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Conferral versus Commencement: Understanding the Graduation Process

Conferral versus Commencement: Understanding the Graduation Process

Get more information about degree programs at American Public University.

By Wayne Wirick
Academic Advisor, School of Security and Global Studies, APUS

To complete your degree as smoothly as possible, it is important to plan for and understand the program completion process. If you are a student nearing the end of your program, there is some information to consider.

Commencement versus Conferral

A frequently asked question is “What is the difference between conferral and commencement?”

Conferral is the actual date your diploma is awarded. At American Military University (AMU) and American Public University (APU), we have four conferral dates: February 15, May 15, August 15 and November 15.

The conferral date is determined by a student’s final course completion date, once all of the academic degree requirements have been met. For example, if your last course ends on January 28, your conferral date would be February 15.

Commencement is the annual ceremony that celebrates your degree conferral and the achievements of other students and alumni. Commencement is usually held in May or June in the Washington, D.C. metro area.

At the commencement ceremony, students walk across the stage and receive a ceremonial diploma from their academic dean and the University President. It is an opportunity to celebrate your milestone. In addition, you can meet and network with your professors, fellow graduates and the university staff who supported you throughout your academic program. This is an event you do not want to miss.

The Graduation Process

Once you have made significant progress in your degree program and are within six months of your anticipated conferral date, it is time to start thinking about graduation. The process begins with the graduation application, which is submitted online.

There is a one-time, nonrefundable graduation fee of $100 per degree. The fee covers administrative costs associated with completing the graduation review, as well as printing and shipping your actual diploma.

Once you submit your application, the conferrals team performs an audit of your student record to ensure that you have met all academic and financial obligations. Once the audit process is complete, you are notified of your final clearance for graduation.

If anything is outstanding in your academic and financial obligations, you will be notified by email. Be sure that your email address on file is up to date at all times, so that we can reach you and help you avoid obstacles whenever possible.

The graduation process is outlined in the online Student Handbook. If you have any questions or would like assistance mapping out the completion of your degree program requirements to meet a specific conferral date, do not hesitate to contact your Academic Advisor at counseling@apus.edu.

Planning for Commencement

The 2018 Commencement ceremonies will be held on Saturday, June 2, at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland.

Commencement weekend begins Friday, June 1, with our university service event, Rise Against Hunger. Also, we have several other events planned for Friday, including the Alumni Welcome Rally, student organization meetings and our Welcome Reception.

On Saturday, June 2, the graduate ceremony begins at 10 a.m. and the undergraduate ceremony begins at 3 p.m. Graduating students in the August 15, 2017, November 15, 2017, February 15, 2018, and May 15, 2018, conferrals will be invited to the June ceremony.

Email invitations will be sent to eligible graduates starting in January 2018. For more information, visit our Commencement webpage.

Academic Advisors are here to help you plan for your conferral, so that you can attend the commencement ceremony of your choice. To work with your Academic Advisor and to map out your remaining coursework, please contact us at counseling@apus.edu, via live chat or schedule an advising session. We look forward to working with you!

Get more information about degree programs at American Public University.

About the Author

Wayne has worked at APUS as an Academic Advisor for over 10 years. He received a master’s in American History from AMU and also has a bachelor’s degree in psychology from George Mason University.