Master’s Students

Checklist for Degree Completion:

  • Enroll for graduate credit.
  • Apply for graduation in PAWS.
  • Follow deadlines for format review, defense, and thesis submission (formal thesis only).
  • Submit Thesis & Dissertation Approval and Publishing Options form (formal thesis only).
  • Complete departmental degree requirements.

Here are steps to follow for the semester you expect to graduate:

  1. Enroll for a minimum of 1 graduate credit* at UWM (audit not allowed) in your graduating term, unless you have an approved Request for Exception to the 1 credit enrollment requirement. (For example, you may receive an exception to the 1 credit enrollment requirement if you have completed all other coursework and research credits but are finishing Incompletes or Permanent Incompletes, or if you are finishing non-credit bearing internships, clinical placements or other kinds of off-campus fieldwork or examinations external to UWM.) If you have completed all coursework and research credits but have not yet completed a master’s project, exam, thesis, or defense, you will normally enroll in course 888, “Candidate for Degree,” if your program offers it. This course does not add to your credit total, apply to your degree, or affect your GPA. You are assessed the equivalent of one graduate credit in fees and receive a grade of S. *International students must maintain full-time status—contact ISSS for registration requirements if you have any questions.
  2. Apply in PAWS for graduation by the posted deadline for the semester in which you intend to complete your degree requirements.
    The graduation application is required for us to process your degree completion and order your diploma; it is not for the graduation (commencement) ceremony.
    Degrees are conferred in May (Spring), August (Summer) or December (Fall). All requirements must be completed by the last day of the term to be eligible to graduate in that term.
    Applications do not carry forward; you must re-apply if you did not graduate in the semester you anticipated. You may be eligible to graduate in the next semester without enrolling, if you complete all requirements by the Window deadlines.
    Contact to determine eligibility or if you plan to use this deadline. The Bursar’s Office bills the $40 graduation application fee during the term you expect to receive your degree. The billing cycle runs monthly in your term of graduation, so your charge will appear in the next monthly cycle after you apply.
  3. Students submitting a Formal Thesis should review and follow instructions on the formatting and submission websites:
  4. The awarding of a degree is contingent upon the student’s successful completion of all program requirements prior to the last day of the term. This includes requirements for Incompletes. If coursework or other requirements are not completed by the last day of the term, the student is no longer eligible for graduation for that term and must notify the Graduate School at

Graduation Review and Approval

The Graduate School does an initial review of your records to check for the required minimum standards. Your graduation paperwork is then forwarded to your graduate program. They ensure that all requirements will be met by the last day of the term. The graduate program reviews and signs your application and returns it to the Graduate School for final processing. Contact your program if you have questions about the requirements. If you will not finish by the last day of the term, you must contact the Graduate School at; the graduation application does not carry forward to the next term. You must re-apply for the term in which you will complete degree requirements.

You cannot graduate with Incomplete, Not Reported, or In Progress notations remaining on your record. Graduate School minimum graduation GPA requirement is a cumulative 3.000 (4.0 basis). The Graduate School has the final authorization to grant the degree.

Commencement Ceremony

Visit the Graduate School Commencement Ceremony page.


Visit the Graduate School Diplomas page.