The university confers degrees at the end of each fall, spring, and summer term. Commencement ceremonies are held at the end of the fall semester to recognize summer graduates and fall degree candidates, and at the end of the spring semester to recognize spring degree candidates.
All coursework and all other degree requirements must be completed prior to the degree conferral date for the graduation term. A degree cannot be conferred unless all coursework has received a final grade. Students participating in exchange programs in their final semester 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 are required to apply for graduation. It is the student's responsibility to verify the accuracy of his or her own degree program, including all degree(s), major(s), minor(s), and specialization(s) prior to applying for graduation. Students should consult with their academic advisor with any questions regarding their program of study.
Students are able to submit an application for graduation as soon as they register for classes in the final term of their academic program. Students must apply for graduation by the published deadline. Late applications may result in the student's name being omitted from the commencement program and other printed materials. Students may not rent commencement regalia until they have applied for graduation and been cleared to participate by the college or school. There is no fee to apply to graduate.
Candidates for degrees should apply to graduate through the myau.american.edu portal account. The graduation application is available under the "Academics" section. Submitting an application for graduation triggers a review of the student's academic record to determine whether or not it is possible for the student to complete degree requirements in the application term. Only after the student has submitted an application for graduation can the student's academic advisor begin processing the necessary information for final certification of graduation.
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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 current registered hours); and have enrolled in the summer following May commencement for the course(s) needed to complete their degree requirements or have enrolled in the spring following December 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 following May commencement for the course needed to complete their degree requirements or have enrolled in the spring following December commencement for the course(s) 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 Commencement Ceremony Participation Request 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.
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.
Certified Electronic Diplomas
Beginning with graduates in Spring 2016, all American University graduates will receive a Certified Electronic Diploma (CeDiploma) in addition to the paper diploma that will be mailed to the student. Prior to graduation, students can visit the CeDiploma site to reserve the document, or can visit the CeDiploma site to download the document once the degree has been conferred.
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.