Graduation and Commencement - Frequently Asked Questions

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What’s the difference between “commencement” and “graduation?”

It is important to know the difference between commencement and graduation. The commencement ceremony is the formal cap/gown ceremony held in May. This is a celebration of your accomplishment. Students who walk during commencement will receive a blank diploma cover and a tassel. Graduation is the term used when a student is awarded their degree. Students are awarded their degree when they have met all the necessary requirements.

Participation in the commencement ceremony does not necessarily constitute graduation.

Who can walk in the May commencement ceremony?

Since students will be receiving a blank diploma cover and tassel during the commencement ceremony,  ALL potential graduates from Spring, in addition to those graduates from the previous Summer, Fall, and Winter semesters, are given the opportunity to attend the commencement ceremony. Students must complete the Application for Graduation in order to be eligible to walk in the Commencement ceremony and to have your name included in the Commencement Program. Students must also indicate on their application if they wish to attend (or not attend) the Commencement ceremony so that the College Bookstore and the Office of Conferences and Events, who coordinate Commencement, can make the necessary arrangements. Check the Commencement website, usually available in March, for the Commencement Program deadline date.

Eligibility to Apply for Graduation

  • Undergraduate students — completion of a minimum of 84 credit hours
  • Graduate students completing degree — completion of a minimum of 21 credit hours
  • Graduate students completing certificate — completion of a minimum of 12 credit hours

All Degree Candidates for January, May, August, and December are Eligible to Walk in the May Commencement Ceremony (see chart below)

All Requirements completed by the end of: Deadline to Apply for Graduation: Degree Awarded Effective: Attend Commencement Ceremony in:
Spring Semester June 15 May May
Summer Semester September 15 August May
Fall Semester January 15 December May
Winter Semester February 15 January May

When will my degree be awarded?

Degrees are awarded according to the chart above. However,

  • If the requested application deadline has passed and your degree has not yet been completed, you will need to reapply for further review by the appropriate deadline according to the chart above. Your degree requirements will be reviewed again and, if all requirements have been met, will be awarded according to the month in the Degree Awarded Effective column above.

  • Please note that the degree cannot be awarded if there is additional course work registered in a following or future semester, even if the course work is not required for your program, or if there are courses still in progress (Incomplete, PR, or missing grade) from the current or a previous semester.

    For example: A degree cannot be awarded effective May if there are courses registered in the following summer and/or fall semester, even if the courses are not required for your program, nor can the degree be awarded if there is still an Incomplete, PR or a missing grade on your record from the current or a previous semester. The same rules apply for a degree review requested for August, December or January graduation.

All courses must be completed and a final grade assigned before the degree can be awarded.

Where can I find the online Application for Graduation?

When signed on to Web Banner, go to Student Services, then Student Records and then Apply for Graduation for instructions. 

How will I know when to apply for graduation?

Undergraduate students may apply for graduation with 84 completed credit hours. Graduate students may apply with 21 completed credit hours for a degree and 12 completed credits for a certificate. 

Will I receive confirmation that my application was submitted?

Yes. The system will give you an automated confirmation as soon as you have submitted the application. 

Is there a way to check the status of my application?

You may access your application for graduation any time after submitting it for review. 

Should I meet with my advisor before I apply for graduation?

Yes. All students should check their degree audits often to be sure all requirements will be met on time for graduation for their requested semester (see chart above). Students should also consult with their advisors to be sure their degree audits indicate that all requirements have been/will be met and resolve any missing requirements or potential problems as soon as possible.

  • Undergraduate Students:  Any unmet requirements showing on the degree audit will need to be resolved before your degree can be awarded.
  • Graduate Students:  Any unmet requirements showing on the degree audit will need to be resolved before your degree can be awarded. If your degree audits shows that the unmet requirement is only Departmental Check-Off, please see your graduate program advisor. Some departments wish to make the final approval of the completion of the graduate program. If this requirement shows as unmet, your advisor will need to submit written approval to the Office of Registration and Records to update that requirement on the degree audit. Your degree cannot be awarded until your graduate department has notified Registration and Records that the Departmental Check-off has been approved. 

I have submitted my application for graduation but I need to submit substitutions from my advisor for missing requirements. What should I do?

Any waiver or substitution of requirements must be documented in writing from the appropriate department and submitted to the Office of Registration and Records to update the degree audit. Once submitted and processed, the degree audit will show the requirement as complete. 

What if I took courses at another institution to fulfill Brockport degree requirements?

One of the most common reasons degree awarding is delayed is when students do not submit final, official transcripts of courses completed at other colleges that are being used to complete Brockport requirements for graduation.

  • For undergraduate students: Official transcripts can be hand delivered or mailed in a sealed envelope to the Office of Undergraduate Admissions, 350 New Campus Drive, Brockport, NY, 14420.  The official transcript will be evaluated by the Office of Undergraduate Admissions and any applicable credit will be awarded.
  • For graduate students: Official transcripts can be hand delivered or mailed in a sealed envelope to the student's graduate department.  Any official transcripts received from other institutions to be evaluated by the said student’s graduate department for transfer credit approval.  Hard copies of transcripts are no longer being kept on file in the Office of Registration and Records.

Documents received are imaged and can be found online for the faculty advisor’s review. Faculty advisors should sign on to Web Banner and go to Faculty Services and then View Student Imaged Documents. If the document has been received and imaged, there will be an entry for it there. Once reviewed, please fill out and turn in a Graduate Transfer Credit Approval Form. The form should be submitted to the Office of Registration and Records for processing. 

How long will it take to review my application for graduation?

The Office of Registration and Records will review your application to ensure that all requirements are complete and appropriately met. Due to the volume of applications received and the detail required for each review, a timeframe is difficult to determine. However, our goal is to complete your graduation review as quickly as possible following receipt of your application. 

How will I know when my application has been reviewed?

All students will receive an email notification sent to their Brockport email address indicating the result of the review. Students should then refer to their degree audits and contact their advisors for information on how best to resolve any discrepancies noted in the email. 

Where can I go to see my remaining graduation requirements?

You will need to refer to your degree audit for specific requirements remaining to be met for graduation. 

I don’t look at my degree audit report because I don’t think it’s correct. Will this be the only way for me to see my academic progress towards graduation?

If your degree audit is incorrect, the most likely reason is that Registration and Records has not received the appropriate documentation from the department to update your missing requirements.

Documentation may be required through a substitution and waiver form, transfer credit equivalency or a final grade. It is the student’s responsibility to follow up on any unmet requirements with the appropriate department or your advisor so as not to delay the award of your degree. 

I received notification that I have not completed all my requirements for graduation. What should I do?

You’ll need to review your degree audit report that identifies the specific remaining requirements to be met and contact your advisor with any questions regarding how best to complete them. If you will not be graduating for the degree review period you requested, you will need to reapply for graduation for the semester in which you will have completed all requirements according to the deadline dates on the chart at the beginning of this site. 

How can I find out information regarding commencement ceremonies?

The Office of College Events coordinates the Commencement Ceremonies and Program. Visit the Commencement website (usually available in March) for more information. Inquiries can be directed to

When is the commencement fee charged to my account and how much is it? Can it be deferred?

The commencement fee is $40. Students may have the commencement fee deferred for one semester, but the fee will be reassessed for the following semester. If the commencement fee increases in the meantime, students will be required to pay the current fee. To have the fee deferred for one semester, students should email

  • For undergraduate students, the commencement fee is charged when 90 credit hours have been completed.
  • For graduate students, the commencement fee is charged when students are within 12 credit hours of program completion. 

How long will it take to receive my diploma?

Your degree will appear on your official transcript, which is the real proof of degree completion, once a final review is completed following the posting of final grades at the end of the semester. With the volume of final reviews required to approve degrees, this may take a few weeks. Once the final review is complete, you will have an opportunity to pick up your diploma for one week after it has been processed. Students will receive an email to their Brockport email address letting them know when their diploma is available. After the one week pick up period has ended, your diploma will be mailed out within 2 to 4 weeks to the address you provide on your application.

If you need to make other arrangements to receive your diploma, for an example an address change, you must request it specifically. Please notify the Office of Registration and Records at of any diploma address change.

Please Note: A change of address on the college records will not change your diploma address. If the diplomas address needs to be changed, you must request it specifically. Contact

Last Updated 10/25/18

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