Commencement Policy

Below is information on the NDNU policy toward graduation and commencement day. For specific information on graduation activities, schedule of events and directions, please visit the NDNU Commencement page.

Eligibility to participate in the Commencement Ceremony

How will I know if I have met all my graduation requirements?

The first step toward Commencement is to submit your Graduation Application. Students who have finished all their degree requirements in the previous Summer session or Fall semester or are finishing in the current Spring semester may take part in graduation ceremonies.  

What if I won't finish my graduation requirements by the end of the Spring term?

If you will not have completed all graduation requirements by the end of the Spring term prior to Commencement, you may still participate in Commencement if you are within the required limit for outstanding units:

Bachelor's Students: Students who have six (6) or fewer outstanding units to complete at the end of Spring semester may participate in the Commencement Ceremony.

Master's Students: Students who have 3 or fewer units remaining to complete their program may participate in the Commencement Ceremony.

Credential Students: Students pursuing a credential may petition to participate in Commencement if they have six (6) or fewer units in statutory requirement classes remaining to complete their program.

Which units are considered to be outstanding?

For purposes of eligibility to participate in Commencement:

- Spring courses in progress at NDNU are not considered to be outstanding units. They are treated as if they will be completed.

- Incomplete grades, credit by examination not yet completed and transcripted (e.g. challenges, CLEP exam results), and in progress or completed transfer units for which transcripts have not yet been submitted are considered to be outstanding.

Students who walk in the May ceremony without completing all of their requirements do so with the understanding that degrees will only be posted at the end of the semester in which all requirements are met.Outstanding degree requirements must be completed by the end of the Fall semester following the student's participation in the Commencement ceremony.

When will I receive my Diploma?

Diplomas are generally received 6 weeks after the commencement ceremony. International addresses may need additional time. If you have requested to pick up the diploma, you will receive a call from the Office of the Registrar when the diploma is ready. Otherwise your diploma will be sent to the address submitted with your Graduation Application. If your address changes, please notify the Office of the Registrar directly.

What date will appear on my diploma?

The graduation date posted on the transcript and on the diploma coincides with the last month of the semester in which all graduation requirements are met: December (Fall term), May (Spring Term), and August (Summer Term).

How are undergraduate academic honors awarded?

For the purpose of the Commencement Ceremony and the commencement program, eligibility for recognition of all honors is based on GPA at the end of the fall semester and projected satisfaction of the minimum of 46 upper-division units at NDNU based on work completed through fall and work in progress in spring semester.

After a student has completed all graduation requirements, the GPA is reevaluated, to determine which students have honors that have been confirmed and will now appear on the NDNU diploma. In this case, academic honors are earned based on the cumulative NDNU grade point average through the semester in which all degree requirements are fulfilled. To be eligible for academic honors, students must have satisfied a minimum of 46 units at NDNU.

Cum Laude (with honors)3.50 - 3.64
Magna Cum Laude (with high honors)3.65 - 3.79
Summa Cum Laude (with highest honors)3.80 - 4.00

May graduate level students earn academic honors?

Academic honors are not awarded at the graduate level. However, graduate and undergraduate students both may be eligible for School and department awards, may participate in honor societies, and be a commencement speaker.

How are the Commencement Speakers chosen?

In the spring of each year, students who are eligible to be a commencement speaker based on GPA, will be contacted by the Commencement Team and invited to apply. A representative of each graduating class is selected to address the graduating students at Commencement. Selection is made by a committee that comprises faculty, staff, and students.

Undergraduate Level. The criteria for eligibility are: a minimum GPA at NDNU of 3.7, a minimum of 46 upper-division units earned at Notre Dame de Namur University (at the time of completion), and outstanding writing and speaking skills.

Graduate Level. The criterial for eligibility are: a minimum GPA in all university work attempted (at Notre Dame de Namur University and other institutions) of 3.9; a maximum of six transfer credits from other institutions; Expected completion of all work before the graduation ceremonies; and outstanding writing and speaking skills.

How can I learn more about the Commencement Ceremony, such as caps, gowns, tickets, schedules, parking, etc.?

You can find full information on the Commencement webpage. When your name is added to the Commencement List, this notifies the Commencement team that you are eligible, and should begin receiving information on graduation activities, caps, and gowns, tickets, parking and so on. The first Commencement Information is typically sent out in January or February.

Once I am on the Commencement list, what happens if my eligibility changes?

You may be added or taken off the list prior to Commencement if your eligibility changes. Please see the requirements for eligibility, above.

Is there a difference between walking in the ceremony and graduating?

Yes, there is an important difference. Graduation means completion of all requirements. The Office of the Registrar does not receive the final grades until the week after the Commencement Ceremony. At that time, we are able to update the remaining requirements and then post the degree if the student has completed all the requirements. Once the degree has been posted, it will appear on the transcript along with the date that the degree was conferred. For students participating in the Commencement Ceremony within the allowed number of outstanding units, the degree will be posted once we have received all final grades and transcripts.