Doctoral Degrees

Each program and department establishes its own degree requirements for doctoral level study (at minimum, equivalent to three years of full-time study and research).

You must be admitted to candidacy within five years after admission to the doctoral program. Once you have fulfilled all the requirements for candidacy, please submit the Application for Admission to Candidacy for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy form.

Check with your Graduate Program Director and the Graduate School Catalog for more information about:

  • Admissions to Candidacy
  • Preparation of your Dissertation
  • Dissertation Examination Committee
  • Final Examinations
  • Ph.D. Exit Survey

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Degree Completion Requirements

Nomination of Members for Final Doctoral Examination Committee
Due six (6) months prior to defense. Bring to the Graduate School the completed Nomination of Members for the Final Doctoral Examination Committee form as well as a curriculum vitae for any nominees who are not members of the Graduate Faculty. The Graduate School will notify the Chairman of the Committee and the Dean’s selected representative of the approved/appointed committee by returning the above form showing Graduate School approval and the appointment of the Dean’s representative.

Final Semester Registration
Before the close of general registration, register for at least one credit during the semester that you intend to graduate. For each semester listed, register by the following dates:

  • Fall: August 29
  • Summer: May 29
  • Spring: January 29

Registration for Doctoral Students: Students who have reached candidacy are required to register for course 899 through the semester in which they graduate. Course 899 is a fixed 9-credit course. There is a minimum graduation requirement of 18 credits of course 899, but there is no maximum requirement of course 899.

*Registration during the summer is not required, except in the following circumstances:

  • Student is graduating in the summer and was not registered in the preceding spring semester.
  • GAs with an appointment in the summer must be registered for 3 credits in order to retain FICA exemption during the summer.
  • All GAs with appointments during the summer are required to register for the graduate assistantship course GRAD 603.


Apply for Graduation
The application window by which you can apply are listed per semester below:

  • Fall: July 1 – September 15
  • Summer: April 1 – June 15
  • Spring: December 1 – February 15

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Academic Regalia
If you plan to participate in the graduation ceremony:

  • Order regalia. Orders can be submitted through our Herff Jones vendor*. Official information regarding ordering and picking up graduate regalia can be reviewed on the UMBC Commencement website.
  • Complete the commencement ceremony registration for Marching Order. Eligible graduates will receive an email with the link to the registration page.

*Late academic regalia orders have a $25 late fee assessment.

Announcement of Ph.D. and Readiness to Defend
Due two (2) weeks before the defense. Submit to the Graduate School the completed Announcement of Ph.D. Dissertation form and the completed Certification of Readiness to Defend the Doctoral Dissertation form. The Graduate School will then send the Procedure for the Conduct of Final Doctoral Oral Examination and the Examining Committee form to the Dean’s representative on your committee.

Examining Committee Report
Due within two (2) business days after the oral defense. The Representative for the Dean returns the completed Report of the Examining Committee form to the Graduate School.

Outstanding University Balance
Pay the cashier all outstanding university debts.

Final Dates for Submission
Listed below are the final dates per semester to submit the following: signed Approval Sheet; Electronic Dissertation to UMI/ProQuest; Survey of Earned Dissertation form; and the PhD Exit Survey.

  • Fall: December 1
  • Summer: August 1
  • Spring: May 1

Commencement Ceremony
The graduation commencement ceremony will be held on the following dates per semester listed below:

  • Fall: December 20, 2023
  • Summer: No Ceremony, however, we invite all August graduates to participate in the December Commencement ceremony.
  • Spring: May 22, 2024

The dates above coincide with conferral dates that will appear on your transcript.

Conferral Dates

The degree conferral date that appears on your transcript will be the same date as the commencement ceremony dates for Spring and Fall. The conferral date for Summer is August 19.

Diplomas for Pickup
If you are not participating in the ceremony, then you may pick up your diploma on the day after the commencement ceremony in the Graduate School from 8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. The pick-up date for Summer begins August 31st.

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