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Graduation Eligibility & Checklist

Undergraduate Students

Checklist for Undergraduate Students

1

Review Your Degree Audit

  • 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

Complete and file Advisor Graduation Check

  • Verify that your advisor has completed and filed an Advisor Graduation check 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, “Advisor Graduation Check on File”.
  • If you do not, please request one as soon as possible
3

Apply for Graduation

  • Apply to graduate through CatPAWS (Student tab under Student Records).
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

Clear All Holds

  • 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.
6

Preparing for the Commencement Ceremony

  • Review the FAQ page for details of the ceremony.

Commencement Ceremony Eligibility

  • Students must have all graduation requirements in-progress during the intended semester 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 Committee on Academic Petitions.
    • 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 semester 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 semester, the Office of University Relations send the name of graduation candidates to their hometown newspaper (pulled from the graduation application) once the list is finalized by the Registrar’s Office. Printing the information is at the discretion of the hometown newspaper.

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 awards degrees based on the requirements listed on the degree audit and prints and mails diplomas accordingly (approximately 6-8 weeks after the official graduation date).

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 any exceptions needed by the student through the electronic degree audit exceptions tab to ensure that those exceptions are processed.

Advisors must meet with the student to complete an Advisor Graduation Check when a student completes 90 earned hours. The purpose of the check is to determine requirements left to complete in the last two semesters of the degree. 

Graduation Process for Undergraduate Students

  • Undergraduate students must submit an application to graduate through CatPAWS at least one semester 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 Advisor Graduation Check 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 semester, 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 semester 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 semester. Examples of ineligible students include but are not limited to those who fail classes in the last semester, 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 semester 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 120 or 124 minimum (depending on catalog) 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 semester. 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 semester 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 on file.

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 semester or earlier if required by your program.

3

Check record and pay graduation fee

During last semester of graduate study, check your Degree Audit to make sure records are complete. Pay one-time graduation fee to the Office of Student Account Services.

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 semester.

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

Preparing for the Commencement Ceremony

Review the FAQ page for details of the ceremony.

Commencement/Comprehensive Assessment Eligibility

  • Students are within six hours of completing their degree or enrolled in their final semester.
  • 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 semester 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.