Steps to Graduation

GraduationThe graduation process generally begins the semester before you intend to graduate, as required forms are due very early the semester you will graduate. Consult the academic calendar and the Graduate School calendar for detailed due dates. This site has instructions for Master’s and Doctoral degree candidates, as well as for Education Specialist and Graduate Certificate candidates. 

Because forms are kept in your permanent record, it is important that they be typed. Most forms can be edited on a computer and then printed for signatures. All dates and deadlines can be found on the Graduate School calendar. All materials should be turned in to Graduate Student services via email (preferred) or the front desk in the lobby of West David Boyd Hall.

NOTE: If you determine, during the course of the semester, that you will not meet the requirements for graduation, you must notify the graduate school immediately by filling out and submitting the Request to Delete Application for Degree form and the Request for Update forms (Masters or Doctoral). If additional assistance is needed, please email us.


General Information

Students are advised to consult LSU’s Commencement site, which live-streams the ceremony in addition to providing details for all graduation ceremonies. The Ceremony Information tab includes photograph information and seating availability, and the Graduate Resources tab houses information on caps and gowns and diplomas. Family and friends from out of town should consult the visitor information page for accommodation and parking information, maps, and directions.


Required Forms

Please consult the instructions for checking the status of your paperwork on myLSU.

Candidates for Master’s Degrees (Non-Thesis/Project Option and Thesis Option)


Candidates for Doctoral Degrees

  • One original copy of the Doctoral Application for Degree
  • One original copy, with all signatures, of the Doctoral Final Exam Request.
    • This form is due at least 3 weeks prior to the examination and this date must be before the current semester deadline. Your committee members must have graduate faculty status. Each faculty member should be given a copy of the exam request. It is the student’s responsibility to contact all committee members, including the Dean’s representative, to schedule an appropriate final examination date.
  • The Survey of Earned Doctorates must be submitted before the final dissertation is approved by the Graduate School.


Candidates for Certificate of Education Specialist


Candidates for Graduate Certificates


Thesis and Dissertation Formatting and Submission Information

The Graduate School has a handbook, Guidelines for the Preparation of Master's Theses and Doctoral Dissertations, which provides instructions for preparing, formatting, and submitting your document. You will need to prepare your document according to these instructions before you submit your thesis or dissertation to the Graduate School. Sample documents, as well as a LaTeX template, are available for you to consult. Instructions are also available on how to convert your thesis or dissertation into .PDF format.

When you are ready to prepare your manuscript for submission and prepare for your defense, complete the following steps in order. 

  1. Read the Guidelines for the Preparation of Master's Theses and Doctoral Dissertations to learn about the various parts of your document, how to put it together, and how to submit it. Prepare your document according to the directions in this manual.
  2. Schedule and hold your defense as early as possible in the semester of graduation. Make the corrections and/or revisions that are required by your committee and secure final approval of your document from your committee and major professor.
  3. To begin the turn-in process, ensure that all required forms (application for degree, etc.) have been submitted to the Graduate School by logging in to myLSU and selecting “Graduate Milestones” under “Student Services.” Additionally, you will need to fill out and complete the thesis or dissertation checklist and the access request form when you request your ETD logon id. This logon id and password is how you will submit your electronic thesis or dissertation to the ETD website. You must use the logon id and password provided by the Graduate School.
  4. The ETD reviewer will review the document and inform you via email of any necessary corrections. Make all corrections with your word processor, convert your final file to a .PDF and submit in a single file electronically through the ETD site for final approval. If additional corrections are necessary, and/or when the document is approved, you and your advisory committee will be notified by e-mail.
  5. When completing the submission page on the ETD site, be sure to include all committee members and their e-mail addresses in the proper boxes. List their names, in mixed case letters, as “Doe, John” or “Smith, Susan.” Do not use professorial or honorary titles such as Dr., Miss, The O.K. Allen Distinguished Professor of Buildings.
  6. For current semester graduates, after receiving the e-mail approval notice, you have completed the ETD process. For students registering for Degree Only for the upcoming semester, further steps are necessary to complete the Degree Only registration.

 Be aware that if substantial additional corrections are needed at this point, you may not be able to meet the submission deadline for the current semester and may have to graduate in the following semester.


Dissertation Awards

Once your dissertation has been completed and submitted to the Graduate School, you should consider submitting it to any dissertation award contests sponsored by your department and/or professional organizations in your discipline. 

Additionally, your department can nominate your dissertation for the Distinguished Dissertation Award, sponsored by the LSU Alumni Association. Two awards are given: one in the arts, humanities, and social sciences, and one in science, engineering, and technology. The award consists of $2,000 along with a certificate. Awards are presented to the doctoral student in each category whose research and writing epitomize superior scholarship. Any student who receives his or her doctoral degree at any of the three commencements in a calendar year is eligible to be nominated. Winning dissertations are chosen by committee of members of the graduate faculty. Recent winners have come from English, Chemical Engineering, Biological Sciences, History, and Physics and Astronomy.