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 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, Formatting Electronic Theses and Dissertations, which provides instructions for preparing, formatting, and submitting your document. You will need to prepare your document according to these instructions. Sample pages and a LaTeX template are included for you to consult. Instructions are also available on our website on how to convert your thesis or dissertation into .PDF format.

Ready to Submit?

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

1. Make any revisions that are required by your committee and secure final approval of your document from your committee and major professor. Plan to submit your document before the semester deadlines listed in the Graduate School calendar

2. Read the Formatting Electronic Theses and Dissertations to learn about the various parts of your document, how to format it, and how to submit it.


3. To begin the turn-in process after you have completed all revisions and have formatted your document correctly, confirm that all required forms for graduation have been submitted to the Graduate School by logging in to myLSU and selecting “Graduate Milestones” under “Student Services." A walkthrough is available to help you navigate this section. 

4. You will need to decide whether you would like to release your document to the public upon final approval or restrict access to your document. Theses and dissertations can be restricted for either one year or seven years with no approval required. Upon your document restriction's expiration, your document will automatically become publicly available for download in Digital Commons. If you would like to request an extension on a current restriction, please complete this form and send it to Please be aware that there are no restrictions available for more than seven years.

The Digital Commons Process

5. In order to submit your document for review, you will first need to create a Digital Commons account and heed the following instructions:

  • Do not create more than one Digital Commons account and do not create a new submission to upload document revisions.
    • All document revisions must be submitted by logging into your Digital Commons account and choosing the "submit revisions" option.
    • If you have forgotten your password, click HERE to reset it.
    • If you have forgotten the email address you used to create your Digital Commons account, please email for assistance.
  • Note that your “" email address expires one year after graduation. Please use a long-term email address such as,, etc. when creating your account.
  • Use your full name as shown in your university records.The name you use must match the one that is on your approval sheets and on the LSU database.
  • Choose "Louisiana State University and Agricultural and Mechanical College" as your Institutional Affiliation. 

Completing the Submission Page

6. When completing the submission page on Digital Commons, be sure to include all committee members and their email 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, or The O.K. Allen Distinguished Professor of Buildings. Ensure that your name, document title, email address, and other fields are correct as well.

7. Convert your final document to a .PDF and upload a single file to LSU Digital Commons for final approval by clicking the appropriate link at the bottom of this page. If additional corrections are necessary, and/or when the document is approved, you will be notified by email by the reviewer. Only your first submission on Digital Commons will be reviewed by the Graduate School, so if you make an error, please edit your existing submission. Do not upload multiple revisions of your document. Instructions are available for editing your prior submissionIf substantial formatting 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.

Finishing Up

8. For master’s students graduating during the current semester, the process is complete after receiving the emailed approval notice. For doctoral students, it is complete after receiving the approval notice and completing the Survey of Earned Doctorates. For students registering for Degree Only for the upcoming semester, further steps are necessary to complete Degree Only registration.


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.