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Graduation vs. Commencement

There are important differences between commencement and graduation and we want you to be comfortable with these common university terms.

Commencement refers to the ceremony, officiated by the provost of the university, where you share the excitement and importance of your academic accomplishments with peers, family, and friends. It is also a time for the university, president, deans, program directors, faculty, and staff to pay special tribute to you for the outstanding efforts you have shown in earning your degree. The university holds one ceremony, traditionally in August, to celebrate the graduates for the academic year conferrals. There is no registration fee to attend commencement; however, graduates will need to secure academic regalia, and any costs affiliated with traveling to the ceremony location.

Graduation, on the other hand, is the process of completing all academic requirements for your degree, and settling all financial obligations, among a few other audits/assessments. The administrative process of degree conferral will indicate your official date of graduation. Conferral date is defined as the date on which your degree is officially awarded. There is one official commencement date per year, held in the month of August. Also note, that you will receive your diploma whether you attend commencement or not.

There are important instructions and deadlines that you will need to meet as you prepare to complete your program, so make sure you have met with your department academic advisor.

Attention Graduates: Visit the Graduate Information webpage for the ASA graduate checklist.

If you have any questions, please contact the Office of Academic and Students affairs at
Office: (409) 772-9411 or email