Often BS/MS students want to know whether they are UG students or Graduate students (or both). Of course, in some ways, they are both, but both the University and the School of Engineering officially considers them as undergraduates until they complete the necessary requirements for the BS degree (your records are still kept in UG Studies, and if you make inquiries of the Office of Graduate Studies, you will find that they will have no record of your graduate status; these records are only kept in UG Studies). As soon as you complete your UG BS requirements, you will be required to graduate with your BS degree. At that point you will officially become a graduate student. This distinction can be important because undergraduate and graduate rules are often different. For example, to be a full-time UG student, you must register for at least 12 credit hours for that semester, whereas graduate students are only required to register for 9 credit hours to be considered as full-time students.
There are two graduation deadlines which you must watch closely. These are the deadlines for applying for graduation and for completing the degree. You are responsible for checking with either the Office of Graduate Studies or the EECS Graduate Coordinator to learn the exact deadline dates for applying for graduation and to satisfy all graduation requirements for the MS. You must apply for graduation at the beginning of the semester in which you are expecting to graduate. The deadline is typically about 4-6 weeks after the semester begins.
The MS must be defended before your committee and all materials turned in to the Office of Graduate Studies approximately four weeks before the end of the semester in which you are graduating. There are no exceptions to this rule. The student is responsible for scheduling the oral presentation. This means that you must contact all committee members to determine a mutually acceptable time for the exam. You must also contact the EECS Office of Student Affairs to publicize the presentation at least one week before the presentation.
All MS theses require a written thesis that follows the format established by the School of Graduate Studies. You must provide your thesis committee with a copy of your thesis 10 days before the oral presentation.
Many students do not know that you can still turn in your materials to the Office of Graduate Studies after the deadline for that semester (known as the “grace period”). In this event, you do not graduate in that semester. As an example, suppose you planned to graduate in the Fall semester, but missed the deadline, and turned in your thesis to the Office of Graduate Studies in mid-December. You would then be listed as graduating in the Spring semester (i.e., May) as opposed to the Fall semester (i.e., January). Even though you would be listed as graduating in the Spring semester, you would not have to register (i.e., pay tuition) for the Spring semester. As long as you turn in all your required degree materials (a thesis and the appropriate form from member of your committee certifying that you successfully defended your thesis) before the first day of the semester, you do not have to register for that semester, yet you will be listed as having graduated in that semester.