How long does it take for a degree to be conferred once a thesis is submitted to the Graduate School?

Date: March 2022



I hope everyone is well. I have a question regarding conferral deadlines.

Once a thesis is submitted to the Graduate School, how long does it take for the degree to be conferred? I have accepted a postdoc with a tentative start date of July 1st. I am currently set up to submit my thesis by May 1st, so this should not be an issue. But in a “worst case scenario” where I am unable to submit my thesis by May 1st, I would like to know how long I have to submit it in order to make the July 1st deadline. I expect I will need to show my employer something that signifies the completion of my Ph.D.


Almost Done


Dear “Almost Done,”

Cornell confers degrees three times each year, in May, August, and December. The exact dates are published on the university’s Academic Calendar and on the Graduate School’s Thesis and Dissertation pages. If you upload your completed dissertation on May 1st your degree will be conferred on May 29th. If you miss the deadline for a May degree conferral your degree will be conferred on August 31st, the next conferral date.

All students receive a certification letter once their thesis or dissertation has been uploaded and approved. The letter confirms that all degree requirements have been met and note that the degree will be officially conferred at the next conferral date. Most employers will accept this certification but it’s a good idea to verify whether that might pose a problem for your postdoc. If it would, you should be especially vigilant about submitting your dissertation by the May 1st deadline.

Congratulations on nearing this huge milestone and on having a postdoc position lined up to begin this summer!



Jason Kahabka
Associate Dean for Administration