Completing a Graduate Degree

Completing your graduate degree requires completing all paperwork before the semester deadlines.

During your academic career, it is also important that you are aware of Graduate School policies and procedures that are detailed in the Graduate Student Handbook. The Handbook also provides a detailed checklist for completing a graduate degree.


Graduate School Minimum Course Credit Requirements. In order to earn a master's or a doctoral degree, the Graduate School requires minimum course credits for both Plan I (thesis or dissertation) or Plan II (non-thesis or non-dissertation) paths.  These requirements are detailed in the Graduate Student Handbook. Graduate program requirements may exceed the Graduate School minimums. Therefore, you should check with your program director for additional program requirements.

Program requirement. It is your responsibility to consult the graduate catalog and meet with your advisor to ensure that you have completed the requirements of your program. Questions about Graduate School requirements not satisfactorily answered on the web site should be addressed to the Graduate School (934-8227)

Application for Admission to Candidacy form. Doctoral students must submit this form before the first day of classes at least two semesters before the semester of intended graduation and be enrolled in research hours during those two semesters. (If you pre-register, this form must be completed before that date.) Master's students must submit this form before the first day of classes at least one semester before the semester of intended graduation and be enrolled in research hours during that semester. Admission to candidacy must be submitted and approved by the Graduate School before you can register for research hours (699 or 799). The graduate study committee must be appointed and approved by the Graduate School dean.

IRB and IACUC Approval. If the research involves human or animal subjects, approval from IRB or IACUC must be documented before admission to candidacy can be approved and must be kept current until the research is completed. The student's name must appear on all IRB Approval Forms. For more information regarding IRB (human subjects) requirements, visit http://www.uab.edu/research/administration/offices/IRB/Pages/Home.aspx. For more information regarding IACUC (animal subjects) requirements, visit http://www.uab.edu/research/administration/offices/IACUC/Pages/default.aspx.

Application for Degree (Master's and Educational Specialist) or Application for Degree (Doctoral). The application for degree must be received in the Graduate School Records Office by the deadline date listed on our website http://www.uab.edu/graduate/deadline-dates; however, check with your department as some programs have earlier deadline dates for the application for degree and may require the form to be submitted directly to the department (i.e. School of Education). The $50 fee will be charged to your student account. This form is your official notification to the Graduate School that you intend to complete graduation requirements that semester. The process of clearing your records for graduation begins with the receipt of this application.

  • If your public defense will be held before the 3rd week of classes, you must submit your application for degree earlier. Approval forms, which must be requested 2 weeks before the public defense, cannot be completed until the Application for Degree is processed.
  • This application does not carry over into the following semester. Students who do not complete graduation requirements as expected must reapply for the following semester and must register for course hours in that semester. The new application for degree form (approved at the departmental level and submitted to the Graduate School) must be submitted by the posted deadline for that semester. Your records must be checked again, and a new diploma will be ordered. The reorder fee is $25 and will be charged to your student account.

The following requirements and procedures apply only to students who are completing a thesis or dissertation (Plan 1)

Plan 2 students (non thesis/dissertation) consult your department concerning requirements for final projects and papers. 

Final, public defense. Some programs hold private and public defense meetings; however, the Graduate School is concerned only with the public defense, which must be held by the posted semester deadline. An earlier defense date is strongly recommended in order to allow time for completing the final requirements before graduation (i.e., format approval and submission of final document to the Graduate School). Set the date and time of your final defense well in advance and at a time when all committee members can attend. Determine from your committee members how far in advance of your defense date they require a completed copy of your manuscript for review. 

Thesis or dissertation approval forms.No later than 2 weeks before your final defense, submit the on-line request for your approval forms. (Approval forms cannot be completed before the Graduate School has received your application for degree). Fill out this form carefully. Be certain to list the correct graduate program name (which often differs from the academic department name). If there have been changes to your committee, these changes must be entered on the Change of Committee Formbefore your approval forms can be completed. You will be notified via e-mail when your forms are ready to be picked up in the Graduate School office (HUC 511). Check your printed approval forms carefully for accuracy. Your name, the names of your committee members, your program name, and the title of your thesis/dissertation must precisely match your official UAB records.

As soon as possible after your defense, complete any changes or corrections to your manuscript that were requested by your committee and obtain signatures of all committee members and your program director in blue or black ink on your approval form.

No later than 2 weeks following your public defense, your committee approved thesis or dissertation and all applicable forms are due in the Graduate School.  Your document will be reviewed for adherence to format requirements and for consistency in format and style. (See the UAB Format Manual). If you are reprinting a published article or previously published illustrations, you must also submit permission to reprint from the copyright holder. (see Publishing Your Thesis or Dissertation and Editing).

 

Doctoral Dissertations and Master's Theses are submitted online at http://dissertations.umi.com/uab/  Follow the online instructions. The UAB Publication Agreement is submitted online. All applicable forms must be received before the document will be reviewed.

Doctoral students are required to take the Graduate School's Exit Survey before the degree will be conferred. After the completed dissertation has been turned in, the student will be notified to complete the survey via Blackboard.

If you have no outstanding fees or grades, the email notification of final approval of your thesis or dissertation completes your graduation requirements. Approximately midway through your final semester, you will receive a letter that contains your Graduation Checklist. Review this letter carefully and keep it for your records to ensure that all graduation requirements are being met. If you have questions about unpaid fees, contact Student Accounting. If you have questions about grades, contact your department. Grades for the final semester are not submitted until the end of the semester.

After your document has been approved by the Graduate School you may...

  • Order bound copies of your thesis or dissertation for your personal use. If you want a copy of your signed approval form to be included in your personal copies, you must make copies after they are signed and place them in the copies you send to be bound. The original form is kept in the Graduate School.
  • Request a letter of degree verification if required for employment or a post-doctoral appointment. Your grades and student account will be checked at that time and, if appropriate, a letter indicating that you have completed all degree requirements and the date on which your degree will be conferred will be mailed. Details concerning degree verification are included in the instructions you receive with your approval forms.

Note: Students who leave the Birmingham area before the approval process is complete are STILL responsible for ensuring that their own requirements are met before semester deadlines.

Degree is officially conferred when the final copy of your document has been cleared by the Graduate School office and when all records have been cleared. Grades are not cleared until the end of exams in the semester in which you graduate. Once the degree has been officially awarded, degree verification can be obtained through Student Clearinghouse (http://www.studentclearinghouse.org/). Official transcripts can be requested through the One Stop Student Services (934-4300 or http://www.uab.edu/onestop)

Here are additional sources of information about graduation requirements: