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Graduation Checklist

The Graduate School is excited to celebrate your achievements and graduation at commencement! Below are several actions that all students must complete to graduate and to prepare for walking at commencement.

Please note: Students are not permitted to walk at commencement before they complete all graduation requirements. Also, be sure to check your Penn State email for all commencement communication from the Gradaute School. 

Graduation Checklist

File Your Intent to Graduate

This notifies the University that you plan to complete your degree requirements by the end of the semester.

Complete any Program Requirements

Check for emails from your graduate program that list any final requirements or requests from your program, department, or college.

Submit Your Thesis or Dissertation

Submit your thesis or dissertation for both format review and final review by the deadlines if this is a requirement for your degree program.

Close Out Any IRB Protocols

Graduating students must close any Institutional Review Board (IRB) protocols before leaving the University. Penn State IRB approval cannot be retained for those no longer actively affiliated with Penn State.

Register for Commencement

Graduating students must register for the Graduate School Commencement.

Order Regalia

Master’s and doctoral students must order different regalia for Commencement, and there is University-approved military cords for ornamentation. The deadline to order regalia for the summer is June 28.

Prepare for Commencement

Find out where to go, when to arrive, what to bring, and more.

Commencement Deferral Requests

Each semester, the Graduate School welcomes several thousand graduating students into Penn State’s alumni ranks. Commencement is an important day for not only graduating students, but also their families, their faculty advisers, support staff, and many others in the graduate education community. 

Students are invited and expected to participate in the graduation ceremony held during their graduating semester due to the complexity of graduation and Commencement. Only rare exceptions due to extenuating circumstances will be considered. Before requesting a deferral, students should keep in mind the following: 

  • Deferral extensions will only be approved for one semester beyond the student’s official graduation semester if space permits.
  • Students are unable to defer to walk at spring semester Commencement. Only students graduating in the spring are permitted to walk that semester.
  • Deferral extensions from a fall or spring semester may take place the following summer.
  • Deferral extensions from a summer semester may take place the following fall.
  • Students are not permitted to walk at graduation before they complete all graduation requirements. This includes meeting all dissertation and thesis deadlines if that is required for a student’s program.

Send graduation deferral requests to

This page was generated on June 16, 2024 at 4:56 PM local time. This may not be the most recent version of this page. Check the Penn State Graduate School website for updates.