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.

On this page:


Am I eligible to participate in the 2022 Winter Commencement?

The college hosts one commencement ceremony in December each year. Eligibility for our winter ceremony varies by program or center. Please click the applicable link to determine eligibility.

For all students, requirements must be met by October 7, 2022. Students who become eligible after October 8, 2022, will be invited to participate in the spring 2023 ceremony.

Students pursuing an undergraduate certificate must meet all certificate requirements to attend.

Students pursuing an associate degree:

  • Must have a concurred degree plan by October 7, 2022.
  • Must have successfully completed 64 credits or be enrolled in enough to bring total credits earned to 64 by the end of the fall 2022 term.

Students pursuing a bachelor's degree:

  • Must have a concurred degree plan by October 8, 2022.
  • Must have successfully completed 124 credits or be enrolled in enough credits to bring total credits earned to 124 by the end of the fall 2022 term.

Students pursuing a bachelor's degree:

  • Must have successfully completed all program requirements, or be enrolled in their final coursework, in the fall 2022 term.

Students earning a master's degree:

  • Must have completed all program requirements, or be enrolled in their capstone course, in the fall 2022 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 September 2022 term.

Am I eligible to participate in the 2023 Spring Commencement?

The college hosts commencement ceremonies each spring. Eligibility for our spring ceremonies varies by program or school. Please click the applicable link to determine eligibility.

Students pursuing an undergraduate certificate must meet all certificate requirements to attend.

Students pursuing an associate degree:

  • Must have successfully earned 52 credits, or be enrolled in credits in the spring term that would bring total credits earned to 52 by the end of the term, by April 1, 2023.

Students pursuing a bachelor's degree:

  • Must have a fully concurred degree plan by April 1, 2023.
  • Must have successfully earned 112 credits, or be enrolled in credits in the spring term that would bring total credits earned to 112 by the end of the term.

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

Students pursuing a bachelor's degree:

  • Must be concurred, have successfully completed all program requirements, or be enrolled in their final coursework, in the spring 2023 term.

Students earning a master's degree:

  • Must have completed all program requirements, or be enrolled in their capstone course, in the spring 2023 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. School of 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 spring 2023 term.

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