PhD Student Exit Checklist

All graduating doctoral students, including MD/PhDs returning to the MD Phase, should follow this checklist to ensure that all requirements are completed prior to departing from the program. Failure to complete the steps detailed below will result in a delay of your degree conferral. Prior to departure, please sign and return the WCGS PhD Student Exit Checklist form (available on the Student Forms page) to the Senior Coordinator for Student Success in A-131 or via email.

Before Thesis Defense

Set Thesis Defense Date

Approximately two months before you expect to defend your thesis, you should work with your committee to establish a defense date. This date, along with the names of your committee members, are entered into the Application for Final Examination Form, which must be signed by your Program Director and submitted to your program’s WCGS Coordinator a minimum of 30 days before the proposed defense date.

International Students: Finalize All Immigration Paperwork

All international students must meet with the Senior Coordinator for Student Success at least 90 days prior to their scheduled defense date.

Thesis and Dissertation Guidelines for Masters and PhD programs

After Thesis defense (or when receiving a Terminal Masters)

3. Obtain Thesis Approval for Defense

Approximately one month before your defense, begin collecting your committee members’ signatures for the Approval of Thesis for Defense form, which must be submitted to Denise Jenkins a minimum of two weeks before the defense.

4. Set stipend Termination Date with your Major Sponsor and inform Manager of Grants & Finance

The Major Sponsor must communicate to the student and to the Manager of Grants & Finance the date on which stipend funding will terminate. All students must terminate within 60 DAYS of the defense date. Once you submit the Application for Final Examination Form for the PhD Degree the Finance and Grants Administrator Dikaury Hernandez-Guner will contact you, your PI, Department administrator, regarding your termination and will confirm your termination date with you. Your termination date is the last day that you are officially a graduate student.

5. Clear any institutional grants appointments with Grants Administrator

Institutional Grants Appointment Clearance: Students on T32 training grants or individual fellowships must contact the Grants Administrator Dikaury Hernandez-Guner at least ONE MONTH before the termination date. Follow the termination guidelines of the specific funding agency: a Termination Notice must be filed through NIH eRA commons for NIH awardees; science and financial reports are required for most fellowships.

6. Clear all outstanding balances with WCGS through Student Accounting Office

Any outstanding balances to the Graduate School, WCMC, or MSKCC Housing must be paid.

Weill Cornell Medicine charges and invoices students by each term in their program.  Billing notifications from WCM will always come from the Student Accounting Office ( via email to the student’s Weill Cornell Medicine issued email address. Billing invoices are issued as needed starting one month before the payment due date.  It is each student’s responsibility to make payment arrangements to cover tuition and fees for each term by the payment due date provided. If you have debts, you will receive bills from Student Accounting. Personnel in Student Accounting, 1300 York room C-114 ( can affirm if your debts have been cleared. 

7. Set Housing Move-Out Date

Your stipend termination date marks your deadline for vacating housing. After this date, your rent can no longer be deducted from payroll and you must move out of your apartment. Please make sure to email the Housing Office ( of your vacate date at least TWO WEEKS prior to moving out.

8. Complete Survey of Earned Doctorates (SED)

The SED survey results are used by the government to make decisions about graduate education funding, developing and supporting programs. Register for the survey online at Upon registering, you will receive an email with your PIN and password as well as a link to the survey. Once the survey has been completed, an email confirmation will be sent to you and the Registrar's Office.

9. Submit Diploma Order Form and Cap and Gown Order Form

a. You will be instructed by the Registrar’s Office to complete a Graduation Registration form in LEARN and provide an address for diploma shipping.  All diplomas are sent via postal mail, first-class for domestic (US) mailing, and airmail for international mailings. Please allow 30 days from the mailing date to receive your diploma.

b. Instructions about cap and gown orders will be announced at a later date. 

10. Complete the Alumni Information form

Submit the Alumni Information Form online. This form allows us to better understand where our alumni are going after they graduate and what they are working on. We want to ensure that you are updated on WCGS news, events, and professional opportunities.

11. Submit your dissertation for format review

Submit your Dissertation to ProQuest at You will be contacted by a WCGS representative, who will email you feedback to format your dissertation and answer any questions you have in reference to your thesis according to guidelines set forth by ProQuest and the college. Forms and formatting requirements are available on the ETD submission site and the Student Forms Page (Thesis Formatting Instructions). Follow the representative’s directions to ensure your dissertation is formatted correctly and ready for publication. Once revisions are completed, the dissertation will be approved and you will be notified via email. You can find the deadline to submit your thesis to Proquest on the WCGS Academic Calendar. In addition, the Final Abstract and Dissertation Approval Form should be returned to the Associate Director of Enrollment & Education Operations Heather DiTullio.

12. Complete the eCommons Permission Form (optional)

eCommons is a service of the Weill Cornell Medical (WCM) Library that provides long-term access to a broad range of WCM-related digital content of enduring value. Complete the eCommons Registration Form online to add your dissertation to this service.

13. Return all library resources and devices

If your phone, computer, tablet or any other electronic devices are tagged for use at WCMC, please make sure to bring them to the IT SmartDesk located in the WCMC Library to have them untagged. Also, return all additional library resources to the WCMC Library. 

14. Submit your exit checklist

Submit a signed Exit checklist and SED confirmation to the Senior Coordinator for Student Success in person or via email. 

Final Day/ Stipend Termination Date

14. Return keys and ID badge to lab

15. Return Keys to Housing

Key Personnel

Associate Director of Enrollment & Education Programs: Heather DiTullio,

Senior Coordinator for Student 

WCGS Coordinator: Denise Jenkins,

Student Accounting:

Finance & Grants Administrator: Dikaury Hernandez-Guner,


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