Graduate students that have completed their academic program will have the opportunity to attend  ceremonies that celebrate their accomplishments hosted by Columbia Engineering and Columbia University. 

Life After Graduation

Stay connected to Columbia Engineering after Graduation!

Steps Towards Graduation - All Students

Step 1: Learn Your Graduation Requirements

Make sure the following requirements are met!

  • The minimum credit requirements of the program.
  • The specific course requirements for the program.
  • The minimum GPA requirement for the program/school.
  • No unresolved IN’s (Incompletes), missing grades, or CP’s (Credit Pendings) – The degree will not be awarded even if these courses are not part of the student’s program plan.

You may check with your department’s website to see what your program’s specific credit, course, and GPA requirements are. For example, here are the requirements for a MS in Operations Research.

Step 2: Learn the Graduation Deadlines

There are three Degree Conferral dates (“Graduations”) but the only Graduation Ceremonies occur in May. October and February Graduates are welcome and invited to participate in the May Graduation Ceremonies.

  • October Graduation: Students who will have completed all their courses and minimum credit requirements by the end of the Summer term should apply for October graduation by Aug. 1
  • February Graduation: Students who will have completed all their courses and minimum credit requirements by the end for the Fall term should apply for February graduation by Nov. 1 **This has been extended to December 1st**
  • May Graduation: Students who will have completed all their course and minimum credit requirements by the end of the Spring term should apply for May graduation by Jan 1.

Step 3: Apply for your Diploma and Graduation

Students should submit their application form directly to the Registrar’s Office in Kent Hall. The application is available online.

The Registrar’s Office sends a certification list (the list containing all those that have applied to graduate) to Graduate Student Services about two months before the conferral date.  Graduate Student Services, in conjunction with your academic department, reviews your courses and program plan to ensure that you have met the requirements to graduate.

Step 4: Clear All Holds and Balances

You may be cleared for Graduation but not have your Diploma available. You must make sure all of your holds are cleared and balances resolved! Here are a few examples:

  • Financial Balance – Student Financial Services will not release the diploma hold until your student balance has been paid in full.
  • Library & Administrative Holds – You should contact the department that issued the hold to resolve the issue.
  • Late Graduation Application – The registrar’s office has a timeline for applying to graduate. If you apply late, there is no guarantee your application will be accepted. If your application was accepted but your diploma wasn’t ready it was because of the late printing request.
  • Pick-up versus Mailing – The registrar’s application asks whether or not you will pick-up the diploma in person or have it mailed to an address. If you indicated the wrong preference or wrong address, your diploma may not be available. Ensure your preferences and mailing address is up to date and correct. Contact the Registrar's Office to insure that your preferences and mailing address are up-to-date and correct.

MS Student Specific Additional Requirements

  • Apply for a diploma.
  • Read registrar’s website carefully.
  • Students must apply for a diploma or they cannot be cleared for graduation.
  • Students may not purposefully delay their graduation by applying for a later conferral date.

MS to PhD Specific Additional Requirements

  • Students must apply for MS degree diploma  or it will not be possible to enroll in Residence Units for PhD.
  • Students planning to receive their diploma this February 2020 or May 2020 - apply here.
  • Read the registrar’s website carefully.

Graduation Ceremonies & Receptions

Class Day

Date: May 18, 2020

The Columbia Engineering Class Day ceremony is school-specific and is hosted to recognize student achievements. The names of graduating Columbia Engineering students will be read out loud to the attendees students will walk across the stage to acknowledge degree completion.  The names of graduating students from Columbia Engineering will also appear in the graduation booklet that will be provided to guests and students.

To participate in Class Day

  • Submit phonetic spelling for name. (link will be sent to your inbox in mid March)
  • Submit name as it is to be printed in the graduation booklet (link will be sent to your inbox in mid March) (petition to walk students not eligible for this option).
  • Register (link will be sent to your inbox in mid March) for the Class Day ceremony.

The deadline to participate is April 1, 2020.  Students must submit the information above by this date or the school cannot guarantee participation in Class Day.

More information is available on the Class Day 2020 website.

University-Wide Commencement

Date: May 20, 2020

Commencement celebrates the graduates of all Columbia University schools and its affiliates.  The ceremony includes an academic procession, awarding of honorary degrees, the President’s address, and the conferring of degrees en masse by school.

Students will receive a message from Assistant Deans Jessica Rosa and Yannick Brookes with details on tickets and registration in Mid March 2020.

To purchase graduation regalia (cap and gown), please refer to the CU Bookstore. However, sales will not begin until mid March 2020.

More information can be found on the Commencement 2020 website.

Petition to Walk

Deadline: April 1, 2020

Students who have completed at least 24 credits towards their M.S. degree may petition to the Office of Graduate Student Affairs, for permission to participate in Class Day and/or University Commencement.

Students must complete the remaining degree requirements by the close of the Fall semester of the year the petition is filed.  Only students in good academic and disciplinary standing are eligible for early participation (Minimum 2.5 GPA required).

• Students who are approved to participate early are not eligible to serve as commencement speakers.
• Students who are approved to participate early are not eligible to participate in future commencement exercises.
• Students who are approved to participate early are not published in any commencement publications until all of their degree requirements have been met.
• Students who are approved to participate early will acknowledge that permission to participate does not in any way infer, predict, or state the conferral of a degree. Only after satisfactory completion of all degree requirements will the eligibility of a Columbia degree conferral be determined.
• Students must be aware of all course registration timelines and related policies.
• Students should not assume that their application is approved until such approval has been granted by the Office of Graduate Student Affairs. Students will bear the responsibility of their guests’ trip delays and/or cancellations as a result of unapproved, un-submitted, incomplete, or misleading applications.
• Violations and/or abuse of the petition application process may face disciplinary action.

This petition is not needed for students who earned their degree in October 2019, February 2020, or for May 2020 candidates who ARE completing their final requirements during the Spring 2020 term.