Office of the University Registrar

Graduation and Commencement

The university confers degrees at the end of each summer, fall, and spring term. Commencement ceremonies are held mid-May, to recognize summer and fall graduates and spring degree candidates.

All coursework, all Incompletes, and all other degree requirements must be completed prior to the degree conferral date. A degree cannot be conferred unless all coursework has been graded. Students participating in exchange programs must complete all work and the term at the visited institution must be over prior to the date of the AU degree conferral date.

Additional information about graduation and commencement ceremonies can be found on the university's commencement page.

Applying for Graduation

Students file an application to graduate for summer, fall, or spring at the start of their final semester. The application triggers a review of the student's academic record to determine whether or not it is possible for the student to complete degree requirements at the end of that term.  Late applications may result in the student's name being omitted from the commencement program and other printed materials and will delay the student's ability to rent commencement regalia.

Candidates for degrees should apply to graduate through their account. Students apply for graduation during their last semester of study. The application is available under the "Academics" section of the portal. No fee is required.

Graduation Application Period*
Spring 2015
August 1, 2014 - March 31, 2015
Summer 2015
January 1, 2015 - June 1, 2015
Fall 2015
May 1, 2015 - October 31, 2015

 * Application dates are subject to change.

Only after application for graduation has been made can the student's academic advisor begin processing the necessary information for final certification of graduation.

Eligibility to Participate in Commencement

Participation in a commencement ceremony does not itself constitute conferral of a degree, nor does it imply an obligation on the part of the university to award the degree before all requirements have been met and certified.

Undergraduate degree students who have met all university requirements (General Education, Mathematics and College Writing) for their degree, but have not completed up to two courses (up to a maximum of 8 credit hours) may participate in commencement activities if they have a current GPA of 2.0 or above; have at least 112 credit hours (hours earned plus spring registered hours); and have enrolled in the summer or fall following commencement for the course(s) needed to complete their degree requirements.

Master's degree students who have met all other university requirements, including the thesis (if required) for their degree, but lack one course (3 credit hours maximum) may participate in commencement activities if they have a current GPA of 3.0 or above, and have enrolled in the summer or fall following commencement for the course needed to complete their degree requirements.

Doctoral students must complete all degree and university requirements and be cleared for graduation in order to participate in commencement.

Regardless of the number of credit hours needed to finish their program at AU, international students enrolled at AU as part of a dual degree or joint degree program under a Memorandum of Agreement with another institution may participate in the commencement ceremonies prior to returning to their home institution to complete their degree requirement.

Students who are not completing degree requirements, but who wish to participate in a commencement ceremony must petition using the Eligibility to Participate in Commencement form.

The university strictly enforces this policy for attending commencement. Students planning to graduate at a particular time are responsible for maintaining an appropriate course load and completing degree requirements in time to be eligible for their targeted graduation.

Posthumous Degrees

The AU Posthumous Degree Policy governs the criteria for the awarding of posthumous degrees to undergraduate and graduate students, and applies only to students in degree-awarding undergraduate and graduate programs at American University.

Replacement Diploma Orders

Please fill out the Request for Replacement Diploma form and submit it with the fee to the Office of the University Registrar (cash will not be accepted). Replacement diplomas reflect the current diploma format (11x14) and display the signature of the current President and Chairman of the Board.