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Graduation vs Commencement

What’s the Difference?

While you'll often hear the terms "graduation" and "commencement" used interchangeably, there are actually significant differences.

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.

Diplomas are mailed from the UTA Registrar approximately 6 weeks after the semester ends.

As of June 1, 2017, graduates may ONLY walk either the semester they finish their degree (fall semester for those finishing in summer) or the following long semester. For example:

    • If you finish in August 2018 or December 2018, you may either walk in December 2018 or May 2019
    • If you finish in May 2019, you may walk in May 2019 or December 2019. 

Graduates who finished their degrees in May 2017 or before are grandfathered in to a previous rule of no time restriction for walking.

This change is due to the fact that we have a limited amount of space and a growing class of graduates. We have to accommodate those finishing that semester first and then accommodate others as space allows.

Previous graduates will need to fill out the form HERE to register for participation in the ceremony.

Applying for graduation is a process whereby students nearing the completion of their degree requirements formally alert the University of their expectation to graduate.

If you are receiving a minor or a certificate in addition to your degree, please verify that this is showing on the screen when you apply to graduate.

You must apply to graduate through MyMav and pay $40 for covering the cost to process and mail your diploma to you. 

Please pay attention to deadlines at

Commencement is the formal ceremony held to publicly recognize and congratulate the degree candidates. Every May and December, the College of Engineering convenes a commencement ceremony for their graduates and their families and guests. Students must REGISTER to participate in the ceremony. At this ceremony, candidates cross the stage while their name is read and they receive a commemorative diploma holder, but not their actual diploma.