Skip to main content
Skip to main menu Skip to spotlight region Skip to secondary region Skip to UGA region Skip to Tertiary region Skip to Quaternary region Skip to unit footer


Graduation, Commencement, and Graduate Student Deadlines

Undergraduate Students

  • Apply to graduate in Athena the semester before you plan to graduate, if possible. Especially if you are graduating in summer, you'll need to apply before the deadline if you wish to be eligible to participate in the large Undergraduate Commencement Ceremony in spring.
  • Commencement information is available for UGA-wide Graduation Ceremony, including UGA Bookstore link for cap and gown. Graduate students who are graduating in summer will be eligible to participate in the fall Commencement ceremony.
  • A departmental convocation will usually be held mid/late afternoon on graduation day each spring semester. Graduate and Undergraduate students who are graduating in spring or summer may participate.

Graduate Students

The graduate school has all important deadlines for graduation, but some of them are not relevant to MFA ("non-doctoral professional degree") students.

See below for:

MFA Program of Study Guidelines
MFA Final thesis defense and letter instructions

Deadlines for Spring 2023

January 20, 2023  
Final date for graduate students to submit an Application for graduation for May 2023. o    Application for Graduation
January 20, 2023  
Final date for submitting program of study forms to the Graduate School for graduation in May 2023. MFA STUDENTS (a.k.a. non-doctoral professional degree) do NOT submit Advisory Committee form (only PhD students do). IMPORTANT: See guidelines below. o    Program of study forms
March 10, 2023  
PhD students submit commencement program info.  NOTE: This deadline is not applicable to MFA students.  
March 27, 2023  
PhD students submit dissertation for format check.  NOTE: This deadline is not applicable to MFA students.  
April 17, 2023  

Your thesis defense should be scheduled by this date, for no later than May 4. If possible (depending on which show is your thesis project), try to get your thesis defended and revisions completed by this date. PhD students must submit their dissertation and final defense by this date.

Your exit interview with John Bray should also be scheduled for no later than May 4 or completed by this date.

May 5, 2022   


Target deadline for completion of MFA thesis defense and revisions (PhD students have different deadlines). YOU MUST FILL OUT THE FINAL DEFENSE LETTER for your thesis committee in advance of your defense.

IMPORTANT: See below for instructions.

You will need to schedule your exit interview with the Graduate Coordinator before this date. Your final defense letter will not be submitted until this interview is completed. 

We have to submit final defense approval letter by absolutely no later than May 6, which means you need to have everything done on your end including exit interview by May 3.

Please email the Graduate Coordinator a final copy of your thesis/dissertation before you leave Athens! The graduate school doesn’t want MFA thesis writeups but the department would like to have them along with dissertations. 



All Deadlines

(PHD students have additional deadlines/requirements so please refer to this link; the graduate school does not list a specific date for MFA thesis defense, so refer to departmental date above)


Main deadlines for PhD students:
  • Jan. 21: last date to submit application for graduation, program of study, advisory committee
  • Mar. 11: last date to submit information for Spring 2022 Commencement program
  • Mar. 28: last date to electronically submit dissertation for format check
  • Apr. 18: last date to submit final defense approval form and electronic thesis and dissertation approval form

There will also be a departmental convocation in the afternoon of Commencement.       

Guidelines for filling out MFA Program of study 

When filling out the form in grad status (link below), be sure to choose "non-doctoral professional" rather than MA under "Degree Objective." MFA is one of many non-doctoral professional degrees offered at UGA so they are all grouped together under that heading.

Current Graduate Student Forms

  • What the Grad School requires: minimum of 30 hours of graduate course work. At least 21 of these must NOT be 7000 (research). 12 of them must be courses that are restricted to graduate students.
  • The Grad Status note about grad-only courses does seem to indicate that MFA students do not check the "grad only" box (previous instructions said to mark any courses below the 8000 level with “yes” if they are open only to graduate students (e.g., THEA 6510* or any of your MFA-only acting or design classes). 
  • If you were required to take something to fill in a perceived lack in your preparation for grad study, and your faculty designated this as preparatory or remedial coursework, put those in the "departmental requirements" box. (This doesn’t usually happen for MFA students—check with your major professor if you’re not sure.) Anything you took as a major elective or a regular requirement of your grad program belongs in the main portion of the program of study. 
  • Do NOT include 7005, GRSC 7770, GRSC 9270, or ELAN 7768/7769. 
  • Our MFA degrees require at least 60 hours, so your total should be at least that many. We require a thesis project (THEA 7300). 
  • Include the grades for courses you’ve finished. Leave that box empty if you don’t yet have grades (i.e., this semester). DO include courses that you will take in the spring (leave grade box blank).
  • Note: Don't forget the GPA. 


Students should use the letter template and include the following information where indicated: 

Student’s full name in the system 

UGA ID # (81#) 

Title of thesis paper 

Date of defense 

Committee names.  

The student should fill it in, send it to their major professor in advance of the defense, and follow this process if the defense is not happening in person.

The major professor, who types in "signed electronically by [Professor Name]" for each professor, sends it to the Graduate Coordinator (via UGA email), who signs electronically and emails to the grad school via UGA email.

Support us

We appreciate your financial support. Your gift is important to us and helps support critical opportunities for students and faculty alike, including lectures, travel support, and any number of educational events that augment the classroom experience. Click here to learn more about giving.

Every dollar given has a direct impact upon our students and faculty.