For information about COVID-19, including symptoms and prevention, please read our COVID-19 patient guide. Please also consider supporting Weill Cornell Medicine’s efforts against the pandemic.

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

1. Set Thesis Defense Date with WCGS Coordinator

(Forms: Application for Final Examination - 30 days before defense and Approval of Thesis for Defense - two weeks before defense). See Additional Information.

2. International Students: Meet with Senior Coordinator for Student Success regarding Immigration/Visa status at least 30 days before defense.

After Thesis defense (or when receiving a Terminal Masters)

3. Clear all debts with WCGS through Student Accounting Office.

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

5. Set housing move-out date with the housing office:

6. Clear institutional grants appointments with Grants Administrator.

7. Return all library resources to WCMC Library.

8. Complete Survey of Earned Doctorates (SED) online:

9. Return all post-thesis forms (received at the time of defense) to appropriate staff: Diploma Order Form and Cap and Gown Order Form

10. Complete Alumni Information Form to ensure that you are updated on WCGS news, events, and professional opportunities.

11. Submit Dissertation to Send Final Abstract and Dissertation Approval Form to Associate Director of Enrollment & Education Operations.

11a. *Optional* Weill Cornell eCommons Permissions Form

12. Take tagged device(s) to the ITS SmartDesk to be untagged.

13. Submit signed Exit checklist to 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

Additional Information

Application for Final Examination Form: Submit this form to the WCGS Coordinator 30 days prior to your defense date.

Approval of Thesis for Defense Form: Submit this form to the WCGS Coordinator and your program coordinator two weeks prior to your defense date. 

Stipend Termination Date: 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. 

Housing Move-Out: 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 inform the Graduate School and your respective housing office of your vacate date at least TWO WEEKS prior to moving out. 

Debts to WCGS Clearance: Any debts to the Graduate School, WCMC, or MSKCC Housing, must be paid. 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. 

Immigration/VISA Paperwork: All international students must meet with the Senior Coordinator for Student Success at least 30 DAYS prior to their defense and 90 DAYS prior to their SEVIS end date.

Institutional Grants Appointment Clearance: Students on T32 training grants or individual fellowships, contact the Grants Administrator at least ONCE 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. 

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. 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. 

Alumni Information Form: This form allows us to better understand where our alumni are going after they graduate and what they are working on.

Un-Tag Electronic Devices: If you have had your phone, computer, tablet or any other electronic devices tagged for use at WCMC, please make sure to bring them to the IT SmartDesk located in the WCMC Library to have them untagged. 

Dissertation Submission: Dissertations should be submitted to The Final Abstract and Dissertation Approval Form should be returned to the Associate Director of Enrollment & Education Operations. Forms and formatting requirements are available on the ETD submission site and the Student Forms Page (Thesis Formatting Instructions).

Diploma Order Form: This form is recieved at the time of defense. Submit the Diploma Order Form to the Registrar's Office (, C-118. Once you have completed this Exit Checklist your conferral date will be finalized by the Registrar.

Key Personnel

Associate Director of Enrollment & Education Operations: Matthew Cipriano,

Senior Coordinator for Student Success: Chrissie Kong,

WCGS Coordinator: Denise Jenkins,

Student Accounting:

Manager of Grants and Finance: Barbara Harville,

Grants Administrator: Xiaoai Chen, Ph.D.,


Ready to start?
Apply now
Need more info?
Ask a question
Follow us on

Weill Cornell Medicine Graduate School of Medical Sciences 1300 York Ave. Box 65 New York, NY 10065 Phone: (212) 746-6565 Fax: (212) 746-5981