Commencement: Graduating Students

Graduate shaking hands on stage at graduation ceremony.

Degree Completion/Graduation

Please make sure you receive your final degree audit or check sheet from your College Advisor. You may also view your degree audit by selecting the link below.

Degree Works


Join us during the commencement ceremony as we celebrate and recognize the academic achievements of our graduates!

▼   Ceremony Attendance

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.

To determine which ceremony to attend and view a seating map, visit Commencement Ceremony Layout.

▼   Caps, Gowns, Hoods and Announcements

Our regalia vendor, Graduate Supply House, is working with our campus bookstore to mail regalia to graduates who have purchased, or want to purchase it. They also will issue refunds to those who have ordered regalia but would prefer a refund.

Online Regalia Orders Open TBD
Online Regalia Orders Close TBD
Regalia Distribution


Late Regalia Orders Close


Late Regalia Distribution TBD

Any regalia purchases should require 6-8 weeks for processing as these orders are custom made.

If you ordered announcements from Herff Jones and have questions regarding your order, please contact the Herff Jones customer service center at 1-800-837-4235.  

▼   Commencement Day Instructions for Candidates
  1. Give your valuables (purse, cell phone, etc.) to family or friends or secure them in your car.
  2. Enter the HKS West Gym one (1) hour before the Commencement Ceremony
  3. DOCTORAL STUDENTS: Do not lose your reader card. It must be presented to the reader on stage. Doctoral students with names that might be difficult to pronounce should see the reader located behind the reader card tables.
  4. Doctoral students will line up by group number. Your group number will be listed on the front of your reader card and the group numbers are posted in numerical order across the front of the gym. After finding the correct group number, please get in line by your lineup #. Baccalaureate, specialist, and master's students will line up by college. At the designated time the student marshals will begin ensuring the correct line up order.
  5. At the appropriate time, student marshals will lead the student processional from the gym to the Mitchell Center.
  6. Inside the Mitchell Center you will be directed to your seat by the student marshals and Registrar's Office staff.
  7. Marshals will direct doctoral students to the stage at the appropriate time. Doctoral students must bring their reader card to the stage. If you forget or lose your card do not panic. Stop at the card table at the bottom of the ramp and a Registrar's Office staff member will give you a duplicate card.
  8. Doctoral students will go up the ramp then hand the reader card to the reader's assistant. When your name is called, proceed across the stage. You will shake your Dean's hand then continue across the stage to shake the President's hand. You will exit the stage and receive your diploma cover.
  9. Follow the marshals instructions and return to your seat.
  10. After processing out of the Mitchell Center, doctoral students will return regalia to HKS 1125 and have your name checked off by the Bookstore representative. Baccalaureate, specialist, and master's students may keep their regalia.
▼   Special Instructions for Doctoral Candidates

College and School ceremonies
The major professor and the doctoral candidate should report to the student lineup at the appropriate time. The major professors will follow their students into the Mitchell Center arena. The professors will carry their candidate’s hood. As the doctoral candidate processes to the stage, their major professor will follow. Both the student and their professor will move halfway between the podium and the Dean of the Graduate School at which time the professor hoods the graduate. The student, followed by the major professor, will move forward and shake hands with the Dean of the Graduate School, the President, the respective dean and the University Trustees. The student and major professor will exit the stage and return to their seats.

University Commencement Ceremony
The doctoral candidates will line up in Group 1 with their hoods on. Major professors should report to Mitchell Center, Room 1102, for robing then to Room 1101 to line up as guided by the Lead Faculty Marshals.

▼   Honor Cords and Stoles

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 presented when the student receives their reader card at the college ceremony. 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.

▼   Proper Attire and Etiquette

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, doctoral and professional level candidates wear their hoods.

Ceremony Etiquette:  Smoking and drinking of alcoholic beverages are prohibited in the HKS Building and the Mitchell Center. Valuables should not be brought into the HKS Building or the Mitchell Center. Please arrange to leave purses, cameras and other personal items with family or friends. All cell phones must be turned off during the ceremony.  The ceremony staff may conduct bag checks/security checkpoints at public entrances to eliminate air horns and secure against firearms.  Please do not bring these items to 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.

▼   Parking

Degree candidate parking is reserved in the lot behind the Mitchell College of Business on Student Services Drive. Admittance to the Health, Kinesiology & Sport Building (formally HPS building) is for graduating students only. These location can be found on the campus map.

▼   Accommodations
Degree candidates who require accommodations  (i.e., mobility impaired, visually impaired, etc.) for the ceremony must contact the Registrar's Office at (251)460-6251 (option 4) two weeks prior to ceremony.  Handicapped parking will be limited but available at the Mitchell Center lot for students, family, and friends. Entrance to this lot will be from Old Shell Road only (behind the Mitchell Center). Proper tags must be visible for access to this lot.
▼   Diplomas

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 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. 

Reissued or Replacement Diplomas

To order a reissued diploma, either complete the online Reissued Diploma Order Form and pay the $25.00 fee online or mail the PDF version of the form to the Registrar's Office (University of South Alabama, Registrar's Office, 390 Student Center Circle, Suite 1100, Meisler Hall, Mobile, AL 36688) along with a check or money order in the amount of $25.00.

To replace a damaged diploma complete and return the Reissued Diploma Order Form to the Registrar's Office (University of South Alabama, Registrar's Office, 390 Student Center Circle, Suite 1100, Meisler Hall, Mobile, AL 36688). The original diploma must also be returned. Requests to replace damaged diplomas must be submitted within one calendar year of the date the original diploma was issued. Replacement requests submitted after one calendar year are subject to a $25.00 fee.

Diploma Frames

Diploma frames are available for purchase on the USA Bookstore's website.


revised 07/20/2020