Graduation Information

Must Know Graduation Details

You can graduate in April, June, August, or December and must complete the following:

  1. Assure that you've met all graduate academic requirements for graduation
  2. Register for the term in which you want to graduate
  3. Apply for graduation
  4. Pay your $50 processing fee if completing a thesis or dissertation
  5. Doctoral candidates must:
  6. Submit essay, thesis or dissertation to D-Scholarship 
    • Use the University ETD formatting guidelines 
    • Have formatting reviewed by Student Affairs
  7. Complete the Exit Survey


Academic Requirements for Graduation
It is critical that you meet with your advisor and department student services staff member to make sure that you have successfully completed all of the academic requirements for graduation. These include (but are not necessarily limited to) ...
  • All school-wide required courses, including two terms of Public Health Grand Rounds
  • All departmental required courses
  • Any practicum, internship, residency, or research requirements
  • Pitt Public Health Student Academic Integrity Module
  • All required examinations (preliminary, comprehensive, etc.)
  • Essay, thesis, or dissertation
  • If you are receiving a joint or dual degree, all requirements for both degrees must be complete (with the exception of the MSTP program)

In addition, you must ensure that you meet the following conditions:

  • Cumulative grade point average (GPA) of at least 3.0
  • All G, I, or Z grades must be converted to a final grade (or your file must contain a memo from your advisor stating that the course is not required for the degree)
  • Full (not provisional) admission status
Registration Requirement for Graduating Students

Degree-seeking students must be registered for at least one credit or for FTDR (for doctoral students completing full-time dissertation research) in the term of graduation. To graduate in June, students must register for at least one credit or FTDR in 6-week session 1. To graduate in August, students may register for summer term, or for any summer session, including 6-week session 1. If you applied for June graduation and registered for 6-week session 1, you can apply for August graduation without further registration, but you must email to reapply and you must submit a new prior degree form.

Note: international students need permission from the Office of International Services to register for less than a full-time credit load.

Students graduating with a certificate only do not need to register in the term of graduation, as long as they registered during the 12 months prior to graduation.

If you have not registered for three terms, you are no longer an active student. Consult with your department student services staff to discuss criteria for re-admission.

Apply for Graduation

Application Details

You must apply for graduation by submitting an online application and a prior degree form

Graduation Deadlines and Important Dates


December 2024




First day to apply





Last day to apply





Deadline to upload final ETD draft (student services reviews formatting)





Official degree date





Graduation dates and deadlines can also be found on Pitt Public Health's Academic Calendar.

Please note: Conferred degrees and diplomas will not be issued until about two months after you've graduated. If you need a letter stating your degree completion for employment purposes, complete the requirement completion form.

Postponing Graduation

If you postpone graduation, you no longer need to reapply. E-mail to inform us of your new expected graduation term. If you do not know which term you are going to reapply for when postponing and it does not end up being the following term, you will need to reapply using the online application. Application deadlines still apply, so make sure to e-mail us before then. 

Graduation Ceremonies and Diplomas

Graduation Ceremony

The annual Pitt Public Health Graduation ceremony for graduate programs is held at the end of the spring term. The next event will honor graduates from June, August, and December of 2023 and April of 2024.

Graduation Ceremony

Academic Regalia 

Graduates must wear academic regalia to the commencement ceremony. You can purchase regalia at the University Store on Fifth in the Spring.

Students who own caps and gowns from previous degree programs or who are able to borrow regalia do not need to purchase it. Please make sure it is the correct color.

For additional regalia information and pricing, click here

Preferred Names on Diplomas

Students may request preferred first and/or middle name for diplomas with the Diploma Name Request Form

Note: existing procedures for requesting changes to your legal name are still in effect. Students are cautioned to investigate potential ramifications of using a diploma name instead of a legal name if you intend to use your diploma internationally.

Diplomas and Certificates

Diplomas are mailed by the vendor to graduates approximately six to eight weeks after the actual graduation date. Students will be notified via their Pitt email address when the diploma ships.

Certificates are printed and mailed by the Office of Student Affairs approximately six to eight weeks after graduation.

All items are mailed to the address on the graduation application. If your address changes, contact Also, to be certain that you receive your mailed diploma, complete a change of address with the Post Office, either in person or online.

Students with any unresolved financial obligation to the University will not receive diplomas or final transcripts.

Interested in ordering a frame from your diploma? Order here.

Essays, Theses, and Dissertations

Announcing the Doctoral Defense

Doctoral defenses must be announced at least 3 weeks in advance (or as soon as you have your information). Consult with your department student services staff as soon as you know your defense date. Then email the student services person the following information and copy and


  1. Your name and contact information
    (phone number and email address)
  2. Title of the dissertation
  3. Abstract
  4. Date, time, and place of defense
  5. Your department and advisor
  6. Committee members and their departments 

The dean's office communications team will publish your dissertation announcement to the University Calendar.

Virtual Milestone Meetings and Defenses

Consult this guide for using Zoom for virtual essay, thesis or dissertation meetings and defenses.
Updated April 9, 2020


See the Pitt Public Health Academic Handbook and visit the ETD website for complete descriptions of formatting requirements. Make sure you are also aware of any departmental rules and of your advisor's preferences.

*Note: Your Abstract cannot be more than 350 words. 

**Review the new ETD Support Guide rule on tables spanning multiple pages. You will need to add continued captions at the top of the page on which the table continues. 

Students who have applied for graduation will be invited to a graduation info canvas page, where they can find additional information. 

ETD Table Formatting


Check with your departmental student services staff to confirm that your essay/thesis/dissertation committee has been approved. See the Academic Handbook for committee composition rules. 

University Resources and Instructions

All essays, theses and dissertations must be submitted electronically. The University's guidelines for submission of ETDs (electronic theses and dissertations) contain important information and FAQs, including:

  • Support and training
  • Tutorials
  • Uploading to D-Scholarship
  • Copyright (see additional details below)
  • HSLS resources
  • Security settings and use of non-Pitt email
    • Use a non-Pitt email address on the upload page (you can include the Pitt one also if you want). 
    • Security: NO SECURITY SETTINGS. The "Security Method" should be set to "No Security" to ensure that a password is not required to open the document. 

      The document restriction settings for the following individual features must be set to "Allowed": Printing and Content Extraction for Accessibility. 

      The document restriction settings for the following features can be set as desired: 
      Changing the Document
      Document Assembly
      Content Copying or Extraction
      Filling of Form Fields
      Creation of Template Page

      The easiest things to ALLOW AND NOT TO MAKE USE OF THE SECURITY SETTINGS AT ALL. Note: These settings can be easily cracked with several widely-available and completely legal software packages. 

      Once your file is uploaded to Pitt's site, the official University of Pittsburgh copy will remain available for read-only access in perpetuity. Our official copy cannot ever be modified by users, even if there is no security or permission restrictions set in Adobe. 

      NOTE: If Adobe password protection is turned on, the document will NOT BE PROCESSED AS AN ETD BY PRODQUEST, nor will it be processed by the U.S. Copyright office. 
Uploading Your ETD Through D-Scholarship

When using the ETD Online System, you must login using your Pitt username and password. Once you have logged in, follow the instructions for submitting your ETD documents. 

Looking for additional help? Register for upcoming ETD workshops or connect with the ETD support team here

Required Paperwork and Electronic Submissions

Electronic copies of Essay Approval Forms, ETD Approval Forms, and Report on Requirements Forms are available below. Please ensure that the student name and information are included on the form, that the form is filled out and all committee/reader signatures are present. Ideally this will be accomplished on a single form, but we can be flexible (e.g. signatures on multiple copies of the same form). 

Thesis/Dissertation Processing Fee

Students completing dissertations or theses must pay a processing fee of $50:

  1. Send an email and provide your Student ID, the academic term, and the amount due ($50)
  2. The Student Payment Center will post the fee to your account and will then notify you by your Pitt email when it is added
  3. The charge will appear in PittPAY on the Account Activity tab and you can process the payment on the Payment tab
  4. Once complete, please forward your processing fee receipt to
Beyond the PDF

As part of the “Beyond the PDF” project, students are encouraged to submit supplementary materials to complement their ETD. Examples of such materials include but are not limited to: datasets, code, high resolution images, digital projects, videos, 3D scans.

If your project contains these materials that you wish to share, please submit a ticket to ETD Support as early as possible (ideally shortly after your proposal phase) and indicate that you have supplemental digital materials to submit with your ETD and a brief description of the materials. You will be connected with a digital scholarship specialist who will consult with you to prepare the materials for deposit with your ETD.

School-wide MPH Essay/Thesis Completion Policy

Requesting committee chair/main reader and/or faculty advisor and additional committee members/readers: 

Students will confer with their academic advisor or other designee about the essay/thesis in the semester prior to the one in which they plan to graduate.

Students will request faculty members to serve as committee members/readers no later than the end of the semester prior to the one in which students plan to graduate.

Timeline for submitting drafts to committee members/readers:
The chair/main reader and student together will determine the timeline for submitting drafts, as many as are needed, so that the student can produce a high-quality paper and graduate on time, without putting undue pressure on readers.

Students will submit the final version of the essay/thesis to committee members/readers at least two (2) weeks prior to...

the defense date, in the case of the thesis, or the final upload date, in the case of the essay. Only the director of the program can request the Office of Student Affairs to grant an extension to complete work on the thesis/essay. The Office of Student Affairs will not grant extensions directly in response to student or advisor requests. After the readers/committee members have indicated their final approval of the essay/thesis by turning in the fully-signed ETD form for theses and the Essay Approval Form to Student Affairs, students may work directly with the Office of Student Affairs on formatting issues and any extensions that may be required for those. Not adhering to this timeline can result in the failure of the student to graduate in the desired semester, necessitating registration for an additional credit in another semester.


The master’s essay/thesis is a scholarly work that reflects the student’s acquisition of knowledge, ability to synthesize information into a well-organized, coherent document, and development as a professional.


Students are expected to keep their main advisor apprised of all correspondence and discussion with their thesis committee members or essay readers. Students and their thesis advisor/essay main reader should discuss the process for getting feedback from other readers. While quality of the paper and extent to which feedback from outside readers is incorporated are up to the discretion of the student’s department, there is an expectation that papers will be of high quality and that feedback from all readers will be reviewed and considered.
Copyright General Information

The following links contain helpful information on copyright rules: 

Use of Copyrighted Material

When using text, tables or figures from a published work, whether your own article or that of another author, you must receive the permission of the journal in which it was published. As a courtesy, you should also request permission of the author. You can use a sample template for contacting publishers. Many journals have copyright permission request forms on their websites.  A copy of the letter or email giving you permission to use the article, table, or figure must be submitted along with other documents that you submit for your thesis, essay or dissertation. Do not incorporate the permission letter into the paper.  

Using Published Papers in Document/Three-paper Dissertations

Some departments and advisors allow students to submit published or publication-ready manuscripts as thesis or dissertation chapters. Such papers may be included either in the body of the document or in the appendix. They must be based on work done during the student's enrollment at Pitt Public Health. In general, the student should be the primary author on such a paper, but that is not absolutely required. The thesis or dissertation should include a preface listing the authors, the full citation (if published), and the role of the student in the work. 

The articles must be logically connected by added text and be integrated into the document in a coherent manner. They must be presented in a manner consistent with the remainder of the text, i.e., identical typeface, paper, margins and consistent number of tables, figures and footnotes. Bibliographic citations should be integrated with those for the rest of the document. Everything must be consistent with University ETD guidelines

If your article is already published or in press, you will need permission from the publisher in order to reuse the article, unless you own the copyright. 

Alumni Keep Pitt E-mail for Life

Retain access to your My Pitt Email mailbox after you graduate and keep it as long as you like. An alumni account also provides access to...

  • Wireless PittNet (while on campus)
  • Eduroam (ability to obtain wireless access at participating institutions around the world)
  • Online orders for transcripts and enrollment verification
  • Online grades
  • Account management tools
  • Technology Help Desk
  • PittPAY

You will receive an email letting you know when your account will be transitioning to an alumni account sometime in the term following your graduation.

Your email address will be removed from the Pitt Public Health list upon your graduation and you will receive an email from the school when this happens. You can opt to stay on the list at that time.