Academic Catalog

Degree Completion Requirements

EKU Campus

Application for Graduation

A student planning to receive a university certificate, master’s, specialist’s or doctoral degree must apply for graduation prior to the deadline established by the Office of Graduate Education and Research. Students will be billed a non-refundable $55.00 graduation fee. This graduation fee only partially offsets the full cost of commencement celebrations and production and mailing of diplomas and certificates. The University absorbs cap, tassel, and gown costs for degree-earners who participate in the Commencement ceremony. Only students who are participating at Commencement receive complimentary regalia. Complimentary regalia will not be mailed to students who graduate but choose not to walk at Commencement.

Applications received after the deadline will be assessed a late charge. For application deadlines and late charges see the Graduate School Graduation website:

Candidates for Ed.D doctoral degrees are required to schedule their dissertation defense before applying for graduation. Candidates who are unable to complete thesis, dissertation, or other requirements for graduation during the term for which they have applied for graduation may have their application deferred for up to one year. Candidates who fail to complete all requirements within the year must reapply for graduation.

Students will be considered candidates for graduation only if they have an overall and program graduate grade point average of 3.0 or higher at the beginning of the term in which they wish to graduate. The Office of Graduate Education and Research may not accept an application for graduation from a student who is not eligible to be considered for graduation.

Graduation Academic Regalia

Students order and pay for commencement regalia (cap, tassel, hood, and gown) through the EKU Barnes & Noble bookstore ( Refer to the Graduation Information website for more details regarding graduation fees, Doctoral Participation and order form and/or commencement.

Degree Conferral Dates

The Board of Regents of Eastern Kentucky University approves the conferring of degrees four times per year. These conferral dates represent confirmation that all degree and/or university certificate requirements have been met by that date. The formal conferral date is posted to the student’s academic transcript and is the date printed on the diploma and certificate.

Below are the EKU degree conferral dates:

Semester Date
Fall A (end of first 8 weeks) October: Last day of Fall A Term
Fall (end of full semester) December: Last Day of Full Semester
Winter January: Last Day of Term
Spring A (end of first 8 weeks) March: Last Day of Spring A Term
Spring (end of full semester) May: Last Day of Full Semester
Summer A (end of first 6 weeks) July: Last Day of Summer A Term
Summer (end of full semester) August: Last Day of Full Semester

Diploma and University Certificate Production

Diplomas and University Certificates are produced and mailed to students after all final grades are reviewed and it has been confirmed that all degree requirements have been met. The graduation confirmation process takes several weeks to complete. Therefore, students should expect to receive their diploma 6-8 weeks after the end of finals week. Students who are indebted to the University will not have their transcript or diploma released until the debt is paid. Any questions regarding student financial obligations should be directed to Big E Central.

Locking Academic History

(After Degree Has Been Awarded)

Once a degree has been conferred the academic record of all work contributed to the awarded baccalaureate, master’s, or doctoral degree is locked. No course grades may be repeated or replaced for any classes used toward the conferred degree.

The Office of the Registrar takes great care to ensure that each student’s academic record is accurate. Any student who believes an error has occurred should immediately bring this to the attention of the Office of the Registrar. Students have one calendar year after a degree is awarded to identify any item on their academic record believed to be in error. After that time the record is considered to be permanent. Please note that grade challenges have a different timetable and must always be directed to the chair of the department which offered the course in question. For details regarding the timetable and process for grade challenges please refer to the student handbook at

Time Requirements

For master’s degree programs of 40 or fewer hours, a graduate student is expected to complete requirements for the master’s degree no later than seven years after beginning course work (e.g., a student whose initial registration for courses was Fall 2018 must complete the program in order to include this course work by the end of the Summer term 2025). For degree programs of 41 or more hours, a graduate student is expected to complete requirements for the degree no later than ten years after beginning coursework. The minimum time interval required for completion of a graduate degree is two semesters of full-time study.

Minimum Hours Required

All master’s degree programs require a minimum of 30 semester hours. All specialist’s degree programs require a minimum of 60 hours of approved graduate coursework beyond the baccalaureate degree. Some programs require additional hours that exceed this minimum.

At least half of the total course work, shall be in courses open only to graduate students (800 level).

Theses and Dissertations

Students who submit a thesis in partial fulfillment of the master’s or specialist’s degree, or a dissertation in partial fulfillment of the doctoral degree must prepare it in conformity with the regulations approved by the Graduate Council. An approved template is available on the Graduate School website ( The electronic copy of the thesis or dissertation in Microsoft Word document format must be submitted to the Office of Graduate Education and Research at least three weeks prior to the end of the term. Electronic copies will be posted in EKU’s Encompass institutional repository and in the ProQuest EMI database.

Theses and dissertations must be developed under the direction of a committee consisting of at least three tenured, tenure-track, or retired faculty members who hold Graduate Faculty status at Eastern Kentucky University. Committees of larger than three are acceptable. However, the majority of faculty members serving on a committee must be EKU tenured, tenure-track, or retired faculty holding Graduate Faculty status. Comprehensive exam committees, and thesis/dissertation committees must be chaired by a Graduate Faculty member on tenure/tenure-track appointment.

Exit Competency Requirement

All candidates for graduate degrees shall perform satisfactorily on the appropriate exit competency for their selected program of study. Exit competencies may be in the form of a thesis or dissertation, including an oral defense, a written or oral comprehensive examination, a capstone course, portfolio evaluation or other suitable project. Exit competencies are not to be given while the student’s overall or program graduate grade point average is below 3.0.

Exit Competency requirements should be designed by the program in a manner that synthesizes central elements of the student’s graduate program and should be aligned with the Graduate Student Learning Outcomes described elsewhere in the Graduate Catalog. Candidates for the exit competency must register for the appropriate section of GRD 8X7 or 8X8, a thesis or dissertation course, or a program capstone course in the term for which they wish to attempt the exit competency. Committee chairs shall certify the results of the completion of the exit competency by submitting a grade of S, U, or IP for GRD 8X7 or 8X8, or grades for thesis, dissertation and capstone courses.

The department’s comprehensive exam appropriate graduate committee must develop a remediation plan for any student who fails the program’s exit competency requirement. The remediation plan must address all academic deficiencies identified in the exam exit competency and must be submitted to (approved by) the Office of Graduate Education and Research before a second attempt at the exit competency is permitted. Additional courses or thesis work may be required of a failing student. A review period of not less than 30 days nor more than one year is required of candidates who fail the exit competency requirement for Master’s degrees or specialist credentials. Doctoral programs may establish more stringent requirements on the development of a remediation plan and review period, provided that they are published in the Exit Requirements section of the Graduate Catalog for the program.

Continuing Enrollment

Graduate students who have completed all course requirements but have grades of IP (In Progress) for theses, dissertations, practicum and/or internships will be automatically enrolled in GRD 899 Continuing Enrollment. Continuing Enrollment allows students to access EKU Libraries, use lab facilities, etc. for up to one year while In Progress work is being completed. A Continuing Enrollment Fee will be assessed for each term in which a student is enrolled in GRD 899 Continuing Enrollment. While a student is enrolled in GRD 899 Continuing Enrollment, the student will remain in Active status and will be considered as being enrolled as a half-time student.

Additional MBA Degree Requirements

According to AACSB International business accreditation standards, students enrolled in University graduate degree programs, other than those within the EKU Business, will not receive credit toward their degree completion requirements for more than 50 percent of their graduate programs in credit hours in courses offered through EKU Business and/or business courses (courses commonly taught in a college of business) transferred from other colleges and universities or taken from other units within EKU.

Second Master’s Degree Requirements

Graduate students seeking a second master’s degree must file an application for admission to Graduate School for the new degree program. A student may apply for admission to a second graduate program any time after they have applied for graduation in their first program. Students are eligible for admission to a second degree program after they have been certified for completion of the first degree program by the Graduate School. Students may not register for coursework in the second degree program until they have been admitted to that program by the Graduate School.

Coursework taken in a prior graduate program may be applicable to a second master’s degree. The maximum number of hours that can be used in a second program is subject to the limits set forth in the Graduate School’s policy on transfer of credit. Prior coursework used toward a second degree must fall within the time-to-degree limits and must be approved by the faculty advisor, graduate program coordinator and/or department chair, and the Dean of the Graduate School.

Specialist’s Degree Requirements

The University offers advanced graduate work leading to the Specialist in Education. Beginning graduate students interested in two-year programs with special preparation for teaching or professional service opportunities in post-secondary technical school, junior or senior colleges should seek early advisement in order to assure proper program development. Students should refer to the appropriate college/department section for specific admission and program requirements.