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Guide to Graduation

Plan of Study Approved

  • The Plan of Study is the first step that must be completed.
  • Masters: Before the end of second term of enrollment in M.S. program.
  • Ph.D.: Before end of third semester of enrollment in Ph.D. program.

Please check your Plan of Study on HokieSpa and compare it to your unofficial academic transcript for any errors. Make sure that all courses listed on the Plan of Study have a grade showing if they have already been completed. If you have transfer credits on your Plan of Study, be sure that the Graduate School has an official copy of transcripts from the transfer institution showing the transferred courses with final grades.

Submit Application for Degree

  • Deadlines:    Fall                 October 1
  •                         Spring            March 1
  •                         Summer I       June 1
  •                         Summer II      August 1

Check Semester Commencement Deadlines on Graduate School Website

Schedule Final Exam with Advisory Committee

When scheduling your final exam with your committee, be sure that you have given all of themembers a copy of the FINAL version of your thesis or dissertation.

Submit Request for Final Exam

The Request to Admit Candidate to the Final Exam Form can be found on the Graduate School’s website and must be submitted online at least three weeks before the actual exam date. You must be enrolled during the semester you defend. If you are going to register for Start of Semester Defense Exception Request Form, the request form needs to be submitted at minimum of three weeks prior to the final exam date.

Final Exam

The electronic final exam card will be generated by the Graduate School once the request formhas been approved by all committee members in the online final exam system. The day before your exam, be sure to log into the system to confirm your final exam has been officially scheduled. If it has not, see the Graduate Program Coordinator or Graduate Program Director immediately. The final exam card should be electronically signed by all of your committee members on the day of the exam.

Be sure that all of your committee members have filled out the examination criteria evaluation form. The Committee Chair will collect and submit these to the Graduate Program Coordinator or Graduate Program Director.

ETD Forms (Thesis and Dissertation Only)

ETD approval form can be found on Graduate School website/forms. Once all changes have been made to your thesis or dissertation, your ETD (Electronic Thesis and Dissertation) Approval Form with electronic signatures from all committee members must be submitted. Students will also complete the ProQuest Dissertation/Master’s ThesisSubmission Form and submit this to the Graduate Program Coordinator. If you have any other forms, such as copyright, permission granted letters, etc., they will need to be submitted to the Graduate School when once the ETD has been submitted. Please be sure that you submit a copy of these letters to the department to be kept in your file as well.

Submit ETD Within Two Weeks of Final Exam

Your thesis or dissertation needs to be in PDF format and submitted electronically via the ETD website. The URL is as follows: You are advised to become familiar with the website and procedures long before you are ready to submit your ETD. There are templates for most writing programs on the site, which can be downloaded and used when drafting your thesis or dissertation. This may prevent you from needing it returned for corrections after it has been submitted. There are also practice submissions and tutorials which are very helpful.


Make sure that all work is completed for all courses and that all grades have been posted. This can be checked by viewing your unofficial transcripts on HokieSpa.

Student Fees

Before your degree can be awarded, you must be sure that all of your fees have been paid to the University Bursar’s Office. You can check the status of your account at any time on HokieSpa.

*** All forms must be submitted to either the Graduate Program Coordinator or the Graduate Program Director for Department Head and Graduate Program approval. The department will submit forms to the Graduate School in order to ensure that departmental requirements have been met and proper records are maintained.