Graduation

When should I apply to graduate?
May Graduation:
Students who will have completed all their course and minimum credit requirements by the end of the Spring term should apply for May graduation by Dec. 1.

February Graduation: Students who will have completed all their courses and minimum credit requirements by the end for the Fall term should apply for February graduation by Nov. 1.

October Graduation:
Students who will have completed all their courses and minimum credit requirements by the end of the Summer term should apply for October graduation by Aug. 1.

How do I apply to graduate?
Students should submit their application form directly to the Registrar’s Office in Kent Hall. The application is available online:  http://www.columbia.edu/cu/registrar/docs/forms/app-for-deg-or-cert.html

How does the graduation process work?
The Registrar’s Office sends a certification list (the list containing all those that have applied to graduate) to Graduate Student Services about two months before the conferral date.  Graduate Student Services, in conjunction with your academic department, reviews your courses and program plan to ensure that you have met the requirements to graduate. 

What kinds of issues arise that will cause me not to graduate?
There are many reasons a student might not be cleared to graduate. The most common are: 

  • Did not meet the minimum credit requirements of the program.
  • Did not meet the specific course requirements for the program.
  • Did not meet the minimum GPA requirement for the program/school.
  • Has unresolved IN’s (Incompletes), missing grades, or CP’s (Credit Pendings) – The degree will not be awarded even if these courses are not part of the student’s program plan.


I was cleared to graduate, but my diploma was not available, why?
There are a few reasons your diploma might not be available even though you were cleared for your degree. The most common are:

  • Financial Balance – Student Financial Services will not release the diploma hold until your student balance has been paid in full.
  • Library & Administrative Holds – You should contact the department that issued the hold to resolve the issue.
  • Late Graduation Application – The registrar’s office has a timeline for applying to graduate. If you apply late, there is no guarantee your application will be accepted. If your application was accepted but your diploma wasn’t ready it was because of the late printing request.
  • Pick-up versus Mailing – The registrar’s application asks whether or not you will pick-up the diploma in person or have it mailed to an address. If you indicated the wrong preference or wrong address, your diploma may not be available. Ensure your preferences and mailing address is up to date and correct. Contact the Registrar's Office to insure that your preferences and mailing addressare up-to-date and correct.

When are the commencement activities?
There is one University-wide commencement that takes place in May. Graduates from the previous October and February periods are encouraged to join the May graduates for the University Commencement and Class Day Activities.

What if I am completing my courses in the summer and want to walk “this” May, not “next” May, can I participate in graduation exercises?
 Students who have at least 24 credits completed, a minimum 2.5 GPA and are in good behavioral and academic standing are eligible to petition to participate in graduation ceremonies. For more information, please contact Ellie Bastani or your department.

I applied to graduate but was not cleared, do I have to reapply?
The application will be rolled over for the very next graduation term; so, you will not need to reapply unless otherwise instructed by the Office of Graduate Student Services.

How do I get tickets for commencement and how many can I get?
Tickets are required for guests of students wishing to attend the University-wide commencement. Students will receive a maximum of three guest tickets. Tickets are not needed to attend the Class Day ceremony.  Ticket information will be sent by email in April.

Does my name get called during University Commencement?
No, individual student names are only called during the Class Day ceremony. Students are highly encouraged to attend both ceremonies.

Where do I obtain my cap and gown?
Caps and gowns are available at the University Bookstore in Lerner Hall. The Office of Graduate Student Services will email the dates the cap and gowns can be purchased. Rentals are not available.

Is there an official graduation website?
Yes: http://www.studentaffairs.columbia.edu/gradzone

Will the events be broadcast?
Yes, all commencement events and class day ceremonies are recorded. The activities are available for viewing live during the actual ceremonies and taped for later viewing. Additional Commencement Frequently Asked Questions can be found here:http://www.columbia.edu/cu/ceremonies/commencement/docs/questions/overview/index.html.


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