Academic Progress and Graduation

University Policy

School of Public Health Graduation Policy

To qualify for graduation at the School of Public Health, a degree candidate must have completed the degree requirements within the time frame specified for their degree program and must submit a Graduation Application (available on our SPH Forms page) by the graduation deadlines posted on the graduation page. Students in all degree programs must have an SPH grade point average (GPA) of 3.00 or above and fulfill the minimum grade requirements as outlined in the SPH Grading Policy. Regardless of whether graduation requirements are completed, students will not officially graduate from the University without submitting a graduation application.

Boston University holds an All-University Commencement every May. University officials announce specific dates for commencement well in advance. The School of Public Health has its own convocation ceremony, also in May that coincides with the All-University Commencement weekend. A reception for the graduates, faculty, and guests is held following the ceremony. August graduates are encouraged to participate in the May ceremony of their choice. January graduates may attend the ceremony held in May following their graduation.

Tentative graduates must enter their diploma name and address to which the diploma is to be mailed on the Diploma and Graduation Information link under the MyBU Student Portal Academics tab prior to the published deadline for that graduation period.

SPH Doctoral Programs Graduation Procedures

There are opportunities for PhD students to graduate in January, May, and August of each year. Students must register in the fall and spring, keeping in mind program, school, and University procedures and deadlines. This Bulletin page provides students with an overview of these procedures. Some programs produce additional materials to guide students.

Graduation Application

Once students have secured the approval of their program director, they apply for graduation via the graduation application on the SPH Registrar’s Office forms website. Students must apply by the graduation deadlines posted on the graduation page. Students should also adhere to the Oral Exam/Defense and Thesis/Dissertation submission guidelines outlined on the Doctoral Workflow page.

Oral Exam/Defense

Students must successfully defend their thesis or dissertation in an oral presentation. Please consult with your program director and program guidebook regarding requirements.

Thesis/Dissertation Submission to Mugar Memorial Library

Dissertations and theses are submitted to the Mugar Library electronically via ProQuest ETD Administrator. Review the final draft of your dissertation or thesis as early as possible with the Thesis & Dissertation Coordinator, Mugar Memorial Library, Room 306.

Your dissertation or thesis must be in PDF format with embedded fonts and no password restrictions; otherwise the system will not accept the upload. The library has produced a guide and a series of videos to describe the process.

Reader Signatures

The signed approval page will be uploaded separately from your dissertation as an administrative document. The approval page (page IV) on the uploaded dissertation should remain blank.

Dissertation Fee

The dissertation fee can be sent directly to the Thesis & Dissertation Coordinator in Mugar Library, Room 306. Checks should be made payable to Boston University.

Embargoing Your Work

Upon submission, dissertations and theses are made publicly available via OpenBU and ProQuest. In limited cases, it may be necessary to delay publication of your work. Reasons for an embargo include:

  • The work contains sensitive material that cannot be published safely
  • The work contains copyrighted material you do not have permission to publish
  • You plan to file a patent
  • You plan to publish with a publisher who will not consider openly available work

If you wish to place an embargo on your work, you must upload a letter when you upload your dissertation or thesis. The letter must include:

  • The reason for the delay
  • The length requested
  • Contact info
  • Signatures from both the student and the advisor

If you have questions regarding submission, please contact the Thesis & Dissertation Coordinator.

BU Doctoral Exit Survey

In an effort to improve the quality of graduate education at BU, the University asks PhD candidates to complete a brief survey. PhD candidates will receive an email with a link to the survey after they begin the dissertation submission process. Graduates are given the option to decline the survey (on page 2), but they must take action on the survey before the dissertation submission process can be completed. Responses are anonymous as is the decision to complete or decline to complete the survey.

Upon completion of the Boston University Doctoral Exit Survey, you will be redirected to the National Science Foundation’s Survey of Earned Doctorates. The University asks that you take action on both the BU and the NSF surveys.

Questions about the BU Doctoral Exit Survey can be directed to


Each year, the School of Public Health holds a convocation ceremony in May, planned by Graduate Student Life. Visit the convocation ceremony page for details.