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Office of the Registrar
Teachers College, Columbia University
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Office of the Registrar

FAQ > Graduation

Graduation

Do I receive my diploma at the TC Convocation ceremony or at the Columbia Graduation Ceremony?

No. You may pick up your diploma or request to have it mailed. 

Is my diploma automatically mailed?

Diplomas will be ordered shortly after graduation provided you have met all requirements for the award of the degree and should be in the mail to the student by the end of graduation month.

The diploma will be sent to the DP (Diploma) address on file for the student so please take a moment to 
input a DP address through the myTC Portal as soon as possible and make sure that the information is valid and will remain valid for at least two months after graduation.  If there is no DP address on file, the diploma cannot be sent.  You may add or update a DP address through TC Services on the myTC Portal any time.

If the student elects to pick up the diploma in our office in 324 Thorndike Hall please leave the DP address in the myTC portal empty or blank.  We expect to send an email to the student's TC email address when their diploma arrives but the student can check in with us at 212-678-4065.

Though a student will not have their diploma on the date of graduation, if they have been approved for graduation and have no holds on their record, they will be able to obtain transcripts which will display degree conferral.

Please be advised, Doctor of Education diplomas will be ordered only after all requirements are met and are usually available six weeks from the date of completion.  Doctor of Philosophy and Master of Philosophy diplomas are issued from Columbia University - Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.

When will I find out if I am clear for graduation?

Students who have issues with their applications are contacted via an e-mail to their official Teachers College e-mail address (uni@tc.columbia.edu). You will receive an award letter via USPS close to the conferral date confirming the award of the degree.

Why do I have to fill out a degree application to graduate?

The Office of the Registrar is not notified when you have fulfilled your degree requirements and coursework. All Master degree candidates must file a degree application in order to be considered for a degree at Teachers College.

Is there a graduation ceremony for February and October graduates?

There is only one graduation ceremony per year held in May for all graduates from the October, February and May conferral dates.

Is my degree application in the Office of the Registrar if I dropped it off there?

Yes. If you submit your degree application to the Office of the Registrar’s receptionist, our degree processing area will receive your paperwork.

Are my grades reported before I graduate?

Course instructors are required to submit their course grades 48 hrs after the last class. We continually check for grade submissions and add them to your degree application. When you see them reported on the student information system, you can assume they have been recorded on your degree application. We cannot award diplomas until all required coursework grades are submitted.

When do I need to finish my final project/take my comprehensive exam?

Students should contact their department for guidance on final project submissions and comprehensive exam dates.  Students who  are submitting departmental special projects must contact their advisors well in advance and provide enough time for topic development, writing, review, and final submission for approval.  These dates may be determined by your respective department and may fall prior to Office of the Registrar's deadline dates.

Exact dates for degree awards may be found in the Academic Calendar for the appropriate academic year, in order to allow sufficient time for notification to be submitted to the Office of the Registrar by the date below.  For any due dates occurring on a weekend, the form will be accepted on the next business day. 

 
Date of Degree Award Supplementary Form Due
October September 1
February January 2
May April 30
 
Master of Education students will need to consult with their academic advisor regarding when to finish their departmental special project or comprehensive exam. Master of Education degree application forms must be reviewed and signed by your academic advisor two weeks prior to the conferral date. 

What is the difference between a formal essay and a departmental special project?

A formal essay must demonstrate the ability of the student to select, organize, and present the results of professional investigation in the major field. The essay may consist of a body of work in a studio or performance area, demonstrating the design, preparation, and presentation of professional works appropriate to the major field. The original copy of the formal essay is to be submitted to the Registrar no later than the dates included in the Academic Calendar. The approved essay is submitted to the College library for retention; the departmental integrative project is maintained by the major department and is NOT submitted to the Office of the Registrar. Students must consult with an academic advisor as to how to prepare their departmental special project. 

Whom do I contact about my student teaching hours?

The Office of Teacher Education, (212) 678-3466 or e-mail ote@tc.edu.

How do I change my name if I want it differently on my diploma?

You must submit a Change of Name form as soon as possible. Forms are available in the Office of the Registrar and online.

Please note:  If you wish to have your name change reflected on your diploma, you must submit the Change of Name form at least two (2) months prior to conferral date. 

What if I want to walk in the graduation ceremony but I have not finished my requirements?

Only students filing for graduation and finishing their requirements during the spring semester may walk in the May ceremonies.   If you have one or two courses or your project to finish during the summer term and have extenuating circumstances why you cannot attend the following years ceremonies, you must petition for an exception.  You must file a degree application along with a written statement delineating your reasons for being unable to attend. Your academic advisor must also submit a letter on your behalf.  All paperwork must be submitted to the Registrar for approval.  

If I am a PHD student, where do I pick up my PHD and Master of Philosophy diploma?

You may obtain your diploma from the Office of the Registrar in Kent Hall at Columbia University.

What if my employer or potential employer need verification of my degree?

Teachers College has authorized the National Student Clearinghouse to provide enrollment and degree verifications. The employer should contact the National Student Clearinghouse at:

Web:www.degreeverify.org

Mail: National Student Clearinghouse
2300 Dulles Station Boulevard, Suite 300
Herndon, VA 20171

When will my degree conferral date be printed on my transcript?

If you are cleared for graduation, the degree conferral date will appear after 1pm on the day of conferral.

Will I receive a transcript when I graduate?

No, Teachers College does not mail transcripts at the time of degree conferral.  If you wish to receive a transcript, you must submit a transcript request to the Transcript Office at any time.  There is no charge for a transcript request.

Whom do I contact if I have questions about the graduation ceremony?

Commencement Office can be reached at (212) 678-4039 or commencement@tc.columbia.edu.  You can also find up-to-date information by going to www.tc.edu/convocation

What is the recency requirement?

For all Masters students, at least sixteen (16) points must be taken at Teachers College during the final five-year period immediately preceding the conferring of the degree.

What is Period of Candidacy?

Master of Arts, Master of Science, and Master of Education students have 5 years from the time they are admitted to complete their degrees.

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