Progress to Degree

Progress to Degree, Degree Completion, and Filing for Degree

Approval for transfer credit from another university is rare, as most students do not meet all of the criteria listed here:

  • Please make sure that the student meets all criteria listed in link above, before submitting request.
  • Transfer credit is processed for use towards a Master’s Degree only. PhD programs are not course-based, therefore we do not process transfer credit for them. 
  • Follow the steps listed in the linked PDF: Transfer credit from another university.

There is no maximum determined by Academic Senate; students should be encouraged by the department to graduate as soon as they’ve completed the requirements. Some departments do have time limits for master’s students; it would be stated in the program’s  catalog copy.

However, there is an academic residency requirement. The minimum residence requirement is three quarters. Residence is established by satisfactory completion of six units per quarter.

Yes. The actual date the student passed the comp exam exam should be listed the Plan II Final Report Form, which should be submitted when coursework requirements have been completed and the student wants to graduate. (*Note: A Plan I FRF would need to be submitted for a thesis student.)

For all students – Plan I (comp exam), Plan II (MA/MS thesis), Plan III (MFA thesis)

Final paperwork to be submitted by the department:

  • Application to candidacy/uAchieve (due by the 3rd  Friday of the quarter in which the student wants to advance),
  • Final Report Form/FRF (due by the last Friday of the quarter in which the student wants to graduate), complete with all required signatures. 

All students need to successfully complete the courses listed on their APPC, have a GPA at or above 3.0, no more than 8 units of U/F, and pass their comp exam or thesis/defense. Additional paperwork for all Plans are only needed if students need to waive academic residency (if they haven’t been registered for 6+ units for at least 3 quarters), are seeking to graduate while not in good academic standing, or have a previous master’s degree. The Graduate Academic Affairs Advisor will go over the process to submit a General Petition in these cases. 

Plan II and III (thesis) students must also complete/submit the following by the last Friday of the graduation quarter in order to be eligible to graduate in that quarter:

  • Preliminary Thesis Review appointment with a Grad Academic Affairs Advisor
  • Signed embargo form uploaded to ProQuest
  • FINAL, formatted version of their thesis, uploaded to ProQuest
  • May or may not apply to student: Signed Cover Letter and all Co-author Permission Letters

See the Registrar’s enrollment/registration calendar for the specific deadlines.

View Training Documentation: Steps to Degree Completion (APPC and FRF Training) Presentation

If GEPA did not receive a FRF for a student by the deadline (ie the last Friday of the quarter), then the student will be eligible for a degree the FOLLOWING quarter. “Receive” is defined as follows: the FRF has been signed by the Department/Program Chair (or their staff designee), which sends the form into the GEPA queue for review/approval/processing. 

If there is a need for the student to have their degree conferred in a previous quarter, then the department may submit an exception request for a retroactive degree. See below for specific information to be included in the request.

Examples of extenuating circumstances: 

  • PhD student suddenly decides to leave the PhD program with a terminal master’s degree.
  • Student notified the department of their intent to graduate this quarter, but the department did not submit the FRF on time, due to an administrative error. Include documentation, such as a copy of the email from the student to the department, dated prior to the deadline.  
  • The Graduate Coordinator submitted the FRF on time, but the Department/Program Chair /Designee did not sign it by midnight on the deadline date. Note: Graduate Coordinator is responsible for monitoring forms and reminding Dept/Program Chair to sign any forms that are outstanding, by the deadline.


  • If the student is not registered in the quarter in which their degree will be conferred, a filing fee in lieu of registration will be assessed when the degree is processed. This is true even if the student was on a Leave of Absence (LOA) in their graduation quarter.
  • In addition to the above, if the student was not registered (or on an LOA) in the quarter just before their graduation quarter, a readmit fee will be assessed, in addition to the filing fee.
  • Please be sure the student is aware of these fees and check the appropriate box(es) on the FRF: (Insert Image Here)

Process to submit a Plan II (comp exam) late/retro FRF, as an exception: 

  1. Submit FRF in DocuSign.
  2. Send an EMAIL request to the appropriate GEPA advisor, cc’d to your Department/Program Chair. This alerts us to the fact that this FRF is in DocuSign, waiting for us, as it is likely separated from the other FRF’s for that quarter. Be sure to cc to the Department/Program Chair as this serves as their signature for the request. In this email:
  • Provide an explanation of the extenuating circumstances that led to the FRF not being received by GEPA by the deadline date.
  • In the event of an administrative error, include what the dept will do in the future to resolve this problem/avoid similar situations.
  • Explain why the student needs their degree processed retroactively and how the student will be adversely impacted by waiting until the following quarter for the degree to be processed. Ex. they are starting a job in a few weeks; they are applying to medical school, etc.
  • Attach back up documentation as necessary.
  1. The request will be reviewed by the Senior Associate Dean at our weekly meetings, and if approved, the FRF will be reviewed & processed in the normal manner.

Process to submit a Plan I/III (thesis) late/retro FRF, as an exception

This process is more complicated as the student must also have completed the following on/before the deadline:

  • Defended the thesis
  • Completed a preliminary thesis review appointment with a Grad Academic Affairs Advisor
  • Uploaded the final version of the thesis to ProQuest

Please contact the appropriate GEPA Academic Affairs Advisor should this situation arise. At minimum, the 3 steps listed under the Plan II instructions would also need to be followed. 

You will need to follow the usual APPC process (described in the uAchieve section below). However, when submitting a master’s degree APPC for a PhD student, always check to see if the student has already earned a master’s degree. (This is true whether it is a master’s along the way or a terminating master’s).  

Does the student have a previous MA or MS degree? 

 NO – Proceed with the APPC submission 

 YES -The previous advanced degree was not from UCSD and  was in a fundamentally different discipline:  

  • Submit an email (with the APPC) from the dept chair or other member of faculty leadership, to confirm approval of the duplicate degree. 
  • The email should state that: 
    • The faculty have reviewed the student’s record and have determined that the second master’s degree is in a fundamentally different disciplinary field.
    • The student’s coursework and/or research represents a different type of training than the training received at UCSD.
    • The faculty approve conferring a duplicate master’s degree. 

 YES The previous duplicate degree was awarded by UCSD or  it was in the same discipline as the degree that the student is currently pursuing:  

  • Submit an exception letter (with the APPC) for review by the Sr. Assoc Dean.  
  • The email should explain: 
    • How the previous degree/coursework/research was different from the degree/coursework/research that the student is currently pursuing.  
    • How the duplicate master’s degree will benefit the student in his/her career. 

 Senate policy: