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 Spring Commencement with the exception of doctoral candidates. Summer doctoral candidates will have their degrees conferred at Fall Commencement. Students must have an active graduation application on file with the Registrar's Office in order to participate in commencement. Graduating students who wish to participate in commencement may only attend the ceremony on the date and time assigned to their academic college. Participation in the exercises does not mean that degree requirements have been completed or that academic honors have been awarded.

▼   Caps, Gowns, Hoods and Announcements

Regalia must be ordered from the university's approved vendor, Graduate Supply House, in order to participate in Commencement. Online regalia ordering for Spring 2024 Commencement opens on Monday, February 5. Visit to place your regalia order no later than April 1.

Event Date
Online Regalia Order Deadlines:  
Priority - Bachelor/Master/Specialist February 26
Standard - Bachelor/Master/Specialist April 1
Refund Request Deadlines:  
Priority - Bachelor/Master/Specialist
(ordered on or before February 26)
February 28
Standard - Bachelor/Master/Specialist
(ordered after February 26, but before April 1)
April 3
Regalia Distribution:  
Priority - Bachelor/Master/Specialist
(ordered on or before February 26)

Starts March 25
8 a.m.
USA Bookstore

Standard - Bachelor/Master/Specialist/Doctoral Candidates
(ordered after February 26, but on or before April 1)

Starts April 24
8 a.m.
USA Bookstore

Late Regalia Orders Begin April 24
USA Bookstore

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

IF YOU DID NOT ORDER YOUR REGALIA BY THE APRIL 1st, DEADLINE – You will need to visit the USA Bookstore starting April 24 to order your regalia from a limited number of extras.  A $25 late fee will be assessed at that time.

Graduation announcements may be ordered through Herff Jones.

  1. Enter "University of South Alabama" in the search bar.
  2. Confirm the name of the institution.
  3. Select "May Ceremony" from the drop-down menu.
  4. Select the College or School associated with your degree program/major.
  5. Select your degree type (i.e., Bachelor, Master, Doctorate).

PLEASE NOTE: Normal delivery time is approximately 3 weeks after placing announcement orders.

▼   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 and pick up your reader card. If you are eligible for honors, you will be given your honor cord when you receive your reader card.
  3. DO NOT LOSE YOUR READER CARD. It must be presented to the reader on stage.
  4. Students with names that might be difficult to pronounce should see the reader located behind the card distribution tables.
  5. Line up in your group number. It is listed on the front of your card and the group numbers are posted in numerical order across the front of the gym. After finding the correct group number get in line by college and then by your Lineup #. At the designated time the student marshals will begin ensuring the correct line up order.
  6. At the appropriate time, student marshals will lead the student processional from the gym to the Mitchell Center.
  7. Inside the Mitchell Center you will be directed to your seat by the student marshals and Registrar's Office staff.
  8. Marshals will direct you to the stage at the appropriate time. You must bring your card with you 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 replacement card.
  9. Go up the ramp, hand your card to the Registrar's Office staff member. When your name is called proceed across the stage. You will receive your diploma cover from your Dean then continue across the stage. You will exit the stage and have your portrait taken.
  10. Follow the marshals' instructions and return to your seat.
▼   Special Instructions for Ph.D. and Ed.D. Candidates

The major professor and the doctoral candidate should report to the HKS – East Gymnasium by the times listed on the Commencement Dates and College List for each ceremony.

The doctoral candidate will line up in Group 1 and their major professor will follow the student 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 receive your diploma cover from the Dean of the Graduate School. The student and major professor will exit the stage and return to their seats.

▼   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

The institutional grade-point average, rounded to the nearest hundredth, can be found in PAWS. No additional rounding will occur; students must have a minimum USA GPA  of 3.50 to be eligible for Latin honors (see table below).

Academic honor cords will be presented when the student receives their reader card at the commencement 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.

Latin Honors table

▼   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/vaping 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. 

Mitchell Center policies and procedures will be enforced.  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.   There is no re-entry into the Mitchell Center.   Please visit the Mitchell Center's website for a list of prohibited items and venue policies.

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. 

▼   Parking

Degree candidate parking is reserved in Lot 502 behind the Mitchell College of Business on Student Services Drive. Admittance to the Health, Kinesiology & Sport Building (formerly HPELS) is for graduating students only. These buildings 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.

To replace a damaged diploma, please email The original diploma must 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 6/04/2024