Graduation & Degrees

Graduation and Commencement

Graduation refers to actually receiving a degree once a student has been certified by the University as having met all degree requirements. Upon certification, the degree is awarded and noted myPSU so that it displays on PSU transcripts.

Commencement is a ceremony. It is an opportunity for students, families, friends, and the PSU community to celebrate their academic accomplishments. Except for doctoral students (who must actually graduate to participate), the commencement ceremony is open to any student who has applied to graduate, notified the Commencement Office that they intend to participate, rented the required regalia, and shown up at the designated time on the day of the ceremony. Participation in commencement does not mean that a student has graduated and students do not receive diplomas on that day. Visit the commencement website for more details.

Steps to Graduation

  1. Meet with adviser
    Students may use the Degree Audit Reporting System (DARS) at any time to check their progress toward a degree and are encouraged to meet with their academic adviser to discuss the report and plot a course for clearing up any outstanding course work issues.
  2. Discuss your catalog year
    Students must meet all degree requirements from one PSU catalog. Students may select the requirements of the PSU catalog in effect during the year they first enrolled at PSU or any accredited, postsecondary institution, or any subsequent year. However, at the time of graduation all students, including transfer students, must use a catalog that is no more than seven years old.
  3. Plan to take your final classes
    Run another DARS report after registering for your final term to confirm that all requirements are in progress.
  4. Attend to any outstanding grade issues
    All course work should be completed and final grades recorded to ensure smooth processing of your degree application. If you have any "Incomplete" grades, please review the Incomplete Grades Policy.
  5. Begin transition to life after graduation
    If you need help beginning your job search or applying for graduate school, the University Career Center offers assistance with graduate school applications, resumes and cover letters, and networking and interviewing. They also coordinate career fairs and other events to connect students directly with employers. Plan to take advantage of these services and opportunities during your final terms at PSU, if you have not done so sooner.
  6. Submit Degree Application
    Any student seeking a degree from PSU must apply for the degree. Complete the online application for graduation.

    See Applying for a Degree for specific dates and further information.
  7. Register for Commencement*
    Registration for commencement is connected with submitting your application to graduate. When you submit the online application you will indicate if you want to participate at commencement and if you would like your name printed in the program when you submit your application to graduate. Visit the commencement website for all details related to the commencement ceremony.
  8. Order cap, gown, announcements, class ring*
    Visit the commencement website for all information related to the ceremony and ordering regalia (cap and gown), graduation announcements, and class rings.

*Students who do not wish to participate in commencement may skip these steps.