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Graduation and Commencement

About This Policy

Policy Owner
Enrollment Management
Responsible Office
Office of the Registrar
Policy Contact

There is a notable distinction between graduation and commencement.

It is imperative for all students to formally notify the Office of the Registrar regarding their intention to fulfill the degree and program requirements by submitting an application for graduation.

  1. Graduation: Graduation entails the completion and fulfillment of all requisite degree or program criteria by the culmination of the last academic term, encompassing grades, examinations, and defenses. Graduation is the conferral of degrees and program completion certificates, which takes place three times during the academic year (in January, May, and August) and results in the issuance of a diploma or certificate of accomplishment.It is obligatory for all undergraduate and graduate degree-seeking candidates to inform the Office of the Registrar of their intent to graduate by adhering to the stipulated deadline and remitting a one-time non-refundable University fee, regardless of their intention to attend the commencement ceremony.Montclair State University will host winter and spring commencement ceremonies for degree graduates of the university.
  2. Commencement: Commencement ceremonies are formal occasions for undergraduate and graduate degree candidates, signifying the culmination of an academic journey and acknowledging the achievements of graduates. These ceremonies provide an opportunity for graduates, along with their family, friends, and the Montclair State University community to celebrate their accomplishments.

Commencement Eligibility

The Office of the Registrar will furnish a list of eligible graduates and candidates who are on track to successfully fulfill degree requirements to the commencement team. In order to register for the commencement ceremony and receive pertinent communications, degree candidates must have previously applied for graduation by the prescribed commencement registration deadline. It is important to note that the commencement deadline may differ from the graduation application deadline set by the Office of the Registrar. These deadlines are strictly enforced and are published on our website.

A. Winter Commencement

Recent August graduates and current fall and winter candidates for graduation who are on track to satisfactorily complete their undergraduate and graduate degree requirements may participate in the winter commencement ceremony. For instance, graduates from August 2023 and candidates for December 2023 and January 2024 who are anticipated to fulfill all degree requirements by the conclusion of the winter 2024 term will be eligible to take part in the winter 2024 commencement exercise.

B. Spring Commencement:

Undergraduate and graduate degree-seeking candidates who are progressing toward the successful completion of their degree requirements by the conclusion of the spring semester/term may participate in the spring 2024 commencement ceremony. For instance, all candidates for May 2024 who are expected to complete their undergraduate or graduate degree requirements by the conclusion of the spring 2024 term will be eligible to partake in the spring 2024 commencement exercise.

Commencement Participation

Undergraduate and Graduate degree-seeking students will receive an invitation to walk in the commencement ceremony which aligns with the aforementioned eligibility criteria. Students who are invited to walk in a ceremony do not have the option to choose which commencement ceremony to attend and are not eligible to attend other ceremonies.

The rare exception is for international students seeking to attend an earlier ceremony due to compelling circumstances necessitating their return to their international residence. The case must be submitted in writing and will be presented to the Vice President of Enrollment Management for review. It is required to provide supporting documentation along with the approval of the Office of Global Engagement. Moreover, such students must already be enrolled in their final course requirements.

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