Final Term Registration Exceptions for Thesis and Dissertation Students

Note: Students whose graduation timelines have been affected by COVID-19 (for example, dissertation defense date postponed, data collection delayed, etc.) and will need to graduate in a later term than originally planned may petition for a waiver of the final term registration requirement, even if they do not meet the typical requirements for receiving a waiver as outlined below. Students in this situation should submit a General Petition Form to request a waiver.

In general, graduate students must be registered for at least 3 credits during their final term (the term the degree is awarded).

For doctoral students, these 3 credits must be 603 dissertation. For master's students, at least 1 of the 3 credits must be 503 Thesis.


Exceptions to final term registration requirements may be made in the following cases:

Doctoral Dissertations

  • If the final oral defense is held any time after week 9 of a given term, the degree will be awarded at the end of the following term.

  • If the dissertation is submitted to the Graduate School before the start of the following term, registration is waived for the following term (no petition required).
  • If the dissertation is NOT submitted before the start of the following term, the student will be required to register for the following term according to the guidelines below:

    • 3 credits if using any faculty time or institutional resources after the first day of the term.

    • 1 credit if the only use of institutional resources is working with the Graduate School to upload the dissertation and file the required paperwork.

      Permission to register for only 1 credit will require completion of the General Petition Form signed by the advisor and department head stating that there will be no use of faculty or departmental staff resources for that term other than the minimum required to file the final documents with the Graduate School.

  • Students in Clinical Psychology, School Psychology, and Counseling Psychology: your registration requirements will vary based on the timing of your defense and internship. Click here for details.

Doctoral Dissertation Defense and Submission Examples

Defense is heldDissertation is submittedDegree is AwardedSpring registrationSummer registration
Before Spring term deadlineBefore Spring term deadlineSpring termAt least 3 creditsN/A
After Spring term deadlineBefore start of Summer termSummer termAt least 3 creditsWaived
After Spring term deadlineAfter start of Summer termSummer termAt least 3 credits1 credit if no faculty time
3 credits if still working with faculty

Master’s Theses

  • If the thesis is not submitted by the published deadline for a given term, the student must reapply for graduation for a future term.

  • If the thesis is submitted to the Graduate School before the start of the following term, registration is waived for the following term (no petition required).

  • If the thesis is NOT submitted before the start of the following term, the student will be required to register for the following term according to the guidelines below:

    • 3 credits if using any faculty time or institutional resources after the first day of the term.

    • 1 credit if the only use of institutional resources is working with the Graduate School to upload the dissertation and file the required paperwork.

      Permission to register for only 1 credit will require completion of the General Petition Form signed by the advisor and department head stating that there will be no use of faculty or departmental staff resources for that term other than the minimum required to file the final documents with the Graduate School.

      Master’s Thesis Submission Examples

      Thesis is submittedDegree is AwardedSpring registrationSummer registration
      Before Spring term deadlineSpring termAt least 3 creditsN/A
      Before start of Summer termSummer termAt least 3 creditsWaived
      After start of Summer termSummer termAt least 3 credits1 credit if no faculty time
      3 credits if still working with faculty