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Commencement:Frequently Asked Questions


What is the difference between graduation and commencement?

Graduation is the completion of all degree requirements in order to be awarded your degree and receive your printed diploma. Commencement is the symbolic ceremony at which your graduation is publically acknowledged and celebrated. Participation in the commencement ceremony does not equate to graduating.

How does my name get on the graduation list?

You must follow the directions from Registrar's Office for Applying for Graduation. Upon completion of these steps and approval from the Registrar's Office, your graduation status on LEO Online will be changed to "Pending."

When do I apply for my degree?

Please see the table below. Note that not only does applying for graduation on time allow you to receive guest tickets for the commencement ceremony, but also puts your name in the commencement program. Graduates who apply after the deadlines listed below will not have their names listed in the commencement program. - The names of August graduates will appear in the May commencement program.

Graduating Semester Application Deadline
Spring (May) November 30
Summer (August) February 28
Fall (December) June 30

I have questions about whether or not I am eligible to graduate. Who do I talk to?

It is important that you meet with your academic advisor early in the graduation process to ensure that you meet all of your requirements and necessary deadlines.

I applied to graduate but now I am no longer eligible. What do I do?

Once your graduation status is listed as "Pending," a registration hold is placed on your record and you will be unable to register for classes for future semesters. It is important to notify the Registrar's Office in writing as soon as possible if you will not be graduating so that this hold can be released.

Commencement Ceremony

I'm graduating in August. Which commencement ceremony should I attend?

August graduation candidates should attend the May ceremony. The names of the August graduates will appear in the May commencement program. August graduates must apply for graduation and register for commencement by February 28.

Do I have to register to attend the commencement ceremony?

Yes. You are not automatically registered for commencement when you apply for graduation, but the Commencement registration is now part of the Application for Graduation. Every graduate who wishes to attend the ceremony must click to check the Commencement checkbox while filling out the graduation application form in LeoOnline. Only graduates who complete the participation registration portion of the graduation application will have guest tickets available to them.

If you apply for graduation and either did not choose to register to participate in the ceremony at that time and wish to do so now, or you wish to cancel your registration, please send an email with your request and your UIN to commencement@odu.edu.

Do my guests need a tickets to attend?

Yes. Due to limited seating, each guest must have a ticket to attend the ceremony.

Where do I get my tickets?

Ticket distribution details will be provided to you prior to the date of your commencement ceremony.

What time should I arrive for the ceremony?

Graduates should report to the check-in area no later than 1 hour prior to the start of the ceremony. Detailed day-of instructions will be sent to you approximately one week prior to the date of your commencement ceremony.

What is appropriate dress to wear under my robe?

Graduation candidates will wear academic regalia (cap and gown). Attire for under your regalia is a personal preference, but graduation candidates are encouraged to dress for the occasion and appropriately for the weather.

How do I get my cap and gown?

You must purchase these items at the Graduation Fair, which takes place at the University Village Bookstore. If you miss the Grad Fair, please contact the ODU Bookstore.

Will there be an interpreter for the hearing impaired at commencement?

Yes. Sign language interpreters will be located on the stage.

Can a family member walk with me?

No. Only graduating students may walk in the processional or be seated on the arena floor. All family members must be seated in the guest seating with a ticket.

Where do I get information for my guests?

Please refer your guests to this site (www.odu.edu/commencement) and have them click on "Information for Family & Guests."

What if I need special accommodations?

Graduates who need special physical accommodations for the ceremony should email commencement@odu.edu with their needs and contact information so that commencement staff can make the necessary arrangements. Commencement@ODU staff ask that you make us aware of these needs as early as possible.

What if my guests need special accommodations?

Please refer to the Special Needs Accommodations page.

Diplomas & Transcripts

What is the size of the diploma?

All Old Dominion University diplomas (bachelors, masters, doctorate) are displayed horizontally (landscape) at 14" x 11".

What information will appear on the diploma?

Your name (as it is on file with the Registrar's Office), your degree (not your major), and your graduation date will appear on your diploma. The University Seal and the signatures of the President and the Rector appear on the diploma as well.

When will I receive my diploma?

Diplomas are mailed 6-8 weeks after graduation to the permanent (home) address on file with the Registrar's Office. It is important that you update this information early in your final semester. May graduates' diplomas should arrive in late June/early July; August graduates' diplomas should arrive mid-October; December graduates' diplomas should arrive mid-February.

Where do I get information about transcripts?

Visit the website on Transcripts for complete information.

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Presidential Inauguration

ODU commemorated the inauguration of President Brian O. Hemphill, Ph.D., during Homecoming Weekend 2022. Relive the historic weekend.

Fall Open House

It's time to fall in love with ODU! Join us for our last Open House event of the semester on Saturday, November 19.

Commencement 2022

Visit the Commencement Office for information on event times, caps & gowns, tickets and more!