Frequently Asked Questions

What's the difference between commencement and graduation?

Graduation refers to the awarding of your degree--all requirements have been completed and the degree will print on your transcript. Commencement is a ceremony. You have to be an approved candidate for graduation (a degree-seeking student with all requirements for your degree in progress) to participate in commencement. Students are graduated three times per year: at the end of each semester (mid-May, early August, mid-December). Commencement occurs twice per year, in May and December.

Do I have to apply for graduation?

The simple answer is yes, you must apply for graduation. The University has an enrollment of approximately 12,000 students who complete their degree programs in varying amounts of time, making it nearly impossible for the University to determine when each student should graduate. So if you don't apply for graduation, no one but you will know, and no degree will be awarded.

When is the deadline to apply for graduation?

Students may apply for graduation as soon as they complete enrollment for their final requirements (that includes WP003, CL's and registration for MAPP2 for undergraduates, and for graduate students, GR609 and either GR698 or GR699 in your graduation semester.)

Fall graduation: apply by last day of preceding summer semester
Spring graduation: apply by last day of preceding fall semester
Summer graduation: to walk in preceding spring commencement, apply by Friday of first week of summer enrollment
To walk in fall commencement, apply by the last day of the preceding spring semester

Students are encouraged to apply for graduation as soon as they have completed enrollment for their final semester. This allows for more time to resolve unexpected problems.

Why was commencement split into two ceremonies?

The Spring Commencement ceremony was too large to safely continue having one location on campus. Southeast simply does not have a facility large enough to hold all candidates for graduation and still accommodate all the guests candidates wish to have attend. For several years, candidates have been asked to severely limit the number of guests they invite, but the number of candidates continues to grow. In addition, student feedback has indicated a desire for a smaller, shorter, more personal ceremony. Following months of discussion and observation, it was decided that, for purposes of safety, and because we listen to our students, the best solution was to have two ceremonies.

What if I’m supposed to attend in the morning, but I can’t. Can I attend the afternoon ceremony?

Every effort should be made to attend the assigned ceremony. However, students who have a conflict, and can document the reason for it, may make a written request to the commencement committee to be allowed to participate in a different ceremony in the same semester. Requests for such exceptions must be made at least three weeks in advance of commencement so that arrangements to have your name read at the appropriate ceremony can be made, if your exception is granted.

May I participate in commencement other than in the semester when I'm graduating?

Spring and fall candidates may participate only in the semester in which they are first approved as a candidate to receive their degree. Since there is no summer commencement exercise, summer candidates for graduation MAY be eligible to participate in the preceding spring commencement if they enroll and apply for graduation by the published deadline, or will participate in the fall commencement ceremony immediately after their summer graduation. The graduation application should be marked for summer graduation. There is also a space for those planning to graduate in the summer to indicate which ceremony they prefer.

Do I have to attend commencement?

No; however you still have to apply for graduation, fill out candidate information as soon as you are approved as a candidate for graduation, and meet all graduation requirements. Your cooperation is appreciated in letting us know that you won't be attending so that we can plan seating accordingly. A word of caution: You may not wish to participate in commencement, but your family may have other ideas. Even if you think you aren't going to attend, we advise you to order a cap and gown. There is no additional cost, and if your family changes your mind for you, you will be prepared. Many students also want the cap and gown for photographic purposes.

What do I wear for commencement?

All participants are required to wear academic regalia—cap, bachelor’s gown and tassel for undergraduates; cap, master’s gown, tassel, and appropriate hood for those earning master’s degrees; cap, specialist gown, tassel, and appropriate hood for those earning the Specialist in Education degree. Beneath the gown, “Sunday” dress is recommended, but there are no specific requirements.

Can I decorate my cap and gown?

University policy prohibits the addition of unauthorized decorations to the cap or gown.

How much does it cost to graduate?

  • There is a graduation fee of $35 which is the only cost imposed by the University. That fee is charged to your University account when your application for graduation is approved. It covers administrative costs of evaluating your eligibility to graduate, preparing your diploma, postage, etc.
  • Candidates who score at or above the national average on MAPP2 may receive a credit of up to $35 to offset the graduation fee. This credit will not appear on your account until the fee has been charged, and the score recorded. Scores are recorded at the end of the month in which the test is taken.
  • Your cap and gown are free.
  • If you choose to purchase souvenir tassels, announcements, rings, a diploma cover or frame, etc., there will be additional costs based on those choices.

Is there anything special I have to do if I'm taking a course somewhere else in my last semester?

Yes. You will need to verify that the course you want to take will transfer as expected, provide proof of enrollment (see the instructions on the commencement website, semo.edu/commencement) and when the course is finished, have your official transcript(s) sent to the Registrar's Office, Attn: Graduation.

When is commencement rehearsal?

Because students don't follow the same schedule, and because the facility also has other uses, there is no rehearsal. You will receive an overview of the ceremony and written instructions when you pick up your cap and gown. There will also be faculty marshals to direct you at commencement.

How many guests may I bring to commencement?

We ask your cooperation in limiting your guests in the arena to 8 or less, so that there will be room for all candidates’ guests. There is an overflow room available, and the ceremonies are streamed live to the web.  The webstream is not available once the ceremony has ended.

Are tickets required to attend commencement?

No tickets are required to attend.

When should we plan on arriving for commencement?

Traffic can become congested in the area, so guests are advised to plan their arrival no later than ½ hour before the beginning of the ceremony.

Candidates for graduation are expected to check in 45 minutes prior to the ceremony’s scheduled time to begin.

Where do we line up for commencement?

Candidates meet on the track in the Student Recreation Center-North. You’ll receive specific information with your cap and gown.

If my family cannot attend commencement, how can they see me graduate?

You can purchase a DVD of commencement. If you order on or before Commencement day, the cost is $20 shipped to your home. If you order after commencement day, the cost is $30, to include the special handling that is required for a later order. In addition, the ceremony is streamed live to the web. Please see the commencement site (semo.edu/commencement) for the address.  PLEASE NOTE: The webstream is a live stream only; it is not available to view via the web once the ceremony is completed.

How long is the ceremony?

The length of the ceremony depends on several factors—how many graduates, length of the speaker’s comments, audience reaction to students crossing the stage, etc.-- so it’s difficult to be specific. We suggest you allow a minimum of 90 minutes for the ceremony.

What happens when the ceremony ends?

Candidates are led back to the SRC-N, where there will be a brief reception for candidates and their guests. An area for pictures is available, with a floral backdrop.

What if I fail a course or get an incomplete in my final semester?

Candidates for graduation have three weeks after commencement to complete grades of incomplete, submit official transcripts from other institutions and verify the accuracy of grades received. If a failing grade is received in a course you need to graduate, you will need to enroll in suitable course work in a subsequent semester, and apply for graduation in that semester.

What do I do with my cap and gown after commencement?

It is yours to keep. This allows you to get as many pictures as you desire, even with people who could not attend commencement. (They also make an excellent costume!)

When do I get my diploma cover?

Some years ago, Southeast chose to discontinue the use of diploma covers on the basis of student preferences. Our graduates told us they prefer to frame and display their diplomas, and therefore discarded the diploma cover. Southeast does not wish to contribute to the further deterioration of our planet by creating unnecessary waste. However, we do wish to accommodate the needs of our graduates. The Southeast Bookstore carries diploma covers as well as several selections of frames suitable for the diploma. Diploma frames may also be purchased from our regalia vendor at cap and gown pickup, or ordered through our website: semo.edu/commencement

What is on my diploma? When will I receive it and how will it be packaged?

Diplomas will show your name as indicated on your graduation application, your degree, honors if applicable, and the date of graduation. You may pick up your diploma during the specified period (you'll be notified by e-mail); otherwise it will arrive in the mail about eight weeks after the end of the semester in which you complete graduation requirements. Diplomas are mailed to the address you verify as correct when you pick up your cap and gown, and will arrive in a flat 9 x 12 cardboard mailer. If your mail box will not accommodate that size mailer, you may want to speak with your local post office to make arrangements for delivery.

What will I get with my diploma?

The package you receive will include the diploma, a complimentary copy of your official transcript, and, if possible, a copy of the commencement program that includes your name. Please keep your transcript in a safe place--there may be times when you need to quickly provide one for job opportunities, etc.

What if I have questions regarding graduation and/or commencement?

You may find answers to your questions in one of several ways, depending on the nature of the question. For substitutions and waivers, check your DegreeWorks audit or ask your faculty advisor or one of the professional advisors in the advising centers. For questions regarding commencement, diplomas, certificates, or other matters related to the ceremonies, you can e-mail us at graduation@semo.edu, or stop by the Registrar's Office (Academic Hall 057), or call graduation personnel in the Registrar's Office at - 573.651.2051., or visit the Commencement Website.

Contact

573.651.2051
graduation@semo.edu
Academic Hall 057
Commencement
One University Plaza, MS 3760
Cape Girardeau, Missouri 63701