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Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
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The Graduate School, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Office of the Registrar

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Commencement participation policy

The following policy defines the requirements that must be met in order for students to participate in commencement exercises and/or receive diplomas during commencement exercises.

Undergraduate Students

Only students who have completed all of the requirements for graduation prior to the commencement exercises will receive diplomas during the commencement exercises. Students in special circumstances, who are pursuing double degrees, dual degrees, or have participated in the Co-op program, and who have four (4) credit hours or less remaining towards completion of their degree(s) can petition the Office of the Registrar for permission to participate in the commencement exercises, but will not receive their diploma. These will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis, but under no circumstances will students with more than four credit hours remaining towards completion of their degrees be allowed to participate.

Addendum: Undergraduate students who have participated in the Co-op program and are in good academic standing, with no more than 12 credit hours remaining towards completion of their degree(s), can petition the Office of the Registrar for permission to participate in the commencement exercises, but will not receive their diploma.

Graduate Students

For Graduate Students the eligibility requirements would be as follows:

  • PhDs would be required to have successfully defended their thesis and have submitted an approved final thesis to the Graduate School by a published deadline (to be determined) that would provide sufficient time for confirmation, in order to receive their diploma during the commencement exercises. For special circumstances, students who have defended successfully, but have not yet submitted their final thesis to the Graduate School may petition the Office of the Registrar to participate in the commencement exercises, but will not receive their diploma. For these cases, a signed letter from the thesis advisor and the degree clearance officer would be required, along with approval of the Dean of Graduate Education in order for the student to participate in the commencement exercises.
  • Masters students completing a thesis or project - the requirements would be the same as those listed above.
  • MS students without thesis - Only students who have completed all of the requirements for graduation prior to commencement exercises will receive diplomas and be allowed to participate in the commencement exercises.
  • MBA students - Only students who have completed all of the requirements for graduation prior to the commencement exercises will receive diplomas and be allowed to participate in the commencement exercises. These guidelines would also apply to students participating in and receiving diplomas at the Rensselaer at Hartford commencement exercises.