How do I register for the fall semester given that I will be finalizing my dissertation?

Date: April 2017


Dear Deans,

I have received an offer for a position which begins in October 2017 (hooray!), and intend to defend in August such that I can submit my final revised dissertation in September, for a January 2018 conferral. (The prospective employers are amenable to this arrangement.) The idea is that I’ll be entirely done with everything before starting the position, with everything but the official diploma.

Will I need to take a Personal Leave of Absence (R6) for the fall semester?

Will I need to pay any/some prorated tuition?

Is there anything else I need to do, any other forms to file, other than those associated with the defense and the dissertation, for this particular circumstance?

I’m registered for the summer, so I can continue to make use of the library, etc., I just want to make sure I don’t mess up and accidentally fail to graduate due to whatever happens between August and January.

Confused about Student Status


Dear Confused,

Congratulations on being offered a position, and on nearing your defense! 

If you need to maintain your student status for a portion of September, until you submit your dissertation, you could register for the fall term. This may be important if you are on a student visa or have educational loans that are in deferment. As a registered student you would be assessed tuition, however, so many students in this situation chose to take a leave of absence while making final revisions to their dissertation. If you do choose to register for the fall, you would be eligible to take a “leave upon completion” as soon as your dissertation is approved. Your tuition bill would be prorated and you would be eligible to accept employment above the 20 hour/week limit that applied to students.

It may be helpful for you to stop by 143 Caldwell Hall to discuss these options with the staff of the Graduate School Student Service Office. They can help you decide which option works best for your specific situation. There are several other factors to consider, including your access to Cornell services and facilities, enrollment in the Student Health Plan, and funding that may be available to you.

Again, congratulations on nearing this exciting milestone!



Jason A. Kahabka
Associate Dean for Administration