Graduation Dates on the Transcript:

Deadline dates for materials are published at the beginning of each academic year on the Academic Calendar (available online) and strictly adhered to. The Office of the Registrar will record graduation dates according to when all materials are completed. Three possible dates that may be recorded:

  1. The May graduation date (whose deadlines are summarized above) is the only date associated with a Commencement Exercise. (Materials due May 1st for a May 15th conferral)
  2. August completion date. All materials must be completed and submitted appropriately by the date summer school grades are due. (Materials due August 15th for an August 15th conferral)
  3. December completion date. All required materials and activities are completed and submitted after the start of the Fall Semester, but before Spring semester begins (Materials due Dec. 1st for a Dec. 15th conferral)

Master’s Degree Checklist for Fisk University conferred MA in Biology, Chemistry, and Physics

Milestone Due date – for exact date, confer with the Academic Calendar for each academic year.
Establish your Master’s Degree Thesis Committee, composed of your Faculty Research Advisor and at least 2 additional faculty members (maximum of 5). Members must be selected in consultation with your Faculty Advisor and aligned with the expectations of the particular graduate program. For Bridge trainees, at least one of the Committee members just be a fulltime faculty member at Vanderbilt University. Have your FIRST COMMITTEE MEETING by March 1 of your second semester, to avoid being in “Warning”. Committee Should be selected by end of 1st Semester; FIRST COMMITTEE MEETING must occur by MARCH 1, or you are in ‘Warning’ status.
Use Forms for tracking students’ progress in their MA program as provided in Appendix B of the Graduate Student Manual: 1) Request to Appoint Thesis Committee; 2) Request to Change Thesis Committee (if necessary); 3) Summary of Thesis committee meeting, this 2 page summary is required following EACH meeting of the thesis committee. Beginning in the Spring Semester of the First Year.

Summary of Committee meetings due within 5 days.
Submit to Graduate Studies Program ( or, for Bridge trainees, to, sections of (Sections A-G) of the multi-part form “ ‘Request for Permission to Confer the Master’s of Arts Degree’, provided in Appendix B of the Handbook. Sections A and B: due in early December of the year before you plan to graduate. Section C: Usually spring of year 2. Section D: After thesis advisor has approved the entire thesis text for distribution to the Committee, and at least two weeks before the Defense date. Sections E, F- after defense. Sections due at Different Times:

Sections A, B – December before graduation

Sections C- Spring, year 2

Section D- after thesis advisor has approved thesis text for distribution

Sections E, F- after thesis defense
Maintain a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 to avoid being placed on academic probation. A graduate student on probation must raise the cumulative GPA to 3.0 within one semester.
Register for Research hours. Before graduation you must have registered for at least 3 and at most 9 credit hours of Thesis Research (depending on program)
Register for Thesis Preparation hours. Register for Thesis Preparation to allow you to maintain full-time status.
Thesis Defense. It is your responsibility, in consultation with your research advisor, to schedule the thesis defense. For Bridge trainees, the thesis defense must be scheduled through the Program Coordinator ( To be properly advertised, please notify Constantine Coca of the thesis defense date, time, and title.
Submit an electronic version of your thesis, with signed committee cover page, and formatted according to the Office of Graduate Studies regulations. Instructions for thesis document preparation is found at the end of this Handbook. Receipt and approval of your committee-approved thesis document by the Dean of Graduate studies will be forwarded to the Registrar with a signed receipt of these materials. For the Fisk-Vanderbilt Bridge trainees, all of these materials are first provided to Constantine Coca (, for him to scan them for our records. Receipt of a memo from the Dean of Graduate Studies to the Registrar, NOT your final oral defense!!! , is what constitutes the formal completion of your MA Degree. April for May diploma;

July for August diploma;

December for December diploma

Bridge students completing after the first day of FALL CLASSES will have a December date on their diploma.