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Doctoral Graduation Information

The information is intended to guide you in completing your degree requirements. It is not intended to substitute for departmental advising! See your departmental advisor to confirm that you have met all the following requirements and to determine what additional departmental requirements may exist.

a photo of a student wearing a graduation cap and gown holding her diploma in front of a large wall hanging of the official seal of Western Michigan University

Information from the Office of the University Registrar

General WMU Information about Commencement

Steps towards graduation

  1. A program of study (also known as the graduate student permanent program) must be filed in the Records Office. Please make sure your department has forwarded the original program and any revisions that may have been made. If your department does not have a Program of Study form, you may use this one (also located on our forms page).
  2. Pass all qualifying and comprehensive exams. Notification of successful completion of exams must be sent by the department to the Records Office before the audit can be completed.
  3. File a Doctoral Dissertation Committee Appointment form with the Coordinator of Theses and Dissertations NO LATER THAN ONE WEEK AFTER THE COMMITTEE IS FORMED [click here for committee requirements and form]
  4. Apply for graduation audit by the stated deadline. Earlier submission is strongly encouraged; you may change your graduation date at any point after the audit without paying an additional application fee.
    Graduation Semester Application deadline
    April December 1
    June February 1
    August February 1
    December August 1
  5. Review audit letter for any unmet requirements:
    • any incomplete grades must be removed.
    • if not finishing the degree within the 7-year time limit, an extension of time must be sought from The Graduate College [extension form].
    • successfully defended specialist project must be submitted to The Graduate College by the deadline for graduation [submission deadlines].
    • notification of completion of all comprehensive exams must be submitted by department to Records Office.
    • must have overall 3.0 GPA to graduate with a doctoral degree.
    • all graduation requirements must be completed within 30 days after date of commencement.
  6. Participation in the Commencement Ceremony:
    • There is no Commencement Ceremony at the conclusion of the Summer II semester. Doctoral graduates are the only students who receive their actual diploma at the ceremony, undergraduates and master's graduates receive a commemorative diploma tube and their authentic diploma is mailed at a later date. For this reason doctoral graduates may not participate early in Commencement before all of their requirements are met. For example, if a PhD student plans to graduate in August, they cannot participate in Commencement in June but instead must wait until December to participate in the ceremony.
  7. Schedule defense of dissertation:
    • all of the above requirements must be met before the defense can be scheduled.
    • defense must take place at least one week before dissertation submission deadline [submission deadlines].
    • notification must be submitted to The Graduate College at least two weeks prior to defense date [defense scheduling form].
    • prepare three original copies of the dissertation approval form for signature by your committee [approval forms].
    • at least three members of your committee must attend the defense.
    • submit defended dissertation to The Graduate College by the deadline for graduation [submission deadlines].
  1. If graduation requirements are not completed by the deadlines, you must change your graduation date by contacting the Office of Graduation Auditing at 269 387-4300.