Completing your program, employment or activity

There are a few dates and milestones that will determine your official program completion date. It’s important to understand your official program completion date so you can maintain your status.

There are three standard graduation dates. You must register for graduation with the Registrar’s office. As you register in your remaining classes, make sure you are completing all requirements for your degree.

Your program completion date will be the University’s official graduation date for the semester in which you complete all program requirements. If you will complete your program of study during the summer, you must be registered during the Summer Term and complete summer registration at the ISSO.

Term Standard Completion Date
Spring Date of program completion will be the date of the May graduation ceremony
Fall Date of program completion will be January 25
Summer Date of program completion will be September 25

Your official program completion date will be the day of the graduation ceremony of the semester in which you submit your thesis/dissertation. Please note that all students who will complete and submit their thesis/dissertation during the summer must be registered as continuing students during the Summer Term.

Your completion date is the last day of exams for the term in which you finish your non-degree studies, or the date specified on your Form I-20 or DS-2019, whichever is earlier.

You are allow to continue research, teaching, or other academic activities until the program end date indicated by your employment authorization or immigration document or the date determined by your host department, whichever is earlier.

  • If you are a J-1 Scholar – refer to the  ‘program-end date’ on your Form DS-2019
  • If you have independent employment authorization from USCIS – refer to the dates on the authorization document. document
  • If you are an H-1B scholar – use end date listed on your I-797 Form (note that exceptions apply)

Be sure to notify your host department to confirm your appointment end date, have your host department complete End of Employment or Activity Notification, and work closely with the ISSO to be sure you comply with your immigration status regulations.

Document Changes

If you are at BU under our F-1 or J-1 sponsorship and will be ending your program or employment/ activity prior to the end date listed on your current immigration document, the ISSO will issue you an amended I-20 or DS-2019 document reflecting your actual program completion date. Please be aware that many post-graduation benefits (such as applying for employment authorization or for program transfer) must occur within the grace period following your true program end date.

Beginning a New Program at BU


If you’re planning to begin a new degree program at BU, you must have a new I-20 or DS-2019 issued for the new program. To get your new document, you must:

  • Be admitted to the new program, or be approved for appropriate post completion employment.
  • Provide new financial certification to the relevant admissions office.
  • The new I-20 or DS-2019 must be created no later than the end of your grace period.

For more information on beginning a new program, please visit Joining the BU Community.


If you’re planning to begin a new academic appointment or employment at BU, please contact your ISSO advisor.