When to Apply
If you are seeking a Bachelor's degree, you should apply to graduate in your junior year. All Master's and CAGS students should apply to graduate before their final semester of coursework. Graduate students are not allowed to participate in a commencement ceremony until all their requirements are complete.
The University confers degrees and awards diplomas three times per year, in May, August, and December. There are only two University Commencement ceremonies held in May and December. If you expect to complete your degree requirements during the current year, you should apply to graduate.
Students who apply to graduate in May who do not meet all requirements for graduation will be moved to the December degree conferral date unless you plan to complete in August. In this case, your degree conferral date would be changed to August. Students who graduate in August will have the option to attend the December Commencement ceremony.
How to Apply
You should consult with your advisor. If you are an undergraduate, you can find the common graduation requirements in the Curriculum section of the University catalog. Graduate students can find their requirements in the Graduate Programs section of the catalog.
Students and their advisors should also be using our automated degree evaluation system to assist them.
You are strongly encouraged to submit an application one year (or at least one semester) prior to the semester in which you expect to complete the requirements for your degree.
For undergraduates, Summa Cum Laude requires a Fitchburg State University cumulative GPA of 3.8 or higher; Magna Cum Laude requires 3.5 to 3.79; and Cum Laude requires 3.2 to 3.49. Students graduating with honors receive bronze medallions which are worn with the cap and gown. If you complete the Honors Program and a senior thesis, you will graduate with Special Distinction. To be eligible to graduate with honors, you must earn at least 45 credits with a numerical grade at Fitchburg State University.
There is no graduation honors program for graduate students.
Graduate students earning their Master's Degree or CAGS must complete all of their requirements before they are eligible to participate in a commencement ceremony. Graduate students are "hooded" at the ceremony, which signifies the completion of their program. Graduate students are allowed to participate in one commencement ceremony of their choice, after completing their degree requirements.
In general, tickets are not needed for commencement (with some exceptions, including inclement weather). Prospective December graduates will receive an information packet in November, and prospective May graduates will receive the same information packet in April. This packet will include details about the commencement ceremony, including such things as time, where to line up, where to get your cap and gown, seating for family and guests, parking, and the inclement weather plan.
All diplomas are mailed after final review for degree completion, regardless of attendance at Commencement. The approximate delivery times will vary depending on term of graduation. May graduates typically receive their diplomas in early July; August graduates in early October; and December graduates in late January.
Any student who has completed all the requirements for degree conferral is eligible to participate in Fitchburg State University's commencement ceremonies.