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Graduate Student Information

Graduate Student Policies

For information on most policies for graduate students, see the Graduate Education website and the catalog.

Graduate Credit Taken as an Undergraduate

Undergraduates are not permitted to take courses in the 400-500 series for graduate credit until they are within 12 quarter units of graduation. Students who subsequently enter a graduate program at Cal Poly may petition to receive graduate credit for such course work, provided the courses were not used toward the baccalaureate degree. Students should verify the applicability of such credit toward their graduate objective.

Applying for Graduation

A student planning to graduate should submit a Graduate Request for Graduation Evaluation to the Graduate Education Office approximately two quarters prior to the anticipated term of degree completion. At the very latest, it should be submitted one quarter prior to the quarter you plan to graduate. If you do not submit the Request form, you will be ineligible to participate in the commencement ceremony and your degree may not be awarded as planned.

Follow the instructions on the form and be sure to attach all applicable documents (Formal Study Plan, Advancement to Candidacy, etc.). See your department for applicable documents.

Submitting the Request form initiates your eligibility to participate in the Commencement Ceremony. If you request a graduation date of Winter, Spring or Summer, you will automatically be eligible for the Spring Ceremony. If you request a graduation date of Fall you will automatically be eligible for the Fall Ceremony.

Students are ineligible to register for classes beyond the term in which they have declared that their degree requirements will be completed. If the degree completion term changes, students must file a Change of Degree Completion Term Request. Registration will then be possible within 48 hours after receipt of the form at the Office of the Registrar.

Academic Excellence at Commencement

Master's degree candidates who are academically in the top 10 percent of their program and are recommended by their Graduate Program Coordinator are eligible to be recognized for Academic Excellence. Nominations must be approved by the appropriate College Dean. If approved, the student will be permitted to wear “honor cords” at commencement.

Graduation With Distinction

Graduation with Distinction will be determined by the Registrar’s Office after a student’s final Formal Study Plan has been reviewed and approved at the time of graduation. It will NOT be awarded at the December or June Commencement Ceremonies. The Distinction designation will appear on a student’s final transcript and diploma. The criterion for Distinction is a GPA of 3.75 or higher in coursework on the final Formal Study Plan.

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