Commencement is an exciting time on every university campus. At South Alabama, it acknowledges our students' academic achievements and reaffirms the continuing vitality of the campus. The granting of baccalaureate and graduate degrees is celebrated through long-standing traditions, as well as reflections on the opportunities ahead.
This website provides important details and information regarding graduation and the activities scheduled for Commencement Weekend, May 7th-9th. If you have questions after reading this material, please contact the College of Engineering Dean's Office at 251-460-6140.
Upcoming Commencement Weekend Dates
The leadership of the University understands that the cancelation of our May commencement ceremonies is very disappointing to our graduating students, and the decision was not made lightly. All options are being considered, and more information will be sent to graduating students as soon as it is available.
Spring 2020 - May 7-9, 2020 - Cancelled March 2020
For graduating seniors interested in participating in a virtual Order of the Engineer Ceremony, please read the memo linked "Virtual Order of the Engineer Ceremony."
USA has commencement ceremonies in Spring and Fall semesters. Summer candidates participate in the Spring commencement ceremony with the exception of doctoral candidates. Summer Doctoral candidates will have their degrees conferred at the Fall commencement ceremony. Participation in the exercises does not mean that degree requirements have been completed or that academic honors have been awarded.
What is Commencement Weekend?
The university-wide Commencement Ceremony is the official University of South Alabama academic ceremony at which the President confers degrees. Bachelor and Master students will stand en mass to have degrees conferred. Only Doctoral students will cross stage to receive their diploma.
The College of Engineering Commencement Ceremony is where undergraduate and graduate students are individually recognized, which is not possible at the larger university-wide Commencement Ceremony. All graduating students are required to wear graduation regalia at the College Ceremony. All Bachelor and Master students will receive their diploma covers and Doctoral students will be hooded.
How does the university ceremony differ from college ceremony?
The main difference between the university ceremony and the college ceremony is that degrees are conferred at the university ceremony and students are not recognized individually. Doctoral students will cross stage and receive their diploma at the university ceremony. The college ceremony is hosted by the Dean of the College of Engineering and all students are individually recognized.
How long is the convocation ceremony? The length of the ceremony is approximately one hour. A reception will be held immediately following the ceremony.
All participants must wear academic regalia ordered online through Graduate Supply House. Undergraduate and Master's regalia is a keep-sake and do not have to be returned. Doctoral students regalia is rental only.
Students who have not purchased regalia, will not be allowed to participate.
Any regalia purchases should require 6-8 weeks for processing as these orders are custom made.
- Online regalia ordering opens – Friday, March 6, 2020
- Online regalia ordering deadline – Friday, April 10, 2020
- Regalia Distribution – Tuesday, April 28 and Wednesday, April 29, 9am-6pm in the Bookstore
Regalia will also be available the day of commencement in the HKS building Room 1125
Attire: Business casual attire is recommended. The event will be a combination of standing and sitting, so make sure you're dressed comfortably enough for both. If you're wearing pants, consider dark pants and shoes. Wear shoes that are comfortable. Secure your wallet or purse inside your vehicle or with your guests.
Tassels are worn on the right side of the mortarboard (cap) before the degree is conferred. You may need to bring bobby pins and/or safety pins with you to the ceremony.
Graduate or professional level students. The major professor for each Ph.D. candidate carries their candidate's hood in the processional and will hood the student during the ceremony.
Ceremony Etiquette: Smoking and drinking of alcoholic beverages are prohibited. Valuables should not be brought into the building. Please arrange to leave purses, cameras and other personal items with family or friends. All cell phones must be turned off during the ceremony. It is important that each candidate receive recognition so be mindful that excessive and prolonged cheering and applause can drown out the name and the moment for the next candidate. Please be considerate.
Tentative honors, based on the student's academic record through the end of the last term completed, will appear in the printed commencement program. Final official honors will be computed after all grades are processed at the end of the term for the last term of attendance, and will appear on the student's diploma and transcript.
Undergraduate students who have at least 60 GPA hours in residence with a grade point average of 3.50 or better at the University of South Alabama are graduated with distinction. Transfer credit hours are not included in the determination of academic honors. Academic honors are not awarded for graduate degrees or professional degrees.
Cum Laude 3.50 - 3.69
Magna Cum Laude 3.70 - 3.89
Summa Cum Laude 3.90 - 4.00
Academic honor cords will be available for pick up in the Dean's Office the week before graduation.
Cords and stoles from various student organizations may be worn during the commencement ceremony. Students must contact their organization for availability and pick up information. Tau Beta Pi stoles can be rented or purchased in the Dean's Office.
Degree candidates who require accommodations (i.e., mobility impaired, visually impaired, etc.) for the ceremony must contact the College of Engineering Dean's Office two weeks prior to ceremony. Handicapped parking will be limited but available.
The undergraduate and graduate diplomas are 11” (wide) by 8 ½” (high). Doctoral candidate’s diplomas are 15” (wide) by 12” (high).
Diplomas will be mailed to the diploma mailing address listed on your graduation application. If corrections are needed, you must complete and return the Diploma Mailing Address Change Form to the Registrar's Office by the posted deadline. After the deadline, you must contact the Registrar's Office (251)460-6251 or firstname.lastname@example.org) to make any changes. Changing your mailing address on PAWS does not update your diploma mailing address. Your diploma will not be sent if you have any outstanding financial obligations to the University. You can check your PAWS account for any holds. Once the holds are cleared, contact the Registrar's Office and your diploma will be sent. Diplomas will be mailed approximately 2-4 weeks after the commencement ceremony. Diplomas are shipped by the United States Postal Service and tracking of the package is not available. The diploma mailer may not fit into your mail box so the USPS may leave a slip in the box and the student will have to go to the local post office location to pick up the diploma. Please be aware that the post office may not deliver a student’s diploma if their name is not listed on the lease in an apartment complex.
Duplicate or Replacement Diplomas
To order a duplicate diploma complete and return the Reissued Diplomas Form to the Registrar's Office (University of South Alabama, Registrar's Office, 390 Alumni Circle, Suite 1100, Meisler Hall, Mobile, AL 36688). Please include the $25.00 processing fee.
To replace a damaged diploma complete and return the Reissued Diplomas Form to the Registrar's Office (University of South Alabama, Registrar's Office, 390 Alumni Circle, Suite 1100, Meisler Hall, Mobile, AL 36688). Please include the $25.00 processing fee. The original diploma must also be returned.
Diploma frames are available for purchase on the USA Bookstore's website.
Michael Dumas, MDIA, will be at the ceremony taking pictures as students cross stage and at the reception. An additional photographer will be available for cap and gown pictures following the ceremony. Location TBA.
May 2020 Ceremony - Pictures coming soon.