Commencement Participation and Graduation Clearance

Commencement and Graduation are different.

  • Commencement is the ceremony held to celebrate student achievement.  A student may be invited to commencement, but will not graduate until all requirements are completed.
  • Graduation from SUNY Empire State College occurs once it is determined that a student has satisfied all necessary academic requirements to earn a degree. Once a student has "graduated," they have officially earned a degree and may request transcripts stating so. Students who have graduated and have met all financial obligations to the college will receive their diploma in the mail. More information on the graduation review process can be found at Graduation Procedure Information.

Winter Commencement Ceremony

Am I eligible to participate in the Virutal 2020 Winter Commencement Ceremony?

The college hosts one commencement ceremony in the winter. Eligibility to participate in this ceremony may vary by program/center.  Eligibility requirements must have been met by October 23, 2020.

Students pursuing an undergraduate certificate must have all certificate requirements met to attend.

Students pursuing an associate degree:

  • Must currently have a concurred degree plan.
  • Must have successfully completed 64 credits, or be enrolled in credits in the Fall 2020 term that will bring total credits earned to 64 by the end of the term.

Students pursuing a bachelor's degree:

  • Must currently have a concurred degree plan.
  • Must have successfully completed 124 credits, or be enrolled in credits in the Fall 2020 term that will bring total credits earned to 124 by the end of the term.

Students pursuing a bachelor's degree:

  • Must currently have a concurred degree plan prior to the fall 2018 term.
  • Must have successfully completed 124 credits, or be enrolled in credits in the Fall 2020 term that will bring total credits earned to 124 by the end of the term.

Students earning a master's degree:

  • Must have completed all program requirements, or be enrolled in their capstone course, in the Fall 2020 term.

Students earning a master's degree or advanced certificate:

  • Must have completed all program requirements, or be enrolled in their capstone course, in the Fall 2020 term.

Summer Commencement Ceremony

Am I eligible to participate in the 2021 Summer Commencement?

The college hosts regional commencement ceremonies in June each year. Eligibility for our ceremonies in June 2021 may vary by program or center. Please click the applicable link to determine eligibility.

For all students, requirements must be met by April 3, 2021. Students who become eligible after April 4, 2021 will be invited to participate in the winter 2021 ceremony.

Students graduating from the Harry Van Arsdale Jr. Center for Labor Studies:

  • Must complete their apprenticeship training, or be completing it, by the end of the January 2021 term, if applicable.
  • Must complete their coursework by, or be enrolled in, the January 2021 term.

Students from the Harry Van Arsdale Jr. Center for Labor Studies may only attend the ceremony for their center.

Students pursuing an undergraduate certificate must have all certificate requirements met to attend.

Students pursuing an associate degree:

  • Must have a concurred degree plan by April 3, 2021.
  • Must have successfully completed 52 credits, or be enrolled in credits in the January 2021 term that will bring total credits earned to 52 by the end of the term.

Students pursuing a bachelor's degree:

  • Must have a concurred degree plan by April 3, 2021.
  • Must have successfully completed 112 credits, or be enrolled in credits in the January 2021 term that will bring total credits earned to 112 by the end of the term.

Students pursuing a bachelor's degree:

  • Must have a concurred degree plan by April 3, 2021.
  • Must have successfully completed 112 credits, or be enrolled in credits in the January 2021 term that will bring total credits earned to 112 by the end of the term.

Students earning a master's degree:

  • Must have completed all program requirements, or be enrolled in their capstone course, in the January 2021 term.

Students from the School of Nursing and Allied Health are invited to attend any ceremony, with the exception of the Harry Van Arsdale Jr. Center for Labor Studies Commencement.

Students pursuing a bachelor's degree:

  • Must have completed all program requirements and have a concurred degree program in the January 2021 term.

International Education students are invited to attend the ceremony affiliated with their geographic region, or any ceremony in the U.S., with the exception of the Harry Van Arsdale Jr. Center for Labor Studies Commencement.

Students earning a master's degree or advanced certificate:

  • Must have completed all program requirements, or be enrolled in their capstone course, in the Summer 2021 term.

Students from the School for Graduate Studies are invited to attend any ceremony, with the exception of the Harry Van Arsdale Jr. Center for Labor Studies Commencement.


Will I receive my diploma at the ceremony?

Official diplomas are mailed to students upon graduation; they are not distributed to students at the ceremony.

At commencement ceremonies, both in the United States and abroad, students will receive an official SUNY Empire State College medallion as they cross the stage.