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Graduation and Conferral of Degrees

Applying to Graduate

Students are required to apply for graduation, for which there is no fee.

Before applying, it is the student’s responsibility to verify the accuracy of their 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 should apply to graduate at the same time they register for the courses of their final intended term, no earlier. In addition, students must apply by the deadline published in the Academic Calendar

Academic advisors will review the academic progression of students that applied to graduate throughout the term they applied. If the advisor determines the student’s degree requirements can be satisfied by the end of the term for which they applied, the advisor marks the student eligible for commencement within the application, permitting the student to participate in commencement and acquire regalia. If not, the advisor alerts the Office of the University Registrar, which moves the application to another term or deletes it based on the advisor’s recommendation.


Formal commencement ceremonies are held in May and December. 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 a degree before all requirements have been met and certified.

Students wishing to participate in a ceremony other than the one that corresponds with their planned graduation date must work with their advisor to fill out a walk exception form, which must be approved by the student’s academic advisor and the dean (or their designee) of their school before participating in commencement. In reviewing requests, advisors and deans (or their designees) are bound by the University Policy on Student Participation in Commencement Ceremonies.

Conferral of Degrees

Only students who successfully complete degree requirements by the end of the term for which they have applied to graduate are certified for conferral of a degree. In witness of the degree conferred, the permanent records of the graduates are appropriately noted with a statement of graduation. Posting of degrees to the student record is an ongoing process that begins the week after the graduation date and over the next two months as advisors and the Office of the Registrar review all degree audits to ensure completeness and compliance with all university regulations. Diplomas are ordered throughout that time as degrees are posted and can be expected to arrive between one and a half and three months after the graduation date. Diplomas will not be ordered for graduates with stops on their accounts, and they must contact to have their diploma ordered once they have worked with the appropriate office to resolve the issue.

Students should work with their advisors throughout this process to ensure timely fulfillment of all requirements. The graduation applications of those who fail to complete all work required for their degree by the applied-for graduation date either are moved to another semester or deleted by the Office of the Registrar based on the recommendations of the student’s advisor.



Degree Notations and Certifications

Transcript Degree Notations

Once the degree has been posted to the record, it will appear on official transcripts. For proof of graduations, Alumni are encouraged to order an official transcript from Parchment, the official AU transcript provider. Students may also seek certification of enrollment and degrees from the National Student Clearinghouse (NSC).

Certified Electronic Diplomas

Beginning with graduates in Spring 2016, all American University graduates will receive a Certified Electronic Diploma (CeDiploma) in addition to the physical diploma that will be mailed to the student. Students will receive instructions on how to download their CeDiploma from the diploma company in the same email that confirms the shipping of their original paper diploma. Once downloaded, the CeDiploma can be sent to any desired third-party, and verified by entering the CeDID on our verification page.

Replacement Paper Diploma Orders

Students in need of a copy or replacement of their original diploma can fill out the Request for Replacement Diploma form on the Registrar’s List of Forms and submit it with the fee to the Office of the University Registrar (cash will not be accepted) by mail or in-person. Replacement diplomas reflect the current diploma format (11x14) and display the signature of the current President and Chairman of the Board.

Posthumous Degrees

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.