It's time to graduate! All your hard work has paid off!

There are important tasks you have to complete in order to graduate:

  1. Apply to graduate. This is mandatory for your degree to be conferred. Take a look at how to apply for graduation below.
  2. Make sure that your thesis or dissertation (or for programs not requiring a thesis/dissertation, your "program completion memo") has been submitted to the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.
  3. Make sure that all courses you have taken have a grade entered for them.
  4. Make sure your UBC financial account is settled. You will not receive a diploma or be able to order transcripts with an outstanding balance of fees.
  5. If you are a doctoral student, submit your doctoral citation.

For questions about applying to graduate, please contact

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Applying to graduate

UBC Calendar ​​​​​

Every candidate for a degree must make formal application for graduation. Students apply through the Student Service Centre (SSC). Please check the deadlines section of this website or contact your program to find out when the application to graduate is open.

If your application to graduate is not approved, then you must re-apply for the next graduation season.

Doctoral Students

Doctoral students must also complete a 350-character doctoral citation. For details and information on how to submit this, please see the Doctoral citations for graduation section below.

Not attending the graduation ceremony?

You must apply to graduate regardless of whether or not you plan to participate in the scheduled ceremonies.

Program completion

Provided you have met all other degree requirements, your program will be closed as of the date on your thesis receipt, or (for non-thesis programs) on the Program Completion memo that your graduate program must send to Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies. In order to be granted your degree, you must apply for graduation through the Student Services Centre during the application period.

Please contact the Tuition Fee Payment Office at Brock Hall to request a refund of any remaining portion of the term's tuition fees. Only full months of tuition can be refunded.

Tuition Fee Payment Office
2016–1874 East Mall
Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z1

You can use the Student Service Centre (SSC) to print an official Program Completion letter or Degree Conferral letter from UBC.

Program Completion letter

A Program Completion letter officially confirms that you have fulfilled your degree requirements and completed your program. You can print this letter as soon as your program has been closed, i.e. you have finished your program requirements, all your grades have been entered, and the record has been checked by the Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies. Please allow five business days after submitting your thesis before contacting us. You can obtain the letter even if you have not yet applied to graduate.

Please remember that you MUST apply to graduate in order for your degree to be conferred. You must submit an application to graduate regardless of whether or not you want to attend the graduation ceremony.

Work Rights (International Students)

If you are an international student working on or off campus under the authorization of a study permit, you must stop working the day after your Letter of Completion becomes available. To be able to work again, you must meet additional requirements by following immigration policies. Read more

Who cannot print a Program Completion letter?

If your program has not yet been closed you will not be able to print the letter. You will see a message that tells you that you have no completed degrees. If this happens and you are certain you have completed all program requirements, please allow 5 - 7 business days for your program to be closed. If you still can't print the letter, please email and include your name, student number, degree, and program.

If you are on financial hold, you will not be able to print the letter. Your financial account must be settled before you can do so.

Degree Conferral letter

A Degree Conferral letter officially confirms that your degree has been conferred (awarded).

Who cannot print a Degree Conferral letter?

If you are on financial hold, you will not be able to print the letter. Your financial account must be settled before you can do so.

Doctoral citations for graduation

Doctoral students are the University's top students, earning the highest degree bestowed by UBC and contributing to the institution and the world through their research. In recognition of the accomplishments of doctoral graduates, UBC has instituted the reading of doctoral citations during graduation ceremonies. We offer the following overview of citations, but more detailed guidance will be provided to candidates, should it be required.

What is a doctoral citation?

The citations for graduation differ from the scholarly abstracts that are presented at a conference to specialists in your field. Your graduation citation must be written in clear, non-specialized language, so that members of a lay audience will understand it:

  • aim to summarize the nature of your independent research
  • provide a high-level overview of the study
  • state the significance of your work
  • say who will benefit from the findings
  • avoid jargon
  • avoid being too general
    • rather than saying, "my research contributes to...," tell the audience what that contribution is
    • rather than "my research has implications for...," tell the audience what those implications are.

The citation must be a maximum of 350 characters, including spaces. Remember that the citation should be a dignified statement that represents your contribution: it is read aloud as you cross the stage during your graduation ceremony. The title of your dissertation is not read aloud. The citation may also be used as a short summary of your dissertation for other purposes.

How/when do I submit my citation?

If you are a doctoral candidate, you should submit a citation when you apply to graduate (see section above). The online application form in SSC has a guideline for writing a clear citation, with a limit of 350 characters, including spaces. Your submission will be reviewed by the citation co-ordinator who may suggest changes before final approval. If you are submitting a late application for graduation, please email your citation directly to:

Who writes the doctoral citation?

As a graduating doctoral candidate, you are responsible for writing your citation, although you may wish to show it to your supervisor before uploading it to the SSC.  However, if the supervisor is not available, the citation should be uploaded for review and can be shown to the supervisor after editing and approval. It is important to write a clear citation, so that people in the audience can understand the nature of your research and appreciate its contribution to society, even though they have no specialized knowledge of your field or its technical terms. For this reason, citations are subject to editing for clarity.

Even if you are not attending your graduation ceremony, we ask that you submit a citation to document your academic contributions as a UBC graduate student.

Doctoral Citation Archive

After graduation, the citations are uploaded to our website as a lasting tribute to your work:

Examples of citations:

We thank the following graduates for their permission to quote their citations.  These citations are examples of clear and well-written overviews that avoid confusing, technical language, focus on what might interest the audience at graduation, and occasionally use humour, where appropriate.

Jarrod Blinch

Dr. Blinch studied how the brain processes the coordinated movements of both arms. He found that these movements are represented in the brain as a single action, and not independent actions for each arm. This knowledge will aid in the design of user-friendly interfaces, and help develop therapies for people who have difficulties with coordination.

Felipe Garcia Ramos

Is the motion of raindrops on a window predictable? Vancouver's drizzle might suggest it is. Nonetheless Dr. Garcia Ramos characterized a class of predictable mathematical models, concluding that predictable behaviour is not common. In a chaotic world, he believes human progress should focus on adaptability more than control of environment.

Jinguang Hu

Dr. Hu has shown how the complex enzymes produced by mushrooms and fungi can break down the cellulose found in woods and plants. Cellulose is the world's most common form of sugar and it can be used to make biofuels. Dr. Hu (or Who) plans to continue exploring the universe in his time-travelling police box, the Tardis, powered by renewable biofuels!

Anna Lee Harrison

Mitigation of greenhouse gas-fuelled climate change is a challenge requiring many approaches. Dr. Harrison’s research demonstrated that the reaction of certain industrial wastes with carbon dioxide could help offset industrial greenhouse gas emissions. This research also provided insight into the response of natural processes to climate change.

Ivana Horacek

Dr. Horacek studied central European art from the late 16th and early 17th centuries. She examined the fusion between art and knowledge, as imbued in artefacts that were collected and exchanged as gifts by monarchs of that period. Her research brings forward the socio-political agency of works of art and how they mattered to people who exchanged them.

Hassan Sharifi

Dr. Sharifi’s doctoral studies focussed on the flow of gas through off-shore pipelines. He developed a method of evaluating the performance of water-soluble additives that improve gas flow and prevent blockages. His findings contribute to energy management, and address global warming and environmental threats, through improved gas transmission.

Hsi Chun Wang

Dr. Wang studied the causes of an autoimmune hair loss disease called alopecia areata. He discovered the triggers of the immune attack leading to hair loss, linked the disease with heart tissue damage, and created a new disease model. His research advanced our understanding of the development and adverse outcomes of alopecia areata.

Juliana Eca Negreiros

Dr. Negreiros studied behaviours associated with neurological problems in youth with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, or OCD. Results showed that youth with OCD had difficulty with planning and other daily behaviour. This study helps to increase awareness of potential thinking difficulties in OCD, and informs prevention and intervention strategies.

Lifang Zhao

Dr. Zhao investigated the production of the waxy layer on plant surfaces that protects them against water loss, UV light, pathogens and insects. Her work resulted in the discovery of a novel mechanism that controls the expression of genes involved in the formation of this protective layer. Her results may have important agricultural applications.

Luc Fotsing Fondjo

Dr. Fotsing examined the concept of culture in the contemporary African novel. His analysis demonstrates that there is a mixture of local and global cultures in fictional books written by African authors. It is therefore difficult to refer to that literature as if it had one single identity. This research challenges assumptions about African writing.

Graduation ceremonies

Congratulations on approaching the completion of your degree program! Earning a graduate degree is a great achievement, and the Congregation ceremonies at UBC celebrate the success and contributions of all our new graduates.

You can find out all the details of your ceremony at graduation at UBC, including:

  • date and approximate time
  • gown rental
  • obtaining tickets
  • photographs and videos
  • general ceremony instructions

For information about graduation ceremonies at UBC Okanagan please visit graduation at UBC Okanagan.