The steps to Commencement are simple, but they require active participation on the part of the student to go smoothly. Please be aware of the following actions and keep up with the process throughout the semester you plan to graduate.

1. Make Sure Your Student Email Address is Active

This is the only official notification instrument that the college uses to communicate your status as a graduation candidate. You must have registered for classes in the last two years (six semesters) to have an active email address. If your address does not work, first complete re-entry into your graduate program and then follow these instructions to reactivate or create a new Georgia State University email address.

Do not set up your email address to forward mail to another account. If you have already done so, please be certain that email is being forwarded to an active email account. Often students set up mail to be forwarded, and then change or close the target account. The Office of Graduate Services cannot be responsible for communication of required information if email is being routed to a “dead” or forgotten email account not sponsored by Georgia State University.

If you have particular problems with this requirement, please call the Office of Graduate Services at (404) 413-5040.

2. Apply for Graduation Via Your PAWS Account.

The Office of the Registrar typically asks students to apply for graduation TWO SEMESTERS in advance.  Specifics about that process can be found on the university graduation webpage:  When applying for graduation, make sure the term you intend to graduate is the same term your degree requirements will be met.

If you intended to graduate a previous semester and were unable to do so, please notify Mr. Chad Van Gorden in the Office of Graduate Services.  Also, students who know they will not graduate the semester for which they have applied should contact Mr. Chad Van Gorden and submit a Graduation Change Form.

NOTE: The Office of Graduate Services does NOT handle the graduation application process.

3. Register for Classes

You must be registered during the semester that you complete your degree requirements. Check with the graduate director in your department to determine which courses and how many hours you will be required to take.  You must also be in compliance with the Continuous Enrollment policy.

4. Confirmation and Instructions

At the beginning of the semester of your intended graduation, the Office of Graduate Services will confirm that you are on the graduation list.  You will also receive instructions and forms that will aid in the graduation process.  If your intended graduation term has changed, please notify Mr. Chad Van Gorden immediately.  Waiting until later in the semester could cause unnecessary confusion or delays.

5. College Audit

Before midterm of the semester you have applied to graduate, you will receive a personalized review of your graduate program regarding College of Arts and Sciences regulations.  The Office of Graduate Services checks for the following compliance for graduation:

  • Total Number of Hours Taken in the current program to see that they match the published requirements in the catalog in force during the student’s admission or most recent re-admission to the program.
  • Residency Requirements for Doctoral Candidates to see that the proper number of consecutive terms of residency have been met.
  • Time Limit Requirements to assure that all graduate work has been done from proposed graduation from the program to no more than seven years for masters and ten years for doctoral candidates.
  • Number of Research Hours Taken to verify that each student has completed the number of research hours established by the Graduate Council for all master’s and doctoral candidates.
  • Special Status Clearance establishing written confirmation that the student has met any Special Status requirements articulated in the acceptance letter and that the graduate director of the department has verified this.
  • Number of Hours Taken in Full Status to ensure that 20 semester hours of coursework have been completed in Full Graduate Status for those students who were initially admitted under the Special Status category.
  • Authenticity of Previous Degrees based on original transcripts submitted at the time of application or more recently if necessary.
  • Cumulative Grade Point Average to determine that a 3.00 or better graduate GPA from Georgia State University (regardless of time limit) is held by the date of graduation.
  • Regulations for particular programs of study are certified complete by the department graduate director for the particular department of the candidate.

NOTE: Clearance from the Office of Graduate Services does not constitute full clearance for graduation.

If you began a graduate program of study in Fall 2004 or later, you may be able to check your compliance status online through PAWS.

Again, if you do not think you will graduate this semester, please reply to the email with that information.

6. Manuscript Review

If you are in a non-thesis program, you must have your paper completed and approved by the calendar deadline date for the semester of graduation registration.

If you are a candidate for a degree requiring a thesis or dissertation, you must comply with the instructions in the Thesis/Dissertation Guide, and upload your approved composition to the library web server according to all deadlines.