VCU Bulletins

Graduate School

Graduation requirements

All degrees are conferred by the VCU Board of Visitors upon recommendation of the graduate faculty.

Candidates for degrees are eligible for graduation upon completion of all academic requirements in effect at the time of official matriculation into the program, provided the students are continuously enrolled and provided the requirements are met within the time limit specified by the school or program and the University Graduate Council. Students failing to satisfy the time requirement and who are readmitted to their programs shall satisfy requirements in effect at the time of readmission.

Degrees are granted at the close of the semester or summer session in which students complete their work. Degrees will not be granted unless all financial obligations have been resolved with VCU’s Office of Student Accounting. Students must be enrolled at the time of application (i.e., the semester in which students graduate).

No degrees will be conferred unless students make formal application to graduate.

Degrees will be awarded and diplomas issued in a current semester only. Students who do not submit/complete their applications to graduate in the semester in which they actually complete their programs will be awarded their degrees in the semester in which they apply to graduate. In such cases, a text notation will be added to the transcript to indicate the date that course work for the degree was completed. Program directors and academic school deans must submit a special action request to the Graduate School to this effect that also includes a request for a waiver of the requirement that the students must be enrolled at the time of application/reapplication. A request for a waiver of the enrollment requirement must document that the student has completed all degree requirements and is not using any university resources (i.e., libraries, computer labs, faculty advising, etc.)

Graduation applications must be submitted by students to their advisers or deans no later than the dates indicated in the university’s academic calendars on the Web at Students should schedule conferences with their advisers well ahead of the deadline and should note that the application requires the approval of the adviser, the department chair or the school director of graduate studies, and the school dean. Credit is applicable toward only one degree unless students are admitted to a course of study that allows a defined number of shared courses. Graduate credit hours earned toward a VCU certificate may be applied one time to degree requirements for master’s or Ph.D. programs. Graduate credit hours earned toward a VCU certificate may be applied toward only one certificate. The determination of the acceptability of specific courses to be used for both the certificate and the graduate degree will be the responsibility of that masters or Ph.D. program or school.

Revised 5/11/2010
University Graduate Council

Graduation checklist

The total number of semester credits required for graduation depends upon the degree program. Specific information may be found under degree program descriptions. In addition to the specific requirements listed by the department, the following graduation checklist for graduate students, advisers and program directors summarizes all general requirements for graduation as determined by the University Graduate Council.

Revised 5/11/2010; 5/10/2011
University Graduate Council

Application to graduate

At the beginning of each semester, all matriculated graduate students will receive an e-mail reminder from the Office of Records and Registration/Graduation Office to initiate the application-to-graduate process for the current semester.

The e-mail notification will be sent to the official VCU student e-mail address and will include submission deadlines and guidelines. (All graduate students in the School of Medicine are asked to complete a preliminary review before initiating the graduation process and are referred to the School of Medicine guidelines or to their advisers/graduate program directors regarding application-to-graduate procedures.)

Students planning to graduate in the current semester should proceed as follows:

The Graduate School Application to Graduate consists of:

Graduate students, program directors and academic school deans/designees are required to conduct a final review of all academic histories as part of the application-to-graduate check-out process as articulated in this Bulletin (catalog) and on the Graduate School website. A student’s signature on the application to graduate is acknowledgement that the student has reviewed the academic history and that it is correct. Final approval signatures by graduate program directors and academic school deans/designees on the final application to graduate confirm that the student’s academic history is complete, correct and final and that no future requests for changes to the academic history will be considered once the student has been approved to graduate.

Detailed information about the application-to-graduate process for graduate students and guidelines for graduate program directors/advisers are available on the Graduate School website at

Revised 5/11/2010
University Graduate Council

Reapplying for graduation

Candidates who do not graduate at the end of the semester for which they have applied must reregister and reapply. Students must be enrolled at the time of application/reapplication (i.e., the semester in which the student graduates).


Graduate students are encouraged to visit the Graduate School website for information about university Graduate School events and activities for May and December commencement ceremonies. Students also are encouraged to visit the VCU Commencement website.

Time limit for completion of requirements and eligibility of courses

The time limit for a graduate degree will not extend beyond a period of six years for graduate certificates and master’s degrees and eight years for doctoral degrees.

Course work completed before matriculation and applied toward the degree, including course work at VCU and that transferred from other institutions, will be evaluated by the program/department to determine whether it can be used to fulfill degree requirements. For course work that was taken more than eight years prior to the completion of the VCU degree, the graduate program director and school dean/designee will evaluate the course work for acceptability and report those courses deemed acceptable to the dean of the Graduate School. (See policy on Exceptions.)

Revised 5/11/2010; 5/10/2011
University Graduate Council


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Last update: 8/20/2012

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