Steps to Graduation

student receiving graduate diploma at 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 Defense Request.
    • This form is due at least 3 weeks prior to the defense 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 defense request. It is the student’s responsibility to contact all committee members, including the Dean’s representative, to schedule an appropriate final defense 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

See Preparing and Submitting Your Thesis or Dissertation.


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.