Graduate Student Handbook


All students are required to complete a graduation application online in order to receive a degree from Lehigh University.  


  • Fall term graduation: Apply by October 1
  • Spring term graduation: Apply by February 1
  • Summer term graduation: Apply by July 1

Applications submitted after the specified deadline will be charged a $50 late application fee. No applications will be accepted within three weeks of the graduation date. Students who fail to submit an application must apply for the next available degree awarding date. 

Students are responsible for meeting with an advisor, and ensuring that all degree requirements have been satisfied in accordance with the University Catalog. No degree will be awarded with incomplete requirements. All degree requirements must be complete by 8:30 AM(EST) the Friday before the graduation date. Students using transfer credit to receive a degree must submit an official transcript to Registration & Academic Services by this deadline in order to avoid graduation delays.

Graduate Students

  • Apply for graduation by the deadlines referenced above
  • Meet with your advisor to make sure all degree requirements are satisfied
  • Review your college's checklist
  • Master's Programs: Submit completed, approved Master Degree Program form 
  • Certificate students: Complete the Certificate form
  • Submit your completed Thesis if required and bring a hard copy of the title sheet, original signature sheet of thesis, abstract, open access form and receipt from Bursar's Office
  • Doctoral Programs - Submit your completed Dissertation
  • Order appropriate regalia, contact bookstore 610.758.3375 
  • Complete the Graduate Next Destination survey

Important Notes

  • A student must be registered in the semester in which they graduate.  The one and only exception is, If they finish their coursework by the 10th day of the fall term they do not need to be registered in the fall semester if they will be graduating in January.  They must be registered in the spring term if they are graduating in the spring.
  • Students must be certain that they have completed all coursework for any incomplete grades that they have received.
  • Dissertations must be cleared by the Dean of the College of Education.
  • Financial obligations must have been met.  Tuition, fees, bookstore charges, library fines, and motor vehicle fines must all be paid before getting clearance for graduation.
  • All library books must be returned.
  • The interdepartmental clearance sheet must be completed.  This form requires the signature of Facilities Services before it is submitted to the Registrar at least three days before graduation.
  • Masters students must file their masters program as soon as they have registered for the final classes they need to graduate.

Degree Registration

A student must be registered in the semester in which the degree is conferred.  If a student is not registered for a course, he/she must register for maintenance of candidacy.  Candidates for a September degree do not need to be enrolled the summer preceding the degree if they were enrolled both fall and spring of the current academic year.

Application for Degree

Candidates for degrees to be conferred on University Day in May must file an application for degree with the registrar by March 1.  Candidates for degrees to be conferred in January must file by November 1.  Candidates for degrees to be conferred in September must file by July 1.  Late application for a degree will incur a penalty fee.  The calendar for meeting deadlines is published in the Lehigh University catalog and on the Registrar's website where you click on the appropriate academic calendar under quick links.

Eligibility Criteria for Participation in University Doctoral Hooding Ceremony


The doctoral hooding ceremony takes place on the weekend prior to the May commencement exercises and recognizes the Ph.D. and Ed.D. recipients with the traditional bestowing of the doctoral hood. This policy defines the criteria that determine which students are eligible to participate in the doctoral hooding ceremony.


A student may participate in the doctoral hooding ceremony if he or she meets any ONE of these criteria. To preserve the integrity and dignity of the ceremony, there will be no exceptions.

1.  The student has completed ALL requirements for the Ph.D. or Ed.D. and is cleared by the Registrar for graduation in the May commencement exercises. 

2.  The student received his or her Ph.D. or Ed.D. on one of the preceding fall or winter degree–granting dates.

3.  The student has completed ALL requirements for the Ph.D. or Ed.D. except for a required internship that will be completed before August 31 in the same year as the hooding ceremony (that is, roughly three months after the hooding ceremony). In this case, the dissertation must be defended, signed, and submitted to University Microfilms by the close of business on the last day of classes in the spring semester prior to the hooding ceremony.

Such students must petition the Standing of Graduate Students Committee (SOGS) for permission to participate, and SOGS will determine whether the student’s circumstances meet the eligibility criteria. The petition must be submitted to the Registrar at least 10 days prior to the May Commencement.


The University holds one commencement ceremony annually in May. Students who are within a year of graduation may participate in the ceremony. Students should not apply for spring graduation solely for the purposes of participating in commencement. Instead, students should apply for graduation for the semester in which they plan to complete their requirements and indicate their intention to participate in the ceremony when completing the online graduation application. Students must submit a graduation application by April 26 to have their name published in the commencement ceremony program.

If you are eligible to participate in commencement, you will receive additional communication from University Events about commencement (including ordering your cap and gown) during the spring semester of commencement. For more information on commencement, please visit the University Events Commencement website. 


Diplomas will be mailed to the address provided on the graduation application approximately 4-6 weeks following the degree awarding date. Students are responsible for providing a valid mailing address when submitting the graduation application. Students can review their graduation application including the diploma mailing address in their Banner account (Student Services --> Student Academic Records --> View Graduation Application). Students who wish to change their diploma mailing address should complete the diplomas address update form (Lehigh account and login required) at least two weeks prior to their graduation date.