertations with the Graduate School Office. NOTE: Extensions to this deadline are not granted.||Friday, January 19, 2018|
|Last day for Departments to submit completion statements for candidates who have completed all requirements for the degree.||Friday, February 2, 2018|
*Candidates for August diplomas must be registered in either summer session in order to graduate. Candidates may be registered for a zero credit course (graduate level) to fulfill this requirement. During the Fall, Winter and Spring terms, zero credit courses do not constitute fulfillment of the registration requirement for graduation.
|Spring 2018 Deadline Dates|
Last day for the Graduate School to receive Spring Advancement to Candidacy (G5 status)
forms from Departments.
These forms must be submitted no later than 2pm on January 26th.
|Friday, January 26, 2018|
|End of Late Registration.||Friday, February 2, 2018|
|Last day to complete full-time registration OR file a Friday, Leave of Absence in order to maintain continuous matriculation. No later than 4 pm.||February 9, 2018|
|Defense Committee Requests due to the Graduate School from Departments.||Four weeks before the defense|
|Last day for Graduate Students to apply for graduation online and be included in the May Commencement program. The online form can be found here: Application for Graduation (Masters students should apply via SOLAR) The SOLAR application for graduation will be available until Wednesday , March 1st, 2018. All candidates that apply for graduation after March 1 st will NOT BE included in the publication.||Thursday, March 1, 2018|
|Last day for Graduate Students to file theses/dissertations with the Graduate School.NOTE: Extensions to this deadline are not granted.||Wednesday, May 16, 2018|
|Last day for Departments to submit completion statements for candidates who have completed all requirements for the degree.||Friday, June 1, 2018|
Candidates for May diplomas must be registered for at least one graduate-level credit in the Spring 2018 semester in order to graduate. During the Fall and Spring zero credit courses do not constitute fulfillment of the registration requirement for graduation.
More Questions? Contact Us!
2401 Computer Science Building, 2nd Floor
Stony Brook University
Stony Brook, NY 11794-4433
Conferences & Special Events
Director’s Suite, Charles B. Wang Center, Suite 302
Stony Brook University
Stony Brook, NY 11794-1603