Graduate Support Office

Frequently Asked Questions


I know that I want a degree in education but I don't know what I want to study. How do I find a program that fits my needs?

The College of Education offers a variety of programs across an array of disciplines. There is a program that fits most interests. Check the list of COEDU Programs for Prospective Students

How do I check the status of my application?

Students can check their application status in two ways. The first method is to log into your VZ Application. The current application status is listed on the home screen. If you need more information you can contact the program directly for more details.

How do I get in contact with Graduate Admissions?

Student's should email the Graduate Admissions office at with any questions that they have. Using this email address will ensure a timely response to your inquiry regardless of who is in the office.

Planned Programs

I keep hearing about the planned program of study form. What is it, exactly and when should I complete it?

Think of the program of study as a contract between you, your program, and the university outlining all of the program requirements you need to complete to be granted your degree. The program of study lists the courses and other program requirements that you must successfully complete in order to graduate.

Students will work closely with an advisor or the program coordinator to put together a program of study appropriate for their program requirements and research interests. Once submitted, no changes can be made to the program of study except with departmental permission via a course substitution form or, in the case of programs resulting in education certification, due to changes in state requirements.

The program of study is kept on file at the university and is used to verify that your degree requirements are complete. You and your advisor will receive and review a copy of your approved plan. The rule of thumb for submitting the planned program of study is as follows: Masters and Specialist Students: by the end of the first semester of enrollment Doctoral Students: by the completion of 18 credit hours of coursework.

For more information about degree plans and requirements for our graduate programs, visit the USF Graduate Catalog

Courses and Registration

Where do I find find out what courses to take?

Students should consult with their program advisor on the sequence of courses to take. These courses will be outlined in the Planned Program of Study. If you are unable to reach your program advisor you should check with the Academic Program Specialist who works with your program. Listings of the program advisors/faculty coordinators and academic program specialists can be found on the main Graduate Support Office.

Now that I know what courses I need to take how do I find out if they are being offered and what the Course Registration Number (CRN) is?

Courses can be found using the Class Schedule Search through the Registrar's Office. Students are able to search courses for the current term and the next upcoming term. When looking up classes you will need to know the course prefix and number (a three letter code and four digit number, i.e. EDF 6407). When you run a search for a course the results will have a column for the five digit Course Reference Number (CRN). The CRN is what you will plug into your OASIS account when you go to register.

What do I do if a course I am trying to register for needs a permit?

Permits are granted by the academic department offering the course. If a course requires a permit you will need to contact the academic program specialist in the department the course is offered through. Usually if there is a permit required there is a corresponding note under the course title in the class schedule search that indicates who specifically to contact for the permit.

Qualifying Exam and Candidacy

When can apply for the Qualifying Exam and what do I need to turn in?

The Qualifying Exam can be taken once you have completed all your course work for your program or if you are in your last semester of coursework. You will need to apply for the qualifying exam by the application deadline for the semester in which you plan to take it. In order to be cleared to take the qualifying exam you will need to have submitted the qualifying exam application, your planned program of study and an Advanced Graduate Student Supervisory Committee Form.

Do I have to be registered when I take the Qualifying Exam and apply for Candidacy?

You must be registered for a minimum two (2) graduate credit hours in the semester that you take the qualifying exam and apply for candidacy. If this process takes more than one semester you will need to be registered for two credit hours for each semester.


When can I register for dissertation hours and defend my proposal?

You may register for dissertation hours beginning the semester after you are admitted to candidacy. You can check your candidacy status through your OASIS account. Once you have been formally admitted to candidacy you will receive an updated status. upon obtaining candidacy you are eligible to defend your proposal.

When should i submit my request for proposal or final defense?

All requests for proposal or final defense must be submitted to the Graduate Support Office (EDU 320) three (3) weeks prior to your defense date. When you submit your defense request you must have the request form signed by your full committee and department chair as well, the appropriate Defense Guidelines Questionnaire filled out, and a hard copy of your proposal or final dissertation with the correct title page. 

I'm interested in attending a doctoral dissertation proposal and final defense. Is that allowed? How can I find out if there's a session coming up?

All dissertation proposal and final defense sessions are open to the public. Notices for sessions are posted at least 24 hours in advance of session. Notices of these sessions are posted in the Advanced Graduate Student CANVAS group as well as on the Graduate Support Office Dissertation Announcements web-page.


Do I have to register the semester I graduate even if I have completed all of the courses for my planned program?

Yes, All graduate students are required to be registered for a minimum of two (2) graduate credit hours in the semester that they apply for graduation even if they have already met all of the program requirements.

Graduation and Commencement: What's the difference?

There are two applications that serve two distinct purposes regarding your program completion. The Graduate Degree Graduation Application and it informs your department, the college of your major, and the university that this is the semester you plan to transition from student to alumnus. This form is found on your OASIS account and should be completed before the posted application deadline for the semester which can be found here.

Please remember that USF Graduate Catalog policy requires that you must be registered for a minimum of two (2) graduate credit hours of coursework during the semester of your intended graduation.

While everyone who fills out the Graduate Degree Graduation Application and meets the program and university requirements will be sent their degree, only those who sign up for the commencement exercises may participate in the ceremony. For more information regarding the commencement ceremonies, please check the Commencement website.

Again, please be mindful of the posted deadline for the Graduate Degree Graduation Application. Missing the deadline could result in a delay in receiving your diploma and in having your degree posted to your transcript and possibly effect your participation in the commencement ceremony.

When do I get my diploma and transcript?

Graduation is not certified until 4-5 weeks after the semester ends. Official transcripts are available approximately 6 weeks after the commencement ceremony. Diplomas will be mailed to your address on file 6-8 weeks after graduation.

When can I get a Letter of Completion?

A letter of completion verifying satisfactory completion of degree requirements is available to students who request it while they are still waiting for their degree to post to their transcripts. Please complete the Request for Letter of Completion form and submit it to the Graduate Support Office (EDU 320). The Letter of Completion is signed by the student's department, the Graduate Support Office for the College of Education, the Office of Graduate Studies for the University, and the University Registrar and receives the university's seal.

Letters of completion requests are processed and completed once the final certification process is completed for the student. For masters students, the final certification process will be completed after the current term's grades are released by the registrar (the Friday after commencement). For doctoral and specialists students, the final certification process will be completed upon receipt of the ETD Confirmation email from the ETD Coordinator in the Office of Graduate Studies (Baring the student taking any other coursework in addition to dissertation/thesis hours).

Once the Letter of Completion has been fully processed it will be mailed to the student at the address provided on the form unless otherwise indicated with a copy of the form emailed to the student as well. Please allow 6-10 business days for a request for Letter of Completion to be processed once the final certification is complete for the student.

NOTE: Once transcripts reflect the degree earned, a Letter of Completion will longer be available.

degree Verifications

How fast can I get a Verification request?

Verification requests take 5-10 business days to process. They could take longer if more detailed information is required from the program. Once a verification request is complete, you will receive an email with a scanned copy confirming the mailing address for the hard copy to be sent to.