Fuller Seminary Student Handbook

Handbook > Academic Policies > Graduation and Commencement

Graduation and Commencement

Graduation (the posting of your degree to your academic record)

Graduation Basics. Naturally, you must satisfactorily complete the prescribed course of study as outlined in the curriculum for your degree program. You may choose to meet the requirements set forth in the catalog in effect at the time of your matriculation, or any later catalog. However, if you are not enrolled at any time for a period of eight quarters or more, then you are subject to the requirements set forth in the catalog in effect at the time of your reenrollment, even if those requirements have changed since you began your work. Courses you took before may no longer meet the same requirements, or you may have to take additional courses to meet new requirements.

In addition to academic requirements for graduation, you must receive the endorsement of the faculty responsible for the degree program in which you are enrolled that you have acted responsibly in attempting to live in accord with standards of wholesome Christian character and with the general standards of the institution as well as those of the degree program.

You also must make satisfactory financial arrangements before graduation. Otherwise, you won’t have access to any further student services, including transcripts, degree verification, diplomas, transfer, registration, or enrollment in another degree program.

Application for Graduation. A one-time (per degree) graduation fee of $90 (subject to change) is charged when you apply for graduation. To get the graduation process started, either ask your advisor for a Graduation Application (Grad App), or download the form from the Registrar’s website (fuller.edu/registrar). Complete the form, and bring it to your advisor for their signature. They will check your degree and proposed graduation date, sign the form and get it to the Registrar’s Office. In order to avoid any delay in processing your graduation, you should do this two or three quarters before you expect to finish, and no later than when you see your advisor for registration for the quarter prior to your final quarter. Applications are easily modified, so if you need to adjust your Anticipated Graduation Date, contact your advisor. There is a deadline to submit your Grad App if you plan to participate in Commencement (see below), but a Grad App can be processed at any time, even after you have finished your degree requirements. However, the longer you wait, the longer it will take to clear and post your degree.

Graduation Clearance and Diplomas. Due to the time needed to receive and record final grades and process graduation clearances, degrees will normally not be recorded on transcripts until anywhere from three to eight weeks after the end of the quarter. Diplomas are mailed a week or two after degrees (not just grades) are posted to transcripts. There is a priority to degree auditing; every effort will be made to prioritize degrees needed for state licensing, further employment, and the like.

Academic Policies Covering Graduation:

Minimum GPA: Graduation with a master’s degree in any of the three schools requires a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5. For the Th.M., D.Min., D.Miss., and Ph.D. degrees (SOT and SIS), only courses with a minimum GPA of 3.0 (B) may be counted toward graduation (with the exception of one B- for D.Min. students). For psychology doctoral students, a minimum GPA of 2.7 (B-) is required in each psychology course to be counted for graduation.

Time Limits for Completion of Degrees. In order to ensure that a degree, when granted, represents education that is current and reasonably focused (not acquired a little at a time over an unreasonably long period of time), requirements for a degree must normally represent credit earned within a certain period of time. This period includes any credit earned elsewhere and applied to the degree, as well as all credit earned at Fuller. For the MA or MDiv degrees in the Schools of Theology or Intercultural Studies, this limit is set at ten years. The time limit for the Th.M. degree is five years; for the D.Min. degree, seven years; and for the Ph.D. degree, eight years. There is a ten-year time limit for completion of degrees in the School of Intercultural Studies (master’s or doctoral level). The limit for the M.S. degree in Marital and Family Therapy in the School of Psychology is seven years, and for all doctoral programs in that school, the limit is ten years.

Date of Graduation. In order to qualify for graduation in a given quarter, all work must be completed and all requirements met by the official graduation date for that quarter (the Friday of final exam week in every quarter). Classes which are not completed by the last day of the quarter do not qualify for graduation in that quarter. Work completed under Incompletes and Holds applies to graduation in the quarter in which you actually complete it, not the quarter in which the course was originally taken. So, taking an Incomplete in a Spring class would mean that you would have to be a Summer (or later) graduate.

Multiple Degrees. By design, Doctoral Psychology students have a multi-year program which results in more than one degree. Typically, the lower degree(s) are awarded well in advance of the doctoral degree. This is markedly different from those working to complete more than one stand-alone degrees, such as the MAT and the MAICS. Students must satisfactorily complete the prescribed course of study for each as outlined in the curriculum, but they must also ensure that the overlap between the two degrees does not violate our accreditation standards. Each degree must have a year’s worth of unshared Fuller coursework. Students must work carefully with their academic advisor to ensure that the courses they complete best suits the completion of both degrees. Otherwise, students risk needing to complete significantly more coursework than they would otherwise expect in order to meet all requirements for each degree.

Commencement (the ceremony celebrating your academic achievement)

All-Seminary and Regional Campus Commencements. An all-Seminary Commencement is held in Pasadena at the end of Spring Quarter each year. Students who have graduated in the most recent Summer, Fall or Winter Quarters and have not already attended Commencement are invited to participate, as are those who apply for graduation in the current Spring Quarter. Students who expect to graduate at the end of the Summer Quarter AFTER Commencement may also participate, subject to certain limitations (see below).

Commencement is also held at the regional campuses for their own graduates at the end of Spring Quarter. Graduates are welcome to attend either the all-seminary Pasadena Commencement, their regional campus commencement, or both (not always possible due to scheduling). The policies regarding the All-Seminary Commencement described here also apply to ceremonies at Regional Campuses.

In all cases, if you want to be included, in any way, in any annual Commencement and related activities (Graduation banquets, Baccalaureate, doctoral hoodings, etc.) in June in Pasadena (whether or not you plan to attend the ceremony itself), you must submit your Grad App no later than March 1. Otherwise, you will not receive information and order forms (for announcements, photographs, class rings, etc.), regalia will not be ordered for you, you will not be able to participate in Commencement or related activities, and you will not be listed in the program. Again, once you have applied, it is easy to make adjustments, but there is nothing to be done if there is no Graduation Application on file. All Grad Apps submitted on time will be honored.

Participation in Commencement exercises is not equivalent to the conferral of the degree, which is official only when faculty approval has been given, the Registrar’s Office has determined that all academic requirements have been met, the student’s academic transcript has been updated, and satisfactory financial arrangements have been made.

Special Commencement Participation Policy for Summer Graduates. If you are a master’s-level student and you have no more than 20 units of course work (not to include theses or dissertations, qualifying exams, etc.) to complete during the Summer Quarter, you may request to participate in the June Commencement exercises. The deadline for application is also March 1. Special conditions apply. Copies of the policy are available from Academic Advising offices.

Handbook > Academic Policies > Graduation and Commencement