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Earning a degree from The University of Texas at Arlington is an honor and an accomplishment. While you'll often hear the terms "graduation" and "commencement" used interchangeably, there are actually significant differences.
Applying for graduation is a process whereby students nearing the completion of their degree requirements formally alert the University of their expectation to graduate.
Graduation, or the act of earning a degree, refers to the successful completion of all credit hours and other degree requirements (such as practicum hours) in a particular academic program. Every May, August, and December, each School and College may confer academic degrees. Students are considered degree candidates or candidates for graduation until final grades are submitted, fees paid, and other University obligations satisfied. Students are still considered a degree candidate at the time of their commencement ceremony, because final grades are typically not posted by that time.
Commencement is the formal ceremony held to publicly recognize and congratulate the degree candidates. Every May and December, each School and College convenes their own commencement ceremony and reception for their graduates and their families and guests. While commencement ceremonies are held over several days, the Saturday date of each commencement weekend is always the official graduation date for that term and will be the date of graduation listed on all diplomas.