How to apply to graduate and for the commencement ceremony


Whether you’re a senior or junior on the cusp of graduating from NSU, or a sophomore or freshman who’s simply curious, there are some things you should know about NSU’s graduation and commencement application. This should begin with that fact that yes, if you’d like to graduate, you will need to apply to do so. Here’s what you need to do to get the ball rolling.

Commencement and graduation are not synonymous
Though the terms graduation and commencement tend to go hand-in-hand, they do not mean the same thing. According to University Registrar G. Elaine Poff, the confusion happens often.

“There are two applications that a student has to fill out,” said Poff. “Some students confuse the degree application [Degree/Diploma Application] with the commencement application [Commencement Participation Form] but they are different.”

The distinction lies in the definition of the terms. Poff explained that graduation implies that an individual has completed all of an institution’s requirements. In the case of an NSU student, this would include having accrued the necessary program credits. Commencement is the celebratory ceremony which recognizes those individuals who have completed a particular program. At NSU, these ceremonies occur in the months of May and June, depending on the program.

Degrees must be conferred before graduating
According to Poff, in accordance with NSU policy, students who wish to officially graduate must fill out and submit the Degree/Diploma Application which can be accessed here:

“After a student submits the form, it is reviewed by the Office of the University Registrar and forwarded to the chair of the appropriate program,” said Poff. “If the chair of the academic department approves the degree, then it is conferred.”

Jillian Barbosa, commencement coordinator, added that degrees are conferred on a monthly basis. The student will then be invited to participate in the commencement ceremonies.

“After the degrees are conferred, the student will receive an email to complete the CPF form [Commencement Participation Form],” said Barbosa.

Once the form has been submitted, provided that it has been received by the required date as published by the Office of University Registrar the student’s name, major and hometown will be added to the commencement program. For example, this year, traditional undergraduate students must submit the forms by April 13 if they wish to do so online. Students are encouraged to work with the Office of the University Register to ensure that the forms have been properly completed by stated dates as these change based upon programs and other criteria.

Poff mentions that if the Commencement Participation Form is received before the commencement ceremony, but after the posted date, the student will still be allowed to participate, though their information will not appear on the official program.

There are fees associated with degree conferrals
Students are required to make a payment for the degree assessment which is based on his or her program of study. Fees range from $100 to $275.

This fee does not cover the price of regalia which must be purchased separately through the NSU Bookstore’s partnered vendor Oak Hall Cap & Gown via a link included in the commencement invitation email upon conferral, or directly through the NSU Bookstore. Undergraduate and master/specialist regalia cost $54 and $93 respectively, minus taxes and shipping costs. Doctoral students may choose to rent their regalia for $174 or purchase for $1021.

You may be able to walk despite the fact that you haven’t graduated
However, Poff mentions that a person does not need to have completed the program by that time to participate in the commencement ceremony.

“If the student will have completed the program by the end of the summer semester, they may be able to walk during the ceremony,” said Poff. “But, students who complete the program in the fall semesters, have to wait until the winter semesters to participate.”

Students are encouraged to work closely with their academic advisors toward completing the necessary program requirements. For more information about the degree conferral process or commencement ceremony request, visit Students are asked to email their academic advisor or if they experience any discrepancies with their information.