Graduation Information for Graduate Students

Graduate degrees and certificates for students in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and the School of Engineering are conferred in February, May, and August. Instructions for applying for graduation, information about surveys and additional requirements, and guidelines for preparing and submitting a thesis or dissertation are provided below.

Graduate Student Services and academic departments reserve the right to remove from the degree list the names of candidates who have not met degree requirements. Graduate Student Services will communicate with you and your department in such cases.

Applying for Graduation

  1. Use the "Academics" dropdown menu and select "Apply for Graduation." (Please note: the link to apply is only live during the dates published in the deadlines section on this website.) If you are not presented with the correct degree or program, please email Applying in SIS is your formal request to be added to the list of degree or certificate candidates; you must still complete step 2 (below) for your candidacy to be reviewed.
  2. Generate your Graduate Degree Sheet or Recommendation for Award of Certificate. Please review the instructions before submitting.
  3. From your SIS home page, enter your name as you want it printed on your diploma or certificate, and the address where you would like it mailed; use the pencil icons to add or update this information with the "Diploma" label.

Required Surveys

The Graduate Exit Survey is required for all degree candidates, including those who will remain at Tufts for another degree. Candidates will receive an email from the Office of Institutional Research with a personal link to the Graduate Exit Survey approximately 6 weeks prior to graduation. Survey responses are confidential.

PhD candidates must also submit the online Survey of Earned Doctorates (SED). Responses are confidential. A certificate of completion will be emailed to you and to our office when the survey is submitted. Learn more about SED information including purpose and confidentiality. Please note: the SED is not required for OTD candidates.

Other Requirements (if applicable)

Transfer credit – Tufts courses

Any course taken as a Tufts undergraduate and designated as reserved for graduate credit must be formally transferred to your graduate record.

Courses taken as a Tufts combined degree student and approved to count toward both degrees should be reflected on your graduate record. If they are not, please email

Courses taken as a non-degree student (including through University College) and courses taken as a certificate or post-baccalaureate student must be formally transferred to your graduate program.

If any of the above do not appear on your graduate transcript, please submit your request for transfer credit in SIS. Your graduate degree sheet should not be submitted until these courses are on your graduate record. More information on transfer credit is here.

Transfer credit – Other institutions

Credits earned elsewhere that are to be counted toward the degree* must be formally transferred to your graduate record. Your graduate degree sheet should not be submitted if these courses are not included. More information on transfer credit is here. If you are currently taking a course at another institution that cannot be transferred until you have a grade, please write this in in the comments section before you submit your graduate degree sheet.

*Please note:  Certificate and post-baccalaureate students cannot transfer in courses taken at other institutions.


Requirements not indicated on the transcript

If your graduate program has a non-coursework degree requirement that is administered within the school/department, it may not be reflected on your academic record. Such requirements may include (but are not limited to) qualifying papers; project, capstone, or comprehensive examinations; internships; and proficiency in a foreign language. Completion of such requirements is often reflected on the academic record through enrollment or a transcript notation. However, if your department tracks these requirements internally, or if you were exempt or fulfilled the requirement through a nontraditional manner, our office must be informed by your department. Additionally, if your department uses internal forms to indicate completion, these must be forwarded to our office, from your department, by the published deadline. Please check your unofficial transcript and confer with your advisor, graduate director, and/or department staff to make sure we receive confirmation of completion for any such requirements.

Thesis & Dissertation – Preparation and Submission

All students completing a thesis or dissertation as part of their degree requirements must have a defense. A defense consists of two parts:

  1. Students formally present their research in a public forum to the Tufts community and invited guests and respond to questions from the audience;
  2. Students defend their thesis or dissertation to members of their committee in a closed session.

It is the student’s responsibility to distribute copies of the thesis or dissertation to the committee members in advance of the defense. The defense should be scheduled several weeks prior to the thesis or dissertation submission deadline. Detailed information on preparing the thesis or dissertation is provided below. Students must submit the electronic Thesis/Dissertation – Request for Final Approval form to their committee chair once a final draft of the document, including any revisions recommended by the committee, is approved for publication. Online submission of the thesis/dissertation to ProQuest is required. 

The requirements for thesis/dissertation defense and composition of examining committees varies by school and degree. Details can be found in the respective handbooks. Any request for an exception to the requirements in the handbook should be directed to the Office of the Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, or the Office of the Dean for Graduate Education in the School of Engineering.

Organization and Layout


The final thesis or dissertation should be assembled in the order listed below:

  1. Title page (please click link to view a sample)
  2. Abstract (required; 350 words or less for doctoral dissertations, 150 for the master's thesis; both double-spaced)
  3. Acknowledgments (optional)
  4. Table of contents
  5. List of tables (if applicable)
  6. List of figures (if applicable)
  7. Text (main body of thesis/dissertation)
  8. Appendix or appendices (if applicable)
  9. Endnotes (if compiled at the end of the text)
  10. Bibliography

Spacing, Margins, Pagination, and Style

All text material and preliminary pages, including the abstract, should be double-spaced. Notes, bibliographic references, and long quotations may be single-spaced. The left and right margins should be 1 inch wide. The top and bottom margins should be one full inch.

The title page should be lowercase Roman numeral "i" but not typed. Subsequent pages should be typed as "ii, iii," etc., until the thesis proper is reached. The first page of the thesis proper is Arabic "1" and repeats the title only. Pagination appears within the one-inch margin, recommended about 3/4" from the top and right-hand edges of the paper or 3/4" from the bottom edge of the paper, centered. Pagination that includes pages such as "10a," "10b," etc., should be avoided.

Style and techniques of presentation, including documentation, should correspond to standard practices employed in the scholarly field of the thesis/dissertation. Generally acceptable are the documentation styles in The Chicago Manual of Style (University of Chicago Press); The MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers (published by the Modern Language Association of America); or the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association.


Students are the copyright holders of their thesis/dissertation. No additional steps (e.g. formal registration, displaying ©) are necessary for students to become the copyright holder of their work.

Students who have or intend to publish portions of their thesis/dissertation should seek advice on retaining sufficient permissions to re-use their work.

University Microfilm International (UMI) maintains pertinent copyright information and can advise candidates on intellectual property issues. During the electronic submission process students may opt to have ProQuest/UMI file for copyright on their behalf should they want the extra benefits of registration. For additional information about copyright registration, visit the federal Copyright website.

Tisch Library offers periodic workshops and background information on copyright, fair use, and seeking permissions.  Additional information is also available on the Tisch Library website.

Publication & Embargoes

When submitting the thesis/dissertation through ProQuest, students choose their preferred publishing/access option. Detailed information is available on that site. Delayed release (embargo) is available for six months, one year, and up to a maximum of two years. Students may embargo their work directly through ProQuest during the submission process.

In accordance with Tufts University's policies on Intellectual Property, theses/dissertations will be published on the Tufts Digital Library (TDL). The TDL is an open-access website and works deposited into the TDL will available to the public. Embargoed work will not be published on the TDL until the embargo has expired.

If desired, students may order hard bound copies of their work through ProQuest during the submission process.


Information about Commencement can be found here. Participation in Commencement and related activities is extended to students in degree programs who are graduating in May and those who graduated the prior February or August. Students who are on track to graduate the following August may participate in Commencement with advisor approval.  The deadline for submitting the Petition to Participate in Commencement is March 30.

Petition to Participate in Commencement A&S

Petition to Participate in Commencement SOE

Diplomas and Certificates

Diplomas and certificates will be mailed to your diploma address, as entered in SIS as of the degree conferral date, 15 business days after degree conferral. In the absence of a diploma mailing address, diplomas and certificates will be mailed to the home address as entered in SIS as of the degree conferral date. Please refer to the Applying for Graduation section of this website for more information on providing your preferred diploma name and mailing address.

Important Dates and Deadlines

EventFebruary 2024May 2024August 2024

Apply for graduation in SIS and submit online graduate degree sheet or recommendation for award of certificate


September 15 – January 15February 15 – April 20June 1 - August 15
Recommended time frame to submit thesis/dissertation to committee and schedule defense; please remember to make allowances for faculty availabilityEarly DecemberMid MarchEarly July


  • Graduate Exit Survey
  • Survey of Earned Doctorates
  • Thesis/dissertation – Final Approval by Committee Chair
  • Thesis/dissertation submitted in ProQuest
  • Grade changes and transfer credits fully processed
  • Confirmation of completion of requirements not on the transcript
January 16May 3August 16
Degree conferral dateFebruary 10May 19 University CommencementAugust 31
Diplomas mailedEarly MarchEarly JuneMid-Late September

*The Trustee vote on August degrees occurs in mid-September and is retroactive; transcripts will be updated after the official vote.