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Completion of Studies (F-1 Students)

U.S. Immigration regulations state that your lawful F-1 status automatically ends sixty days after you complete your program* unless you take some action to remain lawfully in the U.S.  Therefore, it is very important you are aware of the official date of completion for your program.  (See also the information about "Incomplete Courses" under Full Course of Study).

*Important: The sixty-day grace period described above is not available to students who do not complete their program of study (e.g. are suspended, withdrawn, or otherwise do not complete their program objective as stated on their I-20.)

Undergraduate Students and Graduate Students (in programs not requiring thesis or dissertation or equivalent)

You officially complete your studies when you complete all program requirements.  Below are the general completion dates for the respective terms of program completion:

Fall Semester 

January 25th

Spring Semester

Date of the May graduation ceremony (see Academic Calendar)

Summer Term*


Last day of classes - for students registered only during the first six-week session (See Summer Term calendar), or
  September 25th - for students registered during the twelve-week session or second six-week session

*Completing work during Summer Term: F-1 students who do not intend to enroll for the Fall semester, but will complete their program of study during the summer, must be registered during the Summer Term in order to maintain their lawful student status.

Graduate Students in Thesis or Dissertation Programs (or equivalent)
You officially complete your studies when you submit the final version of your thesis or dissertation and Boston University certifies that you have successfully completed all degree requirements, regardless of when you will receive your diploma or participate in graduation ceremonies. 

Finishing research during the summer term: All graduate students who will not enroll for the Fall semester, but will submit their thesis/dissertation during the summer in order to complete their program, must be registered for academic credit or "continuing student" status during the Summer Term session for which their work is submitted (see Summer Term calendar).

Non-Degree Students
Because the academic objectives of non-degree students do not include the attainment of a degree, your completion date is the last day of exams for the term in which you finish your non-degree studies (see Academic Calendar).

All Students: Options for After Completion of Studies
Please consult with your ISSO advisor at least one semester before you complete your studies to discuss your options. If you have not applied for Optional Practical Training prior to completing your studies, you will have sixty days following completion to choose one of the following:

  1. Begin a new program of study at Boston University or at another college or university.
  2. Apply for a change to a different immigration status.
  3. Depart the United States.


Boston University
February 28, 2005

Boston University International Students & Scholars Office