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Degree Completion FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Progress to Degree

The Graduate School publishes the online Graduate Catalog which contains information about policies, procedures, and courses pertaining to graduate education at Virginia Tech. It describes all of the graduate programs and requirements, and it lists faculty for each department. The Graduate Catalog also contains the Constitution of the Graduate Honor System.

The Graduate Catalog is available online. The Graduate School does not provide printed catalogs.

If you have completed all of the requirements for your undergraduate degree, you should complete a dual to regular master's form.

If you stay in the same graduate program, you may use a change of admission status form. Your department graduate committee may wish to re-evaluate your qualifications before granting admission to the doctoral program. If you are changing graduate programs, you should contact the graduate committee chairman of that department to determine what information they will require to consider your admission and complete the online application.

No, you will not need to request "leave" in order to leave for the summer. However, if you have an assistantship that requires that you work during the summer, you will need to discuss your plans with your department.

You can find the forms on our Forms page. Most are fillable pdfs that can be downloaded and filled out. The Forms page also provides instructions on how to submit your forms. 

The plan of study is essentially a contract between the student and his/her advisory committee detailing the courses that the student will take for completion of the requirements for the degree. It protects both the integrity of the graduate program and the student because it cannot be changed without mutual consent of the student and the committee. See the Policies and Procedures Manual and Graduate Catalog for specific deadlines.

Students who were unable to schedule an examination time with their committee during the last term they were enrolled and who have completed all requirements for the degree, including preparation and having the final copy of their thesis or dissertation reviewed by the advisory committee, are eligible for Start of Semester Defense Exception. Start of Semester Defense Exception form.

The examination must take place in the first five weeks  of the succeeding academic term. If the thesis or dissertation is still in review or the student is still gathering or analyzing data, he or she is not eligible for Start of Semester Defense Exception and should be enrolled for three hours in order to defend later in the semester.

 1. Have a complete and up to date Plan of Study.

 2. Submit an application for degree (Degree Conferral Request Form) before the deadline for the semester you wish to graduate.

 3. Be sure that the Graduate School has official copies of all transcripts for transfer courses.

 4. Pay all fees due to the university.

 5. Schedule your final exam two weeks in advance, and take your exam before the deadline for graduation for the academic term.

 6. Return your final exam card to the Graduate School immediately following the examination.

 7. Turn in your thesis or dissertation before the deadline for graduation.

 Check the Dates and Deadlines page for specific details

You should contact your advisor and attempt to find a faculty member who can serve as a replacement. After a replacement has been found, you must submit a Change of Committee Form to the Graduate School.

Only students who have completed all requirements for the doctoral degree, including turning in the dissertation and having it approved by the Graduate School, may participate in the doctoral commencement ceremony.

Students sometimes make mistakes and find their original program is not what they thought it was going to be. Changing programs requires approval from the Graduate Dean and both the former department and the new department. Students should not enter the university with the intent of using admission to one program as a stepping-stone for transferring to another graduate program. Change of Program Form.