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Graduate Students

May 2016 Commencement & Degree Requirements

(for degrees conferred August and December 2015, and May 2016)

Are you Ready for May Commencement?

SUNY-ESF Commencement will be held on Saturday, May 14, 2016 at 3pm. Students who completed degree requirements in August or December 2015, or who will complete degree requirements by Friday, April 15 are invited to participate in the May 2016 Commencement Weekend ceremonies.

Master's degree students who have defended theses may request permission to participate in ceremonies with written recommendations from the appropriate Department Chairs and permission from the Dean of Instruction & Graduate Studies. No exceptions will be made to allow doctoral students (who have not completed degree requirements) to participate in Commencement. You must RSVP if you plan to attend Commencement Weekend ceremonies with the Office of Instruction and Graduate Studies by April 15, 2016. If you do not meet this deadline, your name may not appear in the Commencement program.

What is the Difference Between both Commencement Ceremonies?

Commencement Weekend 2016 is May 13-15! ESF Commencement is held on Saturday, May 14th at 3pm and is a formal ceremony in which the ESF community recognizes the achievements of graduating students. All graduating students will be individually recognized as they walk across the stage as their names are announced aloud. Degrees are also conferred at ESF Commencement. On Sunday, May 1th, SU/ESF Joint Commencement is held for all ESF and SU graduating students and is a final marker of the special relationship shared by ESF and Syracuse University. Members of the graduating class are encouraged to attend both events so that they may receive the recognition they undoubtedly deserve.

Because ESF and SU share Commencement ceremonies, you will also receive information from SU. If you have not received an SU mailing by March 30, contact SU Office of Special Events, 315-443-4631.

Annual Spring Banquet

This annual ESF event will be held on April 23, 2016 at 6pm at the Drumlins Country Club is a semi-formal dinner that recognizes the scholarship, service and contributions of ESF students. Dancing follows the formal program. This is the biggest social event of the year! Watch for advertisements!

Commencement Important Dates and Activities

Monday, April 11 On-campus parking permits available for Commencement Day parking
Friday, April 15 Deadline to verify eligibility to graduate and for MS or PhD defenses

Tuesday, April 26

Deadline for final, signed version of thesis or dissertation document and associated paperwork for MS and PhD degrees, or diploma form for MF, MPS, and MLA degrees to Office of Instruction & Graduate Studies

Wednesday, May 11

ESF Commencement Rehearsal, Marshall Auditorium, 3:00 pm. Followed by the Champagne Toast in the Gateway Center, sponsored by the ESF Alumni Association.
Thursday, May 12 Commencement Rehearsal in Carrie Dome, 10:00 am (enter at Gate “D”)
Friday, May 13 Higher Degree Reception and Ceremony, Master's and Ph.D. Candidates, Gateway Center, 5 pm
Saturday, May 14

12:00 pm—Curriculum-Specific Faculty Receptions and Ceremonies for Degree Candidates, their Guests, and Members of the ESF College Community!

Locations of Curriculum Specific Faculty Receptions:

Chemistry: 130 Jahn

Environmental Studies: Nifkin (Alumni) Lounge

EFB/Biotechnology (all majors) - Illick Foyer

Environmental Resources Engineering: Gateway Center

Environmental Science: 408 Baker Lab

Forest and Natural Resources Management: 1st Floor Bray Hall Rotunda

Landscape Architecture: 327 Marshall/3rd Floor Corridor

Paper and Bioprocess Engineering: Walters, 2nd Floor Lobby

2:30 pm - Students line up, SRC Arena and Events Center, Allyn Hall Gym

3:00 pm - ESF Commencement, SRC Arena and Events Center, 4585 West Seneca Turnpike, Syracuse Approximate end time is 5:15 pm. We will host a brief Reception meet and greet afterwards for all guests and ESF faculty and staff.

Sunday, May 15

9:15 am—Academic Procession Begins

9:30 am—SU/ESF Joint Commencement will begin at the end of the procession

YOU DON’T NEED TICKETS TO ATTEND ESF COMMENCEMENT AT THE SRC ARENA AND EVENTS CENTER OR THE SU/ESF JOINT COMMENCEMENT AT THE CARRIER DOME.

Graduation Links

Undergraduate Students

  • Commencement & Celebration Activities
  • Undergraduate Application for Graduation Form—Online, PDF

Graduate Students

Formal Attire Is Required!

During the Middle Ages, monks and students wore academic regalia as protection from the damp and drafty conditions of monasteries and castles. Through the years, regalia evolved to represent and celebrate scholarly achievement. The colors of the hoods and various trimmings symbolized the disciplines and institutional traditions.

In deference to and in celebration of tradition and scholarship, ESF students who participate in Commencement Ceremonies are required to wear academic attire. Caps and gowns are available for purchase through the SU Bookstore in the Schine Student Center, (315) 443-9900.

Commencement Parking

On Campus: A limited number of on-campus parking permits will be available in 110 Bray Hall on a first come-first served basis beginning Monday, April 11, 2016. One permit per family; extra permits may be available depending upon supply. Additionally, all SU lots will be open throughout the weekend.

Guests with Limited Mobility

Both the SRC Arena and the Carrier Dome have wheel chair accessible doors on the lower level, and there is space within where guests in wheel chairs can comfortably view the ceremonies. For the Saturday ESF Commencement, guests in wheel chairs or those who need a little extra help should enter the SRC Arena in Lot 14, directly behind the arena. For Sunday SU/ESF Commencement, guests requiring special accommodations can be dropped off in front of the Carrier Dome while someone else parks the car. ESF and SU Public Safety officers are very understanding about this!

Guests Who Are Hearing Impaired

We will be happy to make arrangements to have a sign language interpreter at ESF Commencement on Saturday. Simply call the Office of Student Affairs (470-6658) prior to April 11 . The Commencement ceremonies are signed; several interpreters are located throughout the Dome. Seating locations for hearing impaired guests will be posted in the Carrier Dome.

Remember to reserve overnight accommodations early! We also recommend making restaurant reservations to avoid disappointments and long waits! Lodging options HERE.

Commencement Logistics

May 14, 2016 - SRC Arena

  • You must be at the SRC Arena by 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 14. You will gather with your classmates in the Allyn Hall Gym. Students will be arranged by curriculum and you will be instructed about your “name card.” You will then process into the arena according to your program of study.
  • The ceremony will begin PROMPTLY AT 3:00 p.m. The Provost will begin her remarks at 3:00 p.m., and all participants will already be seated.
  • Each degree candidate in attendance will be individually recognized. Your name will be announced, and you will cross the stage to shake hands with the President of the College, the Chair of the Board of Trustees, and the Department Chair.
  • Individual recognition of undergrads will begin after the Senior Speaker gives their brief remarks.
  • All students will follow a counter-clockwise pattern to receive recognition. Students in the Honors Program will be called first. They will rise, and proceed to their right into the aisle and up the stairs. Students will hand a name card to their faculty chair at the podium on the left, then cross the stage, shake hands with the President of the College, the Chair of the Board of Trustees, and your Department Chair, and return to their seat on the floor.
  • The same format is followed for each of the remaining curricula. The students seated at the end of the left side aisle will be signaled by a Commencement Host as to when to rise and form a line, so that “lag time” between people crossing the stage is held to a minimum. If you are the last student in each curriculum who will cross the stage, you will receive a different color name card. This will notify your faculty chair that you are the final student from your curriculum to cross the stage.

Additional Information

  • Commencement Rehearsal: Wednesday, May 11, at 3:00 p.m. in Marshall Auditorium. Followed by a Champagne Toast in the Gateway Center.
  • Students must wear a cap and gown at both Commencements. Master’s candidates must purchase the master’s recycled keeper cap and gown for $39.95 and hood for $29.95. Doctoral candidates must rent a cap and gown for $46.95. Doctoral candidates who have completed all requirements for the degree will receive their hoods at commencement. Cap and gown pickup will take place in the Bray Rotunda, May 4 and May 5 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Parking: In order to park on campus during Commencement weekend, you must obtain a parking pass from the Student Affairs Office, 110 Bray Hall. A limited number of parking passes will be available on a first come, first serve basis beginning Monday, April 11, 2016.

Questions or Concerns?

  • If you have questions about Commencement Weekend, contact the Office of Student Affairs at (315) 470-6658/6660.
  • If you have any concerns about your graduate degree requirements, call the Office of Instruction and Graduate Studies at (315) 470-6599.

Degree Requirements

What Does it Mean to "Complete Degree Requirements?" The Master's degree requires completion of a minimum of 30 credit hours at the graduate level, of which at least 18 must be in coursework. By this time, you should have completed an approved study plan (3B) and submitted it to the Office of Instruction and Graduate Studies. Students must also meet capstone seminar, thesis, and exam requirements, submit a Diploma Request Form, pay for binding fees (as appropriate) and submit theses electronically to the ProQuest archival service.

Doctoral degree students must successfully complete a minimum of 60 graduate credits – an appropriate combination of at least 30 to 48 credits are awarded for coursework and at least 12 to 30 credits are awarded for dissertation (xxx 999). An approved study plan (3B) must be executed. Students must also meet capstone seminar, dissertation, and exam requirements, submit a Diploma Request Form, pay for binding fees, submit the appropriate number of unbound dissertation copies to OIGS, upload electronically to the ProQuest archival service, and submit a Survey of Earned Doctorates.

All graduate students must be registered for at least one credit hour for the semester in which they complete degree requirements. A minimum cumulative GPA of 3.000 is required for graduation.

What Paperwork is Required to "Complete Degree Requirements?"

MF, MLA and MPS degrees -- in addition to successful completion of coursework and Faculty requirements:

  • Graduate version of the Diploma Form

MS degrees  -- in addition to successful completion of coursework and Faculty requirements:

  • Submission of thesis document and payment of abstract fee to ProQuest
  • Submission of the appropriate copies of the thesis to the Office of Instruction & Graduate Studies
  • Thesis binding fee ($35/copy)
  • Diploma Form (Graduate version)

Doctoral degrees  -- in addition to successful completion of coursework and Faculty requirements:

If you are submitting a thesis or dissertation, did you...

  • Leave at least 1.0 inch margins?
  • Have the abstract page signed by your major professor(s)?
  • Have the title page signed by your major professor(s), chair of the exam committee, department chair, and Director of the Division of Engineering (ERE only – Dr. Gary Scott)?
  • Include your resume or vita as the last page of the thesis or dissertation?
  • Spell check all pages - especially the acknowledgment page?
  • Make sure all pages are included and in correct order?
  • Make sure you have not gone beyond your delimitation date? (If so, you must petition an extension.)
  • Thesis and Dissertation Formatting Guidelines
  • Submit your document to ProQuest?

Masters HoodsMaster’s hoods
The colors of the ESF Master's hoods represent the colors of the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry: forest green, white and gold. Hoods are black with gold velvet lining with green, white & gold satin chevrons on the inside lining.

Doctoral HoodsDoctoral hoods
The colors of the Ph.D. hoods represent the colors of the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry: forest green, white and gold. Hoods are black, with navy blue velvet outer lining and white & gold satin chevrons on the inside lining.


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