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Requirements for Graduation with the Master's Degree

The master’s degree is awarded three times during the year: January, May or June, and September. Commencement exercises take place once each year, in late May or early June.

Students are expected to be familiar with the requirements of their degree programs. All requirements for the degree must be met before the date of graduation. Therefore, all temporary grades must be resolved prior to the date of graduation, including those assigned in the final semester of attendance.

In addition, all "stops" must be cleared by the date of graduation. Failure to clear "stops" will result in the delay of the distribution of diplomas and the processing of requests for transcripts.

Students should have a preliminary graduation check conducted a minimum of two semesters before the anticipated date of graduation by an advisor in their department or division. Final graduation check and certification is conducted in the divisional dean’s office. All students must apply for graduation, which is not automatic, upon completion of the program. Students must apply for graduation on the their CUNYfirst self-service account by the published dates on the academic calendar.

  1. Residence: A minimum of 24 credits in residence at the College.

  2. Matriculated status.

  3. Satisfactory completion of an approved program of study: This program should normally comprise a coherent sequence of courses, lectures, seminars, discussions, and independent studies or investigations designed to help the student acquire an introduction to the mastery of knowledge, creative scholarship and research in the chosen field. Completion of the program generally requires one to two years of full-time study or the equivalent beyond the bachelor’s degree. Each program must be approved and must include a minimum of 30 credits. Some programs may require more credits.

  4. Grades: An average grade of B in all courses taken toward the degree. When students receive a grade of less than B in any of the required courses, their academic progress will automatically become subject to review.

  5. Comprehensive examination: Some programs require the successful completion of a comprehensive examination; in some cases a comprehensive examination may be substituted for a thesis. The specific requirements are listed under each program. Students who plan to take a comprehensive examination must file an application with the chair of their program’s Graduate Committee. Students who wish to take a first examination in a doctoral program in lieu of a master’s comprehensive examination should make arrangements with the chair of the Graduate Committee.

  6. Research and thesis: Many programs require a thesis; some do not. Where a thesis is required, the student must register the thesis topic, together with written certification of the mentor’s acceptance of the topic, with the chair of the department’s Graduate Committee and with the divisional dean. Any change of topic or mentor must be similarly recorded. When the completed thesis has been approved by the mentor and by additional faculty readers, the formal written notice of acceptance of the thesis must be submitted to the chair of the Graduate Committee in the field and to the divisional dean. Appropriate forms for both thesis topic registration and certification of the approved thesis may be secured from department or divisional offices.

    The thesis must have a title page bearing the subject, the department, the author’s name, the mentor’s name, and the date. The approved thesis can be submitted to Academic Works (, CUNY’s institutional repository. Select “Submit Research” from the sidebar on the left. Under the heading “Submit Research” select The City College of New York Master’s Thesis as the institution for the submission and type of work, create a log-in account and follow the instructions. Your department will inform you if a print copy is also required. The digital license agreement form is required for submission by all authors. . The terms of the digital license agreement form, which can be accessed at (, are to inform the authors of their rights regarding their scholarly work and its distribution. Students in the MFA in Creative Writing program have the option of submitting an unbound print copy of the thesis, a CD-Rom with a copy in pdf format of the thesis, and the digital license agreement form. The author submits the copy of these three documents, and is required to reimburse a binding fee of $40.00 payable to The City College Library. All copies of the thesis should be prepared on paper equivalent to a 16 lb. Bond, 8 1/2 x 11 inches, with a margin of 1 1/2 inches on the left-hand side of the page, and with pages consecutively numbered. If required by the department, the copy of the thesis submitted to the department is to be placed in a hardcover, spring-back binder. The copy of the thesis to be submitted to the City College Library is to be unbound. The $40.00 binding fee is for the cost of professional binding. The digital license agreement form required from all thesis authors is to be submitted to the office of the divisional or school dean by the divisional deadline, together with the formal certification of the accepted thesis, signed by the thesis mentor and by the chair of the Graduate Committee in the program.

  7. Foreign language proficiency: Some programs require evidence of proficiency to read and utilize in research, a foreign language or another appropriate tool of research (e.g. statistics, computer). The specific requirements are listed under each program. The Language Proficiency Examination is administered by the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures, which assists in appropriate selection of texts and is responsible for grading the examination. Translation will be from the chosen language into English. Students wishing to take the language exam must apply in the office of the appropriate divisional or school dean.

  8. Graduate scholastic standards: The result of a student’s work in any course completed will be expressed by one of the following grades (including + and – grades): A (Excellent), B (Good), C (Pass), F (Failure).