Graduation Procedures

Preparing for Graduation

Opens in January for May Graduation
Opens in June for August Graduation
Opens in September for December Graduation


Commencement is held once a year in May.  Students who graduate in August or December of the preceding year are invited by the University and SEAS to attend the May ceremony.  Students anticipating graduation in the same year may also apply to participate in the May ceremony. Please order cap and gown from the Bookstore in early March at the Graduation Fair or online by early May if you wish to participate in the May graduation ceremony.
Information on what happens to email accounts post graduation is found here.



Diplomas will be mailed approximately eight to ten weeks following the official degree conferral date by the Office of the Secretary.  Diplomas are issued three times a year: May, August, and December and are mailed in July (May graduates), October (August graduates) and February (December graduates). Certified Electronic Diplomas (CeDiploma) are now being offered for May 2020 students forward. Full information on diplomas (name change, address shipping, paper/electronic diplomas, degree verification, etc.) can be found on the Office of the Secretary’s website.


Master’s Candidates

Master’s students applying for graduation must submit an Application for Master’s Graduation.  The application  is necessary to ensure that grades, thesis revisions, and financial obligations are fulfilled by the deadline for graduation.

Graduation Checklist

  1. Complete the application well in advance of the deadline.
  2. Make sure that your financial obligations are cleared with a zero ($0) balance before the end of the final semester.
  3. Meet with your academic advisor/coordinator/program director to make sure that appropriate courses have been taken for the degree.
  4. If writing a thesis, make sure to meet with faculty advisor for signature.  Pay attention to the deadline for submitting the thesis to RAS.


Ph.D. Candidates

Candidates for Ph.D. degrees need to apply online. All Ph.D. candidates at the University of Pennsylvania are governed by procedures established in the SAS Graduate Office. Engineering Ph.D. candidates should be aware that their applications for graduation are processed in the SAS Graduate Office and that their dissertation is submitted there. The SAS Graduate Office firmly observes the deadlines they establish, so it is important to adhere to their requirements.

Graduation Checklist

  1. Obtain dissertation instructions from your department early in the writing stage.
  2. Confer with your advisor and inform them of the need for a timely reading and signature before graduation.
  3. Fill out the application form well in advance of the deadline as well as securing a deposit date.
  4. Make sure that your financial obligations are cleared before the end of the final semester.
  5. Check that your academic record is complete, and that appropriate courses have been taken for the degree. Students who have completed all requirements for the degree before their final semester should obtain an exemption from registration form from their program coordinator or RAS.