Degree Completion

Degree Completion

The U.S. government considers the completion of the course of study for a bachelor's, master's or doctoral program to be after the completion of all course requirements for the degree (excluding thesis or equivalent).

Undergraduate students - the last day of your degree program is considered the last day of the semester in which you completed all coursework for your degree.

Graduate students - the last day of your degree program is considered the day of the thesis examination or dissertation defense date.

Students are required to inform the international student advisor by email when they have completed all their program requirements if this is earlier than the program end date listed on the Form I-20.

F-1 visa students have a 60 day grace period after completing their study and degree program. The purpose of this 60 day grace period is to prepare to depart the U.S., apply for post-completion OPT, transfer to another degree level, or transfer to another institution.

PhD Students Completing Degree in Summer

You have three options if you will be completing your degree program during the summer term.

OPTION 1 OPTION 2 OPTION 3
Use Summer Session end date or exact dissertation defense date that falls within the summer semester as program completion date

Use Spring semester as program completion date

Use Fall semester as program completion date (i.e. any time after start of Fall term)
Verification letter from faculty advisor required 

Can Petition for Filing Fee Status in Fall only if needed (May not register in courses)

Be registered or on approved Filing Fee status for Fall (May not register in courses on filing fee status)
Can apply for OPT 90 days before Summer Session end date. The employment start date must be within 60 days following the Summer semester end date

Can apply for OPT 90 days before Spring semester end date. The employment start date must be within 60 days following the Spring semester end date

Can apply for OPT 90 days before Fall semester end date. The employment start date must be within 60 days following the Fall semester end date