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Northwest Missouri State University


Graduation Eligibility & Checklist

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Undergraduate Students

Checklist for Undergraduate Students

1

  • Verify degree requirements by reviewing your degree audit carefully to verify that all degree requirements will be met.
  • Contact your academic advisor or the Office of the Registrar if you have any questions regarding your degree requirements.

 

2

  • Verify that your advisor has completed and filed an Advisor Graduation check (formerly senior statement) for the program in which you plan to earn a degree.
  • This item appears in the degree box on the degree audit.
  • You should have a checkmark that states, “Senior Statement on File”.
  • If you do not, please request one as soon as possible

 

3

  • Apply to graduate through CatPAWS (Student tab under Student Records) or myNorthwest (Graduation channel).

 

4

  • Clear all HOLDS such as overdue library books and fines, outstanding financial obligations to the university, etc.
  • While a HOLD will not prevent participation in the commencement ceremony or awarding of the degree, it will prevent the release of the diploma and/or transcript.

 

5

 

Commencement Ceremony Eligibility

  • Students must have all graduation requirements in-progress during the intended trimester of graduation (includes transfer work from other institutions) to be eligible to participate in the commencement ceremony.
  • Students completing degree requirements in Summer have the option to participate in the preceding Spring or following Fall ceremonies. Those who will complete requirements in the summer, but wish to walk in the preceding spring commencement ceremony, must apply for summer graduation by March 15. Those who complete requirements in summer, but wish to walk the following fall must contact the Registrar’s Office by October 15.
  • Undergraduate students who meet the criteria and wish to participate in an early or late commencement ceremony must petition the Admissions and Advanced Standing Committee.
    • Students given permission to participate in an early or late commencement ceremony will not have their name included in the printed commencement program nor will they officially graduate until the conclusion of the trimester in which all graduation requirements have been completed.
    • Students given permission to participate in an early commencement ceremony are not eligible to be recognized for scholastic honors during the commencement ceremony.

News Release of Graduation Candidates

Each trimester, the Office of University Relations send the name of graduation candidates to their hometown newspaper once the list is verified by the Registrar’s Office.

Graduation Information for Advisors and Students

Office of the Registrar's Role in Graduation

The Office of the Registrar maintains the accuracy of the degree audit system, making sure degree and program requirements are correct and match the catalog. The office reviews and processes Applications to Graduate for undergraduate students, notifying students and advisors if there are issues, or approving the candidates to be added to the graduation list. Once grades are posted, the Office of the Registrar grants degrees based on the requirements listed on the degree audit and prints and mails diplomas accordingly.

Advisors' Role in Graduation

Advisors should review students’ degree audits and help plan a path to graduation. An advisor should look at a student’s degree audit to make sure the student is not missing any requirements for graduation. Advisors should submit information to complete any exceptions needed by the student and ensure that those exceptions are processed. An electronic fillable exception form is available through myNorthwest.

Graduation Process for Undergraduate Students

  • Undergraduate students must submit an application to graduate through CatPAWS or myNorthwest at least one trimester preceding the term in which graduation is planned.
  • It is the responsibility of the student to review the degree audit prior to the application and seek assistance from their academic advisor if they are unsure of graduation eligibility, or if they do not understand how to resolve a deficiency in their degree audit.
  • When an undergraduate student applies to graduate the following steps occur:
    • During the term preceding the one in which graduation is planned: The Registrar’s Office checks the student record to see if the student has a senior statement on file. If one does not exist, it is sent out to the advisor as soon as possible to expedite the process, however approval to be added to the graduation list may be delayed as a result.
    • During the term in which graduation is planned: The Registrar’s Office reviews the student record after the first week of classes (last date to add/drop). If the degree audit is not completed with in-progress courses, the student is notified and the advisor is copied on the message.
  • Once final grades are posted at the end of the trimester, students should complete the following steps:
    • Review the degree audit to ensure the audit shows all completed (checkmarks).
    • Ensure all cashiering holds have been cleared (these display on the audit). A hold does not prevent participation in the commencement ceremony, but will prevent the release of the diploma and transcript.
    • An email is sent toward the end of the trimester reminding students to be sure the diploma mailing address is accurate (and to contact the Registrar’s Office if it needs to be changed) and to check to see if there are holds that will prevent the release of the diploma and transcript.
    • NOTE: a graduation hold is placed on each pending graduate’s record to ensure transcripts do not go out until the degree has been awarded.
  • The final graduation clearance review takes place after grades are posted. This happens the week following the posting of final grades. Each student’s degree audit and transcript are checked to see if all requirements are met. If all requirements are met, the degree and honors are posted, and the graduation hold removed.
    • Students who are ineligible for graduation receive emails notifying them that they have been removed from the graduation list, and must re-apply for a future trimester. Examples of ineligible students include but are not limited to those who fail classes in the last trimester, did not meet GPA requirements, and/or have various other issues preventing them from graduation.
    • Students who have pending issues (e.g. transfer work, incomplete grades) receive emails notifying them of the deadline to resolve the issue and still be awarded a degree for the intended trimester of graduation.

Most Common Reasons for Graduation Deficiencies for Undergraduate Students

  • Failure to have exceptions processed.
  • Failure to meet the 40 hours of upper division (300 level or higher) undergraduate coursework. Important to note that substituting a lower division course to satisfy an upper division requirement does not mean that the lower division course counts toward meeting the 40 hour requirement.
  • Failure to meet the 124 minimum undergraduate credit hour requirement.
  • Failure to take into account enrollment in activity courses which do not count as academic credit
  • Failure to take into account the effect of repeated courses as repeat codes are added to the academic record once final grades are posted at the end of the trimester. Make sure to deduct any repeated courses from the minimum credit hour counts as the audit will not deduct them until the repeat codes are applied during end of trimester processing once final grades are posted.
  • Failure to inform the Registrar’s Office of adding or dropping a second major and/or minor.
  • Failure to have the required Advisor Graduation check (formerly senior statement) on file.

Frequently Asked Questions

What's the difference between "COMMENCEMENT" and "GRADUATION?"

Commencement is the actual ceremony in which degrees or diplomas are conferred on graduating students. Commencement is not a certification of graduation, but rather a ceremony that celebrates your academic achievements.

Graduation is having earned eligibility to receive an academic degree or diploma. You must satisfy all of your degree requirements before you officially graduate and receive your diploma.


What information appears on the student’s diploma?

The student’s name, degree earned, major(s) and scholastic honors appear on the diploma. Minors do not appear on the diploma, but are on the transcript. Students earning two majors of the same degree type receive one diploma.


If a student cannot attend a Commencement ceremony, do they need to notify anyone?

No. Students are not required to RSVP for commencement. The student’s name will only be read during the ceremony if they are present. Students who do not attend commencement can pick up a diploma cover from the Office of the Registrar during finals week.


When and how are scholastic honors figured?

Scholastic Honors for the ceremony are figured based on the student’s Northwest and Cumulative GPA and hours the trimester prior to graduation. Only first degrees are eligible for honors and class rank. Graduating seniors who have grade point averages (Northwest and Cumulative) in their first academic degree will be graduated according to the following:

GPA Scholastic Honors
3.50 – 3.74 Cum Laude
3.75-3.94 Magna Cum Laude
3.95-4.0 Summa Cum Laude

When are official graduation numbers available?

Official numbers are available 30 days following the commencement ceremony.


Where can a student find their major GPA after graduation?

Major GPA’s are available on the degree audit post-graduation. For those students who continue on to graduate school at Northwest, a “What-If” degree audit for the student’s graduation major and catalog year can be run to find the major GPA.


Do I need to pay the graduation fee, even if I am not participating in the ceremony?

Yes. Anyone graduating from the University is required to pay the graduation fee.

The graduation fee assists with everything related to graduation and the Commencement ceremony. These costs include but are not limited to:

  • degree conferral on transcripts
  • diploma printing and mailing costs
  • cap and gown rental
  • overhead/man hours/and other expenses related to the Commencement ceremony
  • degree audits and the final graduation audit
  • correspondence with degree candidates related to Commencement and graduation
  • financial aid exit counseling communication and processing
  • commencement program printing
  • etc.

Graduate Students

Checklist for Graduate Students

1

Sign up for Comprehensive Assessment with your advisor or department

  • The ability to complete your Comprehensive Assessment/Portfolio is determined with your advisor but in some programs, this requirement can be completed prior to your graduation term.

 

2

Apply for completion of your degree

  • CatPAWS (Student tab under Student Records) or myNorthwest (Graduation channel). This application should be completed within the first month of your final trimester or earlier if required by your program.

 

3

Check record and pay graduation fee

  • During last trimester of graduate study, check your Degree Audit to make sure records are complete. Pay one-time graduation fee to the Cashiering Office.

 

4

Order your cap and gown, announcements and invitations

  • Prior to commencement, students who have applied to graduate will receive a schedule of commencement activities from University Relations Office. Included, will be the form and instructions for ordering cap, gown, and hood, if attending commencement exercises. Students interested in graduation announcements should contact the Bookstore.
  • International students who would like to invite their parents to participate in commencement should contact the International Affairs Office for those invitations.

 

5

Complete Research component

  • Research Component /Field Study Form can be found online under myNorthwest on the Graduate School tab and is due in the Graduate Office by the last day of the trimester.

Or

  • Thesis or Scholarly Paper information and guidelines can be found online under myNorthwest on the Graduate School tab is due three weeks prior to the end of each term.

 

6

Review the Commencement Ceremony page for details of the ceremony.

 

 

Commencement/Comprehensive Assessment Eligibility

  • Students are within six hours of completing their degree or enrolled in their final trimester.
  • Students must be admitted to candidacy and have a minimum GPA of 3.0 in graduate coursework or 3.25 in specialist coursework
  • Students completing degree requirements in Summer have the option to participate in the preceding Spring or following Fall ceremonies. Those who will complete requirements in the summer, but wish to walk in the preceding spring commencement ceremony, must apply for summer graduation by March 15. Those who complete requirements in summer, but wish to walk the following fall must contact the Registrar’s Office by October 15.
  • Graduate students who meet the criteria and wish to participate in an early or late commencement will not have their name included in the printed commencement program nor will they officially graduate until the conclusion of the trimester in which all graduation requirements have been completed.

Graduation Information for Advisors and Students

  • The Graduate Office maintains the accuracy of the degree audit system, making sure degree and program requirements are correct and match the catalog. The office reviews and processes Applications to Graduate for graduate students, notifying students and advisors if there are issues, or approving the candidates to be added to the graduation list. Once grades are posted, the Office of the Registrar grants degrees based on the requirements listed on the degree audit and mails diplomas accordingly.
  • Advisors should review student degree audits and help plan a path to graduation. An advisor should look at a student’s degree audit to make sure the student is not missing any requirements for graduation. Advisors should submit information to complete any exceptions needed by the student and ensure that those exceptions are processed.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between "COMMENCEMENT" and "GRADUATION?"

Commencement is the actual ceremony in which degrees or diplomas ae conferred on graduating students. Commencement is not a certification of graduation, but rather a ceremony that celebrates your academic achievements.

Graduation is having earned eligibility to receive an academic degree or diploma. You must satisfy all of your degree requirements before you officially graduate and receive your diploma.


What information appears on the student’s diploma?

The student’s name, degree earned, major.


If a student cannot attend a Commencement ceremony, do they need to notify anyone?

No. Students are not required to RSVP for commencement. The student’s name will only be read during the ceremony if they are present. Students who do not attend commencement can pick up a diploma cover from the Office of the Registrar during finals week.


Do I need to pay the graduation fee, even if I am not participating in the ceremony?

Yes. Anyone graduating from the University is required to pay the graduation fee.

The graduation fee assists with everything related to graduation and the Commencement ceremony. These costs include but are not limited to:

  • degree conferral on transcripts
  • diploma printing and mailing costs
  • cap and gown rental
  • overhead/man hours/and other expenses related to the Commencement ceremony
  • degree audits and the final graduation audit
  • correspondence with degree candidates related to Commencement and graduation
  • financial aid exit counseling communication and processing
  • commencement program printing
  • etc.

International students who would like to invite their family to commencement ceremony?

Request this invitation through the Office of International Affairs by submitting information online. See F-2 Dependents; Inviting Other Non-Dependent Relatives and Friends to Visit the U.S.