Frequently Asked Questions for Students
Please remember that commencement is different from the actual graduation process.
- COMMENCEMENT refers to the ceremony, officiated by the President of the University, which is an opportunity for the students to share the excitement and importance of their academic accomplishments with peers, family, and friends. It is also a time for the University, senior administration, faculty and staff to pay special tribute to students for the outstanding efforts they have shown in earning their degrees.
- GRADUATION is a four-step process consisting of submitting an application for degree, completing all academic requirements for your degree, updating your address, and settling all financial obligations.
IMPORTANT: Participation in the commencement ceremony is not a guarantee or an indication of degree completion. To officially graduate from NDSU, students must satisfy all university, college, and departmental requirements for the specific degree.
Your degree becomes official when it is posted to your transcript, not by your participation in commencement exercises. Your degree will be posted to your transcript once all requirements are complete. Your diploma will be mailed to your 'Home' address as listed in Campus Connection 4-6 weeks after the degree is posted (see the Updating Your Contact Information help page for information on updating your address). For more information on the graduation process, please contact the Office of Registration and Records.
For Undergraduate and Pharm.D. Students:
- Submit an online Application for Undergraduate Degree form to the Office of Registration and Records by the third week of the planned semester of graduation. (This application is NOT used for Commencement participation)
- An email with information about the commencement ceremony and participation sign-up is sent mid-semester to students who have declared their intent to graduate.
- If students plan to participate in the NDSU Commencement exercises at the end of their final semester, they must submit their Commencement Participation Information online (further instructions will be provided to students via email).
For Graduate Students:
- To participate in Commencement, submit a Graduate Student Commencement Application by October 31 for Winter Commencement and March 15 for Spring Commencement.
- A commencement reservation must be received by The Graduate School by the commencement participation deadline.
- No tickets or guest passes are required to attend the ceremony, all guests are welcome
- Map and directions to the Fargodome
- Parking at the Fargodome is free for NDSU's Commencement ceremony
- Guests may enter through any general entrance of the Fargodome (doors open 1 hour prior to the start of the ceremony)
- Guest seating is restricted to the concourse level and is available on a first-come, first-served basis
- Wheelchair seating is available in the northeast and northwest corners of the Fargodome
- The Participant Seating chart is available to assist guests in seat selection
- Gown and mortarboard cap are required academic apparel
- Available for purchase from the NDSU Bookstore
- Bookstore phone: (701) 231-7761 or 800-428-8309 or visit the NDSU Bookstore web site for more information
- Any ceremony participant needing special assistance and/or reasonable accommodations (wheelchair, physical disability, etc.) should contact Rhonda Kitch at firstname.lastname@example.org at least 2 weeks prior to the ceremony to make arrangements
- Sign language interpreters are on-stage and interpret throughout the ceremony
- Hearing assisted devices may be checked out at the Guest Services desk on the concourse of the Fargodome
- The Winter ceremony is expected to be approximately 1 - 1½ hours long.
- The Spring ceremony is expected to be approximately 2 - 2½ hours long.
- Complete the official Name Change Form and provide proper documentation as described at the top of the form. Return it to Ceres 110 as soon as possible.
- Diplomas are mailed 4-6 weeks following the close of the academic session in which graduation requirements have been completed. Your diploma will be mailed to your home address (the 'Home' address listed in Campus Connection). You can review or update this address through the Campus Connection Portal (select 'Student Center' in navigation menu). Degrees will be posted to academic transcripts approximately three weeks following the close of the semester.
- Graduation with honor applies only to the baccalaureate degree. Graduate and Professional-level coursework is not included in honor point calculations.
- Graduation with honor eligibility is determined in two steps:
- Step One: Earn a minimum NDSU (institutional) GPA of 3.50
- NDSU GPA's below 3.50 are not considered (and step two is not necessary)
- Step Two: Earn an overall (cumulative) GPA of 3.50 or greater, which includes:
- all credits and grades earned at NDSU
- the inclusion of all transfer work and all attempts of repeated coursework
- Candidates who achieve an overall GPA of 3.50 or higher according to the criteria listed above will graduate:
- Cum Laude — greater than or equal to 3.50 and less than 3.70
- Magna Cum Laude — greater than or equal to 3.70 and less than 3.90
- Summa Cum Laude — greater than or equal to 3.90 and up to 4.00
- The complete Graduation with Honor policy may be reviewed in the online Undergraduate Bulletin
- PLEASE BE AWARE grade-point averages are NOT rounded (for example, a GPA of 3.497 is not rounded to 3.5)
- PLEASE BE AWARE graduation with honor levels are subject to change once final grades are determined and posted to the official academic record
- Final Graduation with Honor notations are made on the official academic transcript and diploma once all grades have been finalized for the degree
- Recognition in the commencement program is based on coursework that is completed and graded at the time of the ceremony. Courses that are in progress and not yet accessible online (via Campus Connection) are not included.
- The honor level of candidates meeting "Graduation with Honor" criteria will not be announced during the ceremony.
- The "With Honor" medallion is worn around the neck. (Available for purchase from the NDSU Bookstore. Criteria for this honor are listed above.)
- The following are worn around the neck: Blue Key, Golden Key, Mortar Board, Pi Sigma Alpha, University Honors program, and Upsilon Pi Epsilon medallions; Beta Gamma Sigma, Gamma Sigma Delta, Lambda Beta Honor Society, Lambda Pi Eta, National Residence Hall Honorary, Phi Alpha Theta, Phi Eta Sigma, Phi Upsilon Omicron, Rho Chi, Sigma Tau Delta, and Sigma Theta Tau honor cords; Tau Beta Pi white satin collar; Pi Tau Sigma, Phi Kappa Phi, Psi Chi, and Tau Sigma Delta stoles. All are available from the respective student organization.
- Elementary Education graduates: Contact Valley City State University (VCSU) for honor awards. You may wear VCSU honors for the NDSU ceremony; however, they are not announced at the ceremony.
- Social Work graduates: Contact Minot State University (MiSU) for honor awards. You may wear MiSU honors for the NDSU ceremony; however, they are not announced at the ceremony.