Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions about Graduation and Commencement are listed below. Remember to check the graduation website for updates.

What is the difference between Graduation and Commencement?

Graduation is confirmation you have met all degree requirements. Commencement is an annual ceremony for students who have or are expected to graduate in the current or next semester.

What do I need to do to graduate? Isn't it automatic?

Students planning to graduate should follow the Applying for Graduation steps as outlined in the Graduation section of the online Academic Catalog.

Is there a fee for graduation?

No, there is no fee or cost to graduate.

When can I apply for graduation? Is there a deadline?

The deadline dates to apply for graduation are outlined in the Graduation section of the online Academic Catalog.

Is there a graduation ceremony (commencement) each term?

Southwest holds one commencement exercise each academic year after the spring semester.

Is there a commencement rehearsal?

There is no commencement rehearsal.

How long is the commencement?

The commencement estimated time is approximately 2.5 hours.

Is there a limit to the number of family members and friends I can invite to commencement? Do they need to show an invitation to get in?

Currently, Southwest does not limit the number of guests nor do they require an invitation for admission.

Where do I go to purchase a cap and gown?

Students planning to graduate do not purchase cap and gown (regalia). Cap and gown (regalia) can be ordered online from February 15 through April 15 of the respective graduation year. For more information, see our regalia page.

If you miss picking up your regalia at the GRAD Fair, what options do I have?

You can pick up your regalia at the venue, the day of the Commencement.

When will I receive my diploma?

Diplomas will be available approximately six (6) weeks after grades have been finalized.

How will I receive graduation or commencement notices or information?

Please check your My.Southwest (opens new window) email account for information regarding graduation and/or commencement information.

How do I prove I have a degree?

An official transcript with the student's degree credential is the only legal document. The diploma is a wall display for decorative or ceremonial purposes.

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