Is there anything I should do before I file for graduation?
Yes. Contact the Director of Graduate Studies (currently Andrea Walkden) and review your record with her to make sure everything is in order. Also take this opportunity to tell or remind her about any special circumstances (a waiver or transfer credit that doesn’t appear on the record, for instance), file any leftover transfer credit paperwork, and generally clean up any loose ends that might become a problem later.
How do I get set up to graduate this semester?
You have to file a diploma card with the Registrar’s Office by the seventh week of the semester in which you want to graduate.
How and when do I sign up for the thesis?
Once you’ve decided on a topic and talked to an advisor, you need to decide on your timing. Take the thesis course during the final semester of your MA, because it triggers graduation paperwork, so if you take it prematurely it can be a huge hassle (see below). It is much better to spend a semester (or a summer) doing some research and preliminary work – maybe writing up the prospectus – on your own time, and then officially sign up for the thesis the next semester. When you’re ready, pick up a Thesis Sign-Up Form from the English department assistant (Klapper 601, 718-997-4600), fill it in, and put it in the DGS’s mailbox. When s/he gets it, s/he will sign you up for the thesis course, but s/he cannot sign you up until s/he has that documentation. For more information on planning the thesis go to the thesis section of this site.
What happens if I don’t finish the thesis in time?
Well, it is a problem. In order to graduate, you have to stay enrolled at Queens College somehow; you can’t graduate from a program you’re not officially in. So you only have two real options: a) take another course, or b) sign up for Maintenance of Matriculation, a fee paid to stay enrolled in the program without doing coursework. Maintenance of Matriculation is very nearly as expensive as a course. That is why you need to be really careful to sign up for the thesis course only in the semester when you’re sure you can finish it. You don’t want to be billed for an extra semester.
What happens if I am not approved for graduation?
Filing the diploma card triggers a “graduation audit” in which the Registrar and the Director of Graduate Studies in English review your transcript to ensure that you have completed all the requirements for your degree. If there is a problem, you will receive a letter from the Registrar stating that you were not approved for graduation, and requesting that you contact the DGS to learn the reason. Don’t panic! Most often what happens is that you received a waiver that the DGS didn’t know about, so all you have to do is explain the situation to the DGS. The DGS will then contact the Registrar and clear your record.
What is the deadline for finishing everything?
The dates by which you must file for graduation are as follows:
Fall graduation: November 1
Spring graduation: March 1
Summer graduation: August 1
The date by which your thesis grade must be sent to the Registrar is the deadline for turning in grades for that semester (check the Academic Calendar).
Please note, this is your advisor’s deadline, which means your deadline is considerably earlier. Your work needs to be finished and your oral exam completed well in advance of this deadline so that your advisor can compute your grade and submit it by that date. Be advised that your advisor has other work, including possible travel and research plans (s/he may be leaving town prior to the deadline, and in that case you will have to finish even earlier so s/he can file the information before departing). Accordingly, you should check with your advisor about her/his plans and schedule yourself accordingly.
What does Maintenance of Matriculation mean?
When you submit a Maintenance of Matriculation form, you will pay a fee which allows you to stay enrolled in the program without registering for any classes. Unfortunately, the Maintenance of Matriculation fee is very nearly as expensive as a course, so you should attempt to schedule yourself to avoid having to do this. It’s like paying for an extra semester. If, however, you do need to go this route, the form, along with many other useful ones, can be downloaded from the Registrar’s website.
How do I bind the thesis?
After the oral exam, and after you have made all the corrections and changes required or suggested by your advisor and your reader, you should submit the thesis to be bound. Print out three copies of the thesis. The cover sheet for each copy should contain, in addition to the title and the author's name, the words "Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the degree of Master of Arts in English" and a place for your advisor’s signature. Bring all three copies to the Rosenthal Library Office with a check for $25.00. One copy will be cataloged in the library's permanent collection, one will be housed with the English Department, and the third is yours to keep.
What do I bring to the oral?
All you need to bring is a copy of your thesis – don’t forget to have your advisor sign the first page of your thesis. But, you are welcome to bring a cup of coffee or tea, your lucky pen or even your lucky copy of Shakespeare’s collected works.