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Applying for Graduation, Graduate Students

Type: Enrollment
Effective Date: 3/1/2016

Graduation results when the Graduate College verifies a student’s degree requirements have been fulfilled through the graduation application approval process. Before the university grants a graduate degree or graduate certificate, the Graduate College must verify that the student has met:

  • all degree or certificate requirements prior to the end of the graduation term;
  • requirements outlined in this policy, as well as all requirements specified in any university policies pertaining to Master's degrees, Doctoral degrees, and Graduate Certificates. (Please see: Related Policies, at the bottom of this policy)

Graduation is not automatic. All students who wish to graduate from NAU must submit an application for graduation to the Graduate College. The purpose of this application is to verify that the student has met all degree or certificate requirements prior to graduation.

Students are required to submit applications for graduation during the term prior to the term in which they expect to complete degree or certificate requirements. Deadlines by which applications must be received by the Graduate College are included in the graduation application instructions.

Master's, Doctoral, and Graduate Certificate Requirements

The student is responsible for initiating the graduation process. To become eligible to apply for graduation, the student must have completed or enrolled in the minimum amount of units for the degree or certificate and submit a Program of Study, approved by the academic unit, into the LOUIE-Student Service Center. Once the student has met the criteria, the student will be granted access to submit the graduation application through the LOUIE-Student Service Center.

Total minimum units required (completed and/or enrolled) to become eligible to apply for graduation:

  • Graduate Certificate: 1 unit
  • Master’s degree: 24 units
  • Doctoral degree: 48 units

Application Submission

The graduation application  for a master’s degree,  doctoral degree, or graduate certificate must be completed through the LOUIE-Student Service Center for each degree or certificate, and accompanied by a Program of Study. The Program of Study must be:

  • completed by the student;
  • reviewed and signed/approved by the student’s advisor and academic unit’s chair, director, or other appropriate academic administrator;
  • submitted to the LOUIE-Student Service Center

Application Deadlines

Application deadlines are December 1st for the spring and summer terms and May 1st for the fall and winter terms. Complete applications must be received by the Graduate College no later than those deadlines (or on the following working day if the date falls on a weekend). 

If the application deadline is missed, the student's name may not appear in the commencement program and the awarding of the student's degree or certificate  may be delayed.

Posting of Degrees

A degree is not official until the student’s application has been reviewed and approved, and the degree is posted. Posting refers to the secure process of entering a degree into the official student record-keeping system and connecting it to a student's transcript.

Before students can receive their diplomas or transcripts, students must clear any indebtedness to Northern Arizona University.  Students should check their NAU LOUIE accounts to ensure there are no student account “holds.”

Timeframe for Posting

The degree will post to a student’s transcript after the end of the term in which all degree requirements have been met. Degrees will not be posted to transcripts until the Office of the Registrar confirms all grades for the semester. Confirmation of grades usually occurs within two weeks after the end of term and it normally takes four to six weeks to post conferred degrees. Students who do not complete certificate or degree requirements before the final day of the term may request the application be withdrawn, and then must reapply for the next available term.

Participating in Commencement Ceremonies

Commencement is a public ceremony to celebrate graduation. See the University Commencement Website for more details.

Master’s and doctoral students in programs that require a thesis or dissertation as part of their degree requirements, who have completed all coursework for their degree, have successfully completed their thesis/dissertation defense, and have filed Part 1 of the “Final Oral Examination Defense Form” with the Graduate College, may participate in commencement ceremonies. A delay in submitting final copies of the thesis or dissertation after a successful defense will not prevent students from participating in commencement ceremonies.

Master’s and doctoral students in programs that do not require a thesis or dissertation as part of their degree requirements may participate in commencement ceremonies one term prior to the term in which they will complete the degree requirements, only if they have acquired permission from their department/program. Most often these situations include, but are not limited to, final projects, an internship, or other capstone requirements.

Students solely earning a Graduate Certificate will not be eligible to participate in commencement ceremonies.

Participating in commencement does not guarantee that students will graduate or receive a diploma. If students fail to meet all degree requirements or submit an application for graduation by the deadline for each term, their graduation may be delayed.

Rush requests for degree posting

A "rush" means that, if all degree requirements have been met, the degree will be posted as soon as possible immediately following the confirmation of grades for the semester by the Office of the Registrar. For an additional fee, students may request a rush by completing a Transcript Request form with the Office of the Registrar.

Related policies:

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