Graduation vs. Commencement

Graduation is an exciting time in college. You’ve survived all your classes and now it’s time to celebrate. But before you walk onstage in your cap and gown, there’s a few things you need to do. First, you need to understand the difference between commencement and graduation:

  • Graduation – Fulfillment of academic requirements and the award of a degree and diploma
  • Commencement – A ceremony where graduates walk dressed in academic regalia (cap and gown) to be congratulated by the university’s leadership and faculty

Commencement is just the celebration. It doesn't mean you've officially graduated. Only the Office of the Registrar can confirm your graduation status and issue your diploma. Visit their site for more info on graduation and meet with your advisor to figure out if you are eligible for graduation to make sure you get that diploma.

If you've already been confirmed to graduate, congratulations! This means you can participate in commencement and get recognition for all your hard work. Take the next steps to commencement by starting the Graduate Checklist.

Apply for Graduation

There are 4 steps to take to prepare yourself to graduate:

  1. Complete all academic requirements for your program. That means taking all your core classes, electives and degree specific courses. To check if you have completed your requirements, find your Panther Degree Audit (PDA) on MyFIU
  2. Fully pay off all dues to the university. This includes tuition, parking tickets, registration fees and any other outstanding payments
  3. Talk with your advisor. He or she will best be able to guide you through the process to be sure you are ready
  4. Apply for graduation. You’ll need to apply before the graduation deadline to walk in the upcoming commencement. To apply, log into MyFIU, click Campus Solution Self Service > Degree Progress/Graduation > Apply for Graduation and then follow the on-screen instructions

Check for deadlines in the Academic Calendar. If you're having trouble, learn more about applying for graduation from the Office of the Registrar.

What If I’m Not Ready?

If you haven’t completed all the steps to graduate in time, you’re not allowed to walk in commencement. No one is allowed to walk early, however, students can walk late. The conditions for graduates walking late are:

  • If you didn’t or weren’t able to apply for graduation by that semester's deadline, but have completed all other steps
  • If you officially graduated, but didn't walk, within two semesters of the upcoming commencement

If you meet these requirements, you may walk in a later commencement ceremony. Register for graduation on MyFIU as you would normally and then follow the Graduate Checklist.