Graduation & Commencement
Graduation. Graduation is the posting of an earned degree to a student’s academic record. Students must satisfactorily complete the prescribed course of study as outlined in the curriculum for their degree program. They may choose to meet the requirements set forth in the catalog in effect at the time of their matriculation, or any later catalog. However, if they become inactive and apply for reinstatement to the seminary, they are subject to the requirements set forth in the catalog in effect at the time of reinstatement. Courses taken prior to reinstatement may no longer meet the same degree requirements, and additional coursework may be required.
In addition to academic requirements for graduation, students must receive the endorsement of the faculty responsible for the degree program in which they are enrolled. Ensuring that students have acted responsibly, living in accordance with standards of Christian character, and with the standards of the seminary, as well as those of the degree program.
Students must satisfactorily complete all financial obligations to the seminary prior to graduation. Students with remaining financial obligations will not receive access to student services- including transcripts, degree verification, diplomas, transfer documentation, registration, or enrollment in another degree program.
Application for Graduation. A one-time (per degree) graduation fee of $90 USD is charged when students apply for graduation. To begin the graduation process, Graduation Applications can be downloaded from the Registrar’s website (fuller.edu/registrar) or provided on request by the Office of Academic Advising. Upon completion of the Graduation Application, students must receive approval form their advisor in the form of a signature. Advisors will verify the application, and submit the paperwork on students’ behalf to the Registrar’s Office. In order to avoid any delay in processing graduation materials, students should do this two or three (2-3) quarters before their anticipated graduation, and no later than the quarter prior to their final quarter. There is a deadline to submit the Graduation Application if participation in Commencement is anticipated (see below). Graduation Applications can be processed at any time, even after degree requirements have been completed. Students who require modification of their Graduation Application(s) should contact the Office of Academic Advising for assistance.
Graduation Clearance and Diplomas. Due to the time needed to receive and record final grades and process graduation clearances, degrees will be recorded on transcripts eight to ten (8-10) weeks after the end of the student’s final quarter. Diplomas are mailed one to two (1-2) weeks after degrees are posted to transcripts. Contact the Registrar’s Office if a posted degree or diploma is needed more urgently, such as for state licensing or further employment; expedited processing may be possible.
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 ThM, DMin, DIS, and PhD 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 DMin 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 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 ThM degree is five years; for the DMin degree, seven years; and for the PhD 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 MS degree in Marriage and Family Therapy in the School of Psychology & Marriage and Family Therapy 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 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 the work is completed, not the quarter in which the course was originally taken.
Multiple Degrees. By design, doctoral Psychology students have a multi-year program which results in more than one degree. Typically, the master’s and certificate-level 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 degree. Students must satisfactorily complete the prescribed course of study for each degree 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. In consultation with Academic Advising, Students are required to ensure that the courses they complete best suit the completion of both degrees.
All-Seminary and Regional Campus Commencements. Commencement is the ceremony celebrating graduating students’ academic achievement. 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 for their degree are invited to participate, as are those who apply for graduation in the current Spring Quarter. Students who expect to graduate in the Summer Quarter following Commencement may also participate, subject to the limitations outlined below.
Commencement is also held at Regional Campuses for local graduates at the end of Spring Quarter. Graduates are welcome to attend the All-Seminary Pasadena Commencement, Regional Campus Commencement, or both as desired. Policies regarding the All-Seminary Pasadena Commencement also apply to ceremonies at Regional Campuses.
Students wanting to be included, in any way, in any Commencement and/or related activities (Graduation banquets, Baccalaureate, doctoral hoodings, etc.) in June (whether or not they plan to attend the ceremony itself), must submit their Graduation Application(s) no later than March 1. Late applicants will not be provided information and order forms (for announcements, photographs, class rings, etc.), regalia will not be ordered, they will not be listed in the Commencement program, and they will not be able to participate in Commencement or related activities. 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. Master’s-level students with no more than twenty (20) units of remaining course work, not to include theses, dissertations, or qualifying exams during the Summer Quarter may request to participate in Commencement exercises located in Pasadena or Regional Campuses. Doctoral psychology students completing their final internship(s) are also eligible to participate. The deadline for application is March 1, special conditions apply. Copies of the Special Commencement Participation Policy for Summer Graduates are available from Academic Advising.