All students participating in commencement must rent or purchase academic regalia in the university’s distinctive red, white, and blue colors. This regalia includes a cap and gown, and a hood for masters’ and doctoral degree recipients, as determined by the graduate's area of specialty. Rental regalia is owned by Herff Jones and was designed specifically for AU. Rental or purchase of regalia serves as a student’s registration to participate in commencement.
Students must complete the Application to Graduate form on the myAU.american.edu portal. The application triggers a review of a student's record in order to determine if all degree requirements will be completed at the end of the term. Students on track to graduate are deemed eligible to participate in commencement by their academic advisors and eligible students will receive a commencement countdown postcard in mid to late March.
Students who cannot complete degree requirements during spring semester are eligible to participate in a later ceremony and must reapply for graduation at the appropriate time. Late applications may result in the student's name being omitted from the commencement program and other materials and will delay the student's ability to rent regalia.
The university strictly enforces the policy for participation in commencement. Students are responsible for maintaining an appropriate course load and completing degree requirements in time to be eligible for their targeted graduation. Only those students whose academic records indicate that they can satisfy degree requirements by the end of the term for which they have filed an application to graduate will be permitted to participate in the May commencement.
Students who have been declared eligible to graduate will be mailed a postcard in mid to late March with instructions on renting regalia. In order to ensure availability, orders must be placed via the myAU.american.edu and will require a credit card. Your order must include your height and approximate weight to ensure proper fit. Orders with missing information will not be completed.
Orders received after April 10 are subject to availability and will be accepted via the portal until 5:00 pm on April 28. To place an order after April 28, students should fill out a paper form in AU Central then complete payment in the Campus Store.
The rental fee for regalia, including taxes, is $45.36 for bachelor's, $92.12 for master's, and $140.65 for doctoral.
When you place your order for rental regalia, you must indicate your cap size. Your order cannot be completed without this information. The cap should fit snugly on your head, so if you are between sizes, use the smaller number. There are two ways to determine your cap size:
- Obtain a paper measuring tape from the Mary Graydon Center Information Desk, the AU Campus Store, or your Dean’s Office
- Measure the circumference of your head to the closest 1/4” by using a long piece of string or by using the online measuring tape (PDF file that must be taped together) located on the "Commencement – Cap & Gown" page on the portal. Use the conversion table on the portal page to determine your cap size.
If you order the wrong size, your cap can be exchanged during the regalia distribution period in May.
- If you do not receive two email confirmations (from Official Payment and from AU Commencement) immediately, your order was not placed successfully. We recommend the following steps:
- Use a laptop or desktop computer. We are unable to accept orders placed on tablets and smart phones.
- Use Firefox or Microsoft IE.
- Be sure to use the correct URL—https://myAU.american.edu.
- Check with your academic advisor if you do not see the “Commencement – Cap & Gown Order” personalized link, under “Academics.”
- Contact the OIT Help Desk if you see the link and are unable to open it.
- Contact the Registrar’s Office Degree Clearance Team if your name or degree information is listed incorrectly.
Cap and gown distribution will take place on Wednesday, May 10 in the University Club. On Thursday, May 11 and for the remainder of the week it will take place in the Bridge Lounge (formerly the lower level of the Campus Store) during the following times:
Wednesday, May 10: 9 a.m.—7 p.m.
Thursday, May 11: 9 a.m.—7 p.m.
Friday, May 12: 9 a.m.—6 p.m.
Saturday, May 13: 8 a.m.—10 p.m.
Sunday, May 14: 8 a.m.—7 p.m.
Your entire order must be returned to the Bridge Lounge by 7 p.m. on Sunday, May 14. BA and MA grads may keep their tassels. To ensure that the return of your order is properly recorded, you must sign the return form. Students who fail to return regalia will be charged the full replacement price of the order.
Undergraduate students who are projected to graduate with Latin Honors or University Honors, as of the end of fall semester 2016, will receive a gold cord with their rental regalia, signifying academic achievement, to wear during the commencement ceremony. Representatives from the Registrar’s Office will hand out the cords at a table at cap/gown distribution in the Bridge Lounge (formerly the lower level of the Campus Store). Master's and doctoral degree recipients are not eligible to receive Latin Honors.
The notation of Latin Honors and University Honors in the commencement program and the determination to distribute gold cords is based on fall semester grades, since commencement occurs before spring semester grades have been recorded. The diploma and transcript are the only official means of certification and reflect all course work counted toward the degree. If a student is found to have met the requirements for Latin Honors or University Honors after spring semester grades are applied, it will be noted on the diploma and transcript.
For additional information about academic honors, see the Undergraduate Academic Rules and Regulations (section 5.6, Latin Honors).
The deadline to purchase regalia is March 10. Some graduates, typically doctoral degree recipients going into university teaching positions and those who might need regalia for ceremonial occasions, opt to purchase regalia, which ranges from $400 to $775. The price depends upon the type of fabric and trim chosen. It takes up to eight weeks to process an order. Graduates whose orders are not completed before their ceremonies will need to rent regalia.