Step 1: How to Apply to Graduate, Prequisites and Important Information

By reading this information, you understand and agree to all of its terms and conditions and that your participation in the commencement ceremony does not mean that students have graduated; degree conferral depends upon successful completion of all of the degree requirements described in the Catalog of your Academic Program/College or School. All students are highly recommended to check with your department on all academic requirements. Diplomas are mailed 3 months after each graduating semester. They are not available earlier. There is a process of certification that must take place after each commencement, including checking grades and academic records. 

Sharing Information with Family and Friends

 While Commencement is a family event and we look forward to you participating with family and friends, we do not share participation details with family/friends for any of our participants. It is your responsibility to share your participation with the individuals you want to know. We do not and cannot provide academic details with family and friends either. Please be sure family and friends are aware of this. We can provide general ceremonial details only.  

Caps and Gowns

We are NOT able to loan out caps and gowns for photos. Please check with your photographer who should have caps available for props, etc. Our caps and gowns are ONLY available to participants and these participants can only pick them up during Cap and Gown Distribution (1-2) days prior to commencementIn addition, gowns and hoods are rentals only and not available for non-participants. Gowns and hoods are used for the ceremony (participants only). 

Commencement Vs. Graduation

It is important to understand that commencement and graduation are related, but they are not exactly the same thing. Commencement is the optional celebration of your accomplishment. Graduation is the process of completing your academic work, successfully, and obtaining an actual degree in your studies (diploma).  For academic related questions, please contact your college/advisor. For all questions related to commencement and surrounding activities and diplomas, please contact commencement@memphis.edu

While we believe everyone should celebrate this incredible accomplishment, it is not required. It is a personal  preference to attend the actual ceremony or not. However, if you choose not to participate, we do not provide gowns, etc. Only participants receive regalia to be worn at the ceremony and returned after use at the ceremony.  

In order for us to include you in any commencement, you must register for it (Step 4) or respond to the email with a yes. Whether, online or in-person, graduates must inform us by the deadline we provide (typically 6 weeks or more prior to any event) if they plan to attend. It is the graduates responsibility to follow all deadlines. Failure to respond by deadlines will result in exclusion in ceremonies. We work with vendors and processes that must be completed several weeks prior to commencement ceremonies. So, make sure you respond to emails sent to your University of Memphis email. We try our best to accommodate everyone, but we need your help to ensure your commencement and graduation process runs as smoothly as possible. We must work together. 

Do not wait until days before or even weeks before a ceremony to be included. While we want you to have the best experience, we cannot add you after deadlines have passed. Please meet all deadlines and respond to all emails timely. If you do not understand something or you do not receive confirmation, ask us! Continue to read how to Apply for Graduation (Required at the University of Memphis). All deadlines must be met. 

Prerequisites to Apply to Graduate

By reading this information, you understand and agree to all of its terms and conditions and that your participation in the commencement ceremony does not mean you have officially graduated;  official degree conferral depends upon successful completion of all of the degree requirements described in the Catalog of your Academic Program/College or School. All students are highly recommended to check with your department on all academic requirements.

Congratulations! You are required to read this page and understand it. If you do not have full understanding after reading, you must reach out to the Commencement Office to assist you in understanding. You are now close enough to completing your degree requirements to file for graduation and be included in an upcoming commencement ceremony. As you approach your graduation, there are many things to be aware of to ensure you have met all requirements, signed all forms and submitted all documents required for graduation. Read over this important information and mark your calendars for upcoming dates, deadlines and other requirements. Please be aware that participation in the commencement ceremony does not mean that you have been certified or necessarily will be certified for graduation at the University of Memphis this semester. Certification is the actual degree conferral, contingent upon your successful fulfillment of all of the requirements for receiving a degree, certificate in your field as described in the Catalog of your Academic Program/College or School requirements of the University of Memphis. For undergraduate students receiving honors, the distinction is based on your previous semester’s GPA. After the ceremony and once all grades have been certified by your college, you will receive your final GPA and appropriate honors status. Graduate Students do not receive honors distinction. By reading this required information, you understand that your participation in the commencement ceremony does not mean you will graduate officially; degree conferral depends upon successful completion of all of the degree requirements described in the Undergraduate Catalog and Graduate School and Department Requirements. 

Steps 1, 2, 3 and 4

  • Step 1: Read this website of information. It is REQUIRED

  • Step 2: Apply to Graduate via your MyMemphis account & Submit any required College of School forms based off of your major/department or college. Check with your advisor on College and School form requirements.

    • Graduate Students (Doctoral, Specialists, Masters, Graduate Certificates) Must Also Complete the Candidacy Form and other Requirements to be included and approved for graduation. It is a REQUIREMENT

  • Step 3: Cap and Gown & Diploma Mailing Form (Required by ALL degree-seeking students regardless of attendance)

  • Step 4:  Attendance and Non-Attendance Required Form (Required by ALL degree-seeking students regardless of attendance)

    • Step 4 will be sent to your Memphis email address in your  final semester, once you are officially approved for graduation. It is a REQUIREMENT

  • All communications will be sent to your Memphis email address. It is your responsibility to ensure you are checking your Memphis email account regularly for messages from the Commencement Office, advisors and academic officers. It is a good practice to check it daily

  • All students approved to graduate are automatically added the Commencement Program each graduating semester. Therefore, it is the student's responsibility to let us know if you want your name to be excluded from the commencement program by our Step 4 deadline. The name is automatically printed unless we hear from the student via email in a timely fashion. 


  • Student records are checked by the College Graduation Analyst. These individuals tell us who is approved to graduate and go into the commencement program. If there is ever an issue with GPA, courses, etc., please contact the Graduation Analyst for your specific college.


  • EARLY Participation is not allowed at the University of Memphis. All students must be approved for the current term in order to participate in the commencement ceremony.


  • Students receiving the Graduate Certificate do NOT participate in any commencement ceremony. The event is reserved for those obtaining degrees only and your certificate will be mailed 2-3 months after the ceremony.  

  • Second Majors do NOT participate in the commencement ceremony and do NOT receive a second diploma

  •  Step 4 will be sent to graduates who are approved for the current term via their Memphis email address. This will be sent in the final semester. It is REQUIRED by ALL approved graduating students and failure to complete this form will result in the canceling of your graduation application.


  • Diplomas are mailed 2-3 months after commencement. No exceptions. If you have a hold on your account, you will not receive your diploma until the hold is cleared.


  •  It is your responsibility to ensure all requirements are met at least one month prior to commencement. Failure to do so could cause issues such as: no name listed in the program, no permission to participate in the commencement ceremony, ineligibility to graduate, disqualification from the term's graduation, etc. Deadlines are strictly enforced. This statement does not override any deadlines that need to be met for other requirements such as graduate applications and Step 4.

Any student at the University has to be approved for graduation in order to participate. The University does not allow early participation. This means, the student participates in the term/semester that he/she is approved for graduation. If you become Ineligible, Disqualified or your Approval status changes from Approved to Not Approved at any point in the semester, your name will be removed from the program and as a result, your participation in the Commencement ceremony will be cancelled.  Doctoral, Masters, Specialists: You must meet the Graduate School’s deadlines to remain approved and eligible for participation in the ceremony. Please refer to the Graduate School's website of important deadlines: https://www.memphis.edu/gradschool/current_students/graduation.php.

Requirements to Apply to Graduate

  • Undergraduates – at least 80 earned hours towards degree completion and at least a 1.95 GPA

  • Graduates (Doctoral, Specialists, Masters, Graduate Certificates) ­­– 3.00 GPA (Must Apply for Graduation and SUBMIT a CANDIDACY FORM to the Graduate School)

  • Law – 55 hours, 1.90 GPA

Undergraduate Students: If you have attended another college or university, having transfer credit in UMdegree is essential for the graduation checkout to be accurate. Please notify your advisor if you have missing transfer credits. For further questions about academic coursework, please contact your Graduation Analyst.

Graduate Students: All degree-seeking students filing for graduation are required to submit candidacy forms (masters/doctoral/certificate program/EDS Program of Study and Candidacy Form) for processing by the Graduate School. Signatures are required from the student, departmental advisor, graduate studies coordinator, and College Director of Graduate Studies. Candidacy forms received by the College Director of Graduate Studies after the semester deadline will not be approved; therefore, we strongly recommend that you submit the form to your departmental advisor at least one to two weeks prior to the Graduate School's Application deadline. Failure to submit this form will ensure that you are NOT approved for graduation; and therefore, delays your anticipated graduation date. If you are receiving a Doctoral/Master’s degree and a Graduate Certificate, you must complete two separate candidacy forms (one for your degree program and one for your graduate certificate). 

Law Students: Students must return the Law School’s Graduation Checklist to the Law Registrar prior to completing the Application to Graduate. For further information about your academic coursework, contact the Law School Registrar.

More information on Steps 2-3

  • After you completely read this entire webpage, login/return to your myMemphis portal.

    • Click on the My Degree tab and then locate the Commencement Channel to access Step 2 (Apply to Graduate) by the Deadline. Deadlines are strictly upheld

    • Select your Degree Program.

    • Select a term (this is the last term you were enrolled in the program/degree-seeking program (degree, majors, concentrations and minors)).

    • Select a Graduation Date (dates are usually listed through the next year).

    • An email will be sent to your Memphis email confirming your application is submitted after successful completion of the application.

    • You can view your submitted application by selecting "View Application to Graduate". 

    • If you are graduating with more than one degree, you must complete an application for each degree. For example, select the College of Arts and Sciences' Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in Psychology. Submit the application. Return to Apply to Graduate to select your second degree, complete the application, and submit.

    • If you decide after your application submission that you want to change your date of graduation, contact your Graduation Analyst. The Graduation Analyst is the only individual who can change your date of graduation.

    • Immediately after Step 2's submission, submit Step 3.

    • In your final semester, you will receive Step 4.

ATTENTION: Students must be approved for graduation prior to being able to participate and remain on the graduation list. If you are lacking any coursework, lacking any REQUIRED forms, etc., this will affect your approval status and delay your graduation until that coursework is met.

  • Undergraduate Diplomas: Will only reflect the degree, any honors distinctions and departmental honors. Majors and Concentrations are available on your transcripts and will not be placed on any undergraduate (bachelor) diplomas. What is on the diploma

    • Student’s name

    • College or School Name

    • University Name

    • Date of Graduation

    • Academic honors (if earned)

    • College honors (if earned)

    • Departmental honors (if earned)

  • Doctoral and some Master’s Diplomas: Will list the degree only on the diploma. Majors and Concentrations are available on your transcripts.

  • All students in the program are walking based on their prior semester GPA. Any changes in honors will be reflected on the Undergraduate Diploma at the time of certification. Graduate School Diplomas do NOT denote any honors.

  • Students are allowed to participate ONCE for the degree they are seeking. 

  • Second majors and second concentrations do not participate in the Commencement ceremony, are not listed in the program and do not receive a second diploma. For example, in May 2011, student received a Bachelor of Professional Studies with a concentration Health Services degree and returned in May 2012 and added a concentration within Professional Studies. Another example, in May 2012, student received a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in English and returned in December 2012 and gets a second major in History. These are the same degree, so no second diploma, program name or participation.

  • Graduate Certificate ONLY students do not participate in the Commencement ceremony. Names are listed in the spring Commencement program only.

  • Step 4 - Completion of the Step 4 is required for both students participating in the Commencement ceremony (attending) and for students not planning to participate (not attending). This includes all levels of students: doctoral, masters, specialists, undergraduates and law (law only in December and summer). Attendance is collected by semester so only the current semester graduating student fills out the form. Ceremony attendance information will be collected by the Commencement Office during the middle of your graduating semester. See below for when you need to fill out your card.

Step 4: Sent to your Memphis Email in your Final Semester

This step like all Steps are required. Step 4 will be sent to approved students in their final semester. It is required by all students regardless of attendance. Failure to complete Step 4 will result in your graduation application being cancelled. Please mark calendars and be on the look out for Step 4 in your final semester. 

  • August graduates will be asked to submit Step 4 in June/July.

  • December graduates will be asked to submit Step 4 in October.

  • May graduates will be asked to submit Step 4 in February.

Spring Graduation/Back-up Date Information

NOTICE: Students graduating in the spring/May semester each year are subject to a Commencement date change. Please read below for details.

Spring graduation may conflict with the Grizzlies playoff schedule, so there could be a possible date change. Please share the possible back-up-date information with all guests, including immediate and extended family and friends.
If you are applying to graduate/graduating in spring (May), please plan and have your guests plan accordingly for a Saturday or Sunday event possibility. We recommend booking any return flights (transportation) either late on Sunday (depending on the graduating students college or school) or Monday morning following Commencement. We appreciate your assistance in helping us spread the word. Confirmation of actual Spring dates and times will be sent out via the graduating students Memphis email account, the Commencement Office website, @Commencement (Twitter), and @uomemphisgrad (Instagram). If you are graduating in the spring semester and would like more information regarding the backup date, click Details on Spring & Grizzlies.

GPA Requirements and University Honors

University honor cords are single ropes worn over the robe. The cords come in three colors — gold, crimson or white.

    • Summa Cum Laude, with Highest Distinction, 3.80 - 4.00: gold cord

    • Magna Cum Laude, with High Distinction, 3.50 - 3.79: crimson cord

    • Cum Laude, with Distinction, 3.25 - 3.49: white cord

  • Undergraduate students who have achieved academic honors distinction (summa, magna or cum as determined by the University policy on GPA) will receive their honor cord at cap and gown distribution.

  • Names listed in the program with the designations Summa Cum Laude, Magna Cum Laude and Cum Laude are provided by the office of the Dean of the College or School and are based on grade point averages at the beginning of the term.

  • Grades from this semester (semester student is graduating in) will not be included in honors calculations until certification for the diploma, 2-3 months after commencement.

  • -You may confirm your honor designation by checking the proof of the Commencement Program. If you think there is an error, you must talk with the Commencement Office early/by the Step 4 deadline. After you notify the Commencement Office of the error, they will contact your college/school to determine if changes should be made.

  • Graduate Students do not have academic honors, but may wear cords awarded previously.

  • 4.0s are determined by looking at an undergraduate student's overall undergraduate studies (entire transcript/entire undergraduate career: Every undergraduate course taken must be an A or better) to determine a 4.0 GPA .

  • Student Marshal(s): Each undergraduate College and School will identify the undergraduate student(s) with the highest GPA in their overall undergraduate studies to act as its Student Marshal. Student Marshals are recognized by their Marshal's medallion and will lead the college across the stage. Student Marshals are selected by the Commencement Office and are only official in the current semester of graduation. We have to review student records to ensure accuracy

  • If a student is graduating with University Honors or University Honors with Thesis, they must communicate with the Honors Program several months before Commencement to ensure the Commencement Office and the college/school knows to add this to the program and diploma information.

  • For more information on the Institution's Recognition of Academic Performance, see Recognition of Academic Performance.

  • If you have questions, please call 901.678.5547 or send an email with your Full Name, Unumber to commencement@memphis.edu


Commencement Conduct Guidelines

Commencement is a time to celebrate and enjoy your achievement. However, it is also ceremonial. You are asked to honor the spirit of this important occasion by conducting yourself in a manner that is respectful of your guests, the guests of others, of your fellow graduates, and of you. By participating in The University of Memphis Commencement ceremony (in-person or online) you agree to observe the following guidelines:

  • Be respectful of other graduates and the audience by staying in your seat before and after you receive your diploma and until those on the Commencement platform exit during the recessional.

  • Messages and photos must be appropriate and presentable to a large group of people. Messages and photos that are deemed inappropriate or offensive, will be removed by staff.

  • Inappropriate behavior for this occasion includes, but is not limited to: taking of selfies while on the Commencement platform, pranks, stepping or dancing of any kind, and/or vocal or visual disruptions.


  • Use of any noise maker, including whistles and air horns is strictly prohibited.


  • Cell phones are permitted, but out of courtesy for other participants, students should silence their phone, not use them during the formal speaking portions of the ceremony, and should not use them while receiving their diploma on stage.


  • The use and/or possession of alcohol is strictly prohibited.


  • For your safety and the safety of others, please do not toss any objects in the air during the ceremony.


  • All provisions of the University of Memphis Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities apply to Commencement ceremonies.


  • All participants must stay for the duration of the event and ask guests to remain to ensure each student's name is heard when called.


  • Please cheer respectfully and asks guests to do the same to ensure each student's name is heard when called.


  • The University expects to conduct a meaningful, dignified ceremony. Disorderly and/or disruptive conduct, including, but not limited to the examples provided above, may be grounds for immediate ejection, and may result in your diploma and/or transcript being retained by the University.


  • Students are only allowed to participate one time for the degree they are seeking.

By reading this information, you understand and agree to all of its terms and conditions and that your participation in the commencement ceremony does not mean that students have graduated; degree conferral depends upon successful completion of all of the degree requirements described in the Catalog of your Academic Program/College or School. All students are highly recommended to check with your department on all academic requirements. Diplomas are mailed 3 months after each graduating semester. They are not available earlier. There is a process of certification that must take place after each commencement, including checking grades and academic records.