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Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need to apply for graduation?

Yes, you must apply for graduation after you have enrolled for your final semester. You must apply for the semester in which you complete your final requirements. For example, if you are taking a summer class/internship to complete your degree, you will apply for summer. You may apply for graduation through the Portal > Student SS tab > Services > Apply to Graduate. Once you have applied for graduation, please make sure to regularly check your Southeast email account as all further graduation-related communications will be sent there.

When is the deadline to apply for graduation?

You are encouraged to apply for graduation as soon as you have completed enrollment for your final semester. The deadline to submit the graduation application is:

Fall graduation: Due the last day of the preceding summer semester
Spring graduation: Due the last day of the preceding fall semester
Summer graduation:
To walk in the spring ceremony: Due the Friday of first week of summer registration
To walk in fall ceremony: Due the last day of the preceding spring semester

Graduation applications are not accepted for a semester until registration has begun for that semester.

How much does it cost to graduate?

There is a non-refundable $35 fee charged to your university account for every approved graduation application. It covers administrative costs of processing applications, preparing diplomas, postage, etc. You may also be charged late fees if you apply to graduate or complete your candidate information after the deadline. Finally, if participating in the commencement ceremony, regalia (cap and gown) must be purchased and worn.  If you want announcements or diploma covers/frames, they can be purchased separately through the Southeast Bookstore.

How do I apply to graduate?

Apply through the Portal > Student SS tab > Services > Apply to Graduate.

What should I do if I have problems applying to graduate?

If you have attempted to apply for graduation via the portal and were not successful, you may complete the pdf application here: and email it as an attachment to

What should I do if I'm taking a course somewhere else in my last semester?

In order for your graduation application to be approved, you must submit proof of enrollment in your transfer course. This could be an official schedule or a screenshot from the other school’s portal, but it must include your name, the school’s name and the class you’re taking. This document is used to determine if your transfer class fulfills your remaining requirements.

Once you have completed the course, you will need to request an official transcript to be sent from the other institution to our Registrar’s Office. The official transcript must be received and credit posted before your degree can be awarded. Candidates for graduation have three weeks after the date of the commencement ceremony for our office to receive the official transcripts from the other institutions.

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

If you are approved as a candidate for graduation, you will have three weeks after commencement to finish classes that have incomplete grades, submit official transcripts from other institutions, and verify the accuracy of grades received. If a failing grade is received in a course that is required for graduation, you will need to enroll in suitable coursework in a subsequent semester and apply for graduation for that semester.  

When will I receive my diploma? What is on my diploma? What will I receive with my diploma?

You may pick up your diploma during the specified pick-up period (of which you'll be notified by email); 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 submitting your candidate information and will arrive in a flat cardboard mailer with approximate dimensions of 10 x 13". If your mailbox will not accommodate that size mailer, speak with your local post office to make arrangements for delivery.

The package you receive will include the diploma, a complimentary copy of your official transcript, and, if possible, a copy of the commencement program from your graduation ceremony term that includes your name. Diplomas will show your name as indicated on your graduation application, your degree, honors if applicable, and the date of graduation.

What are the criteria to graduate with honors?

If you are an undergraduate student, in order to graduate with Latin honors (cum laude, magna cum laude, or summa cum laude) you must have a minimum cumulative 3.5 GPA, in all gradesearned, including original grades in repeated courses. Your honor GPA may be different than your overall GPA. Honors are not awarded to students earning graduate degrees.

What's the difference between commencement and graduation?

Graduation refers to the administrative awarding of your degree, after the final semester is over, all grades have been turned in, and if all requirements have been completed. Commencement is the ceremony.

In order to participate in commencement, students must be approved as a candidate for graduation (that is, a degree-seeking student with all requirements for their degree in progress).  While students graduate three times per year (at the end of each semester: mid-May, early August, mid-December), commencement only occurs twice per year, in May and December. Since there is no summer commencement, summer graduates who meet the requisite deadlines may participate in either the preceding spring or following fall ceremonies.

Do I have to attend commencement?

No; however, you do still have to apply for graduation, fill out candidate information by the deadline, and meet all graduation requirements.

What if I cannot attend my assigned ceremony?

Every effort should be made to attend the assigned ceremony. However, if you have a documented conflict, you 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, if granted, the necessary arrangements can be made.

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

As a spring or fall candidate, you only participate in the semester in which you are approved for graduation. Since there is no summer commencement, summer graduates who meet the requisite deadlines may participate in either the preceding spring or following fall ceremonies. On the summer graduation application, there is a place to mark your ceremony preference. 

What do I wear for commencement?

All participants are required to wear academic regalia:

  • For undergraduate students: cap, bachelor’s gown and tassel
  • For master’s degree students: cap, master’s gown, tassel, and appropriate hood
  • For specialist degree students: cap, specialist gown, tassel, and appropriate hood
  • Beneath the gown, professional dress is recommended, but not required.

Is there a commencement rehearsal?

No, there is no rehearsal. An overview of the ceremony and instructions will be emailed to your Southeast email account prior to commencement day. There will also be faculty marshals to direct you during the ceremony.

When should I plan on arriving for commencement?

As a candidate for graduation, you are expected to check in 45 minutes prior to the ceremony’s scheduled start time. It is recommended that your guests arrive no later than 30 minutes before the beginning of the ceremony.

Are tickets required to attend commencement?

Each guest must present a ticket to enter the Show Me Center.  Guest ticket information will be sent to your Southeast email about two to three weeks prior to the date of the commencement ceremony.

If my family cannot attend commencement, how can they watch the ceremony?

The ceremony is streamed live at Please note that this is a live stream and is not available to view once the ceremony is completed.

How long is the ceremony?

While the length of the ceremony depends on several factors, we suggest allowing a minimum of two hours for the ceremony.

What happens when the ceremony ends?

Due to Covid-19 restrictions, there will not be a reception after the ceremony.  Graduates and guests will have opportunities to take photos at outdoor locations around campus.

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.


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One University Plaza, MS 3760
Cape Girardeau, Missouri 63701