Graduation is the official acknowledgment of degree conferral. Students apply for graduation at the beginning of their final semester of study. Commencement is the official ceremony acknowledging graduation and the bestowing of the baccalaureate degree.
To graduate, satisfy all University, college, and major requirements in effect at the time you enter your major. Degree Audits throughshow progress toward degree completion. Filing your intent to graduate is done through the eLion "Graduating this Semester" module. Filing dates are:
- Fall 2015 - August 17, 2015 through September 8, 2015
- Spring 2016- January 2, 2016 through January 25, 2016
Students who miss the filing period must visit the Smeal Undergraduate Education Records Office in 202 Business Building to file your intent. A copy of a current degree audit is needed.
Key issues regarding graduation and completing final degree requirements:
- Home Mailing Address - Commencement information is sent to home mailing addresses so keep this information current.
- Study Abroad and Graduation - Most study abroad programs do not follow the Penn State calendar. Students who study abroad their last semester often need to postpone graduation to the following semester.
- Transfer Credits - In order to be included on the Smeal College graduation list and program, all credits from courses taken at institutions other than Penn State (transfer credits) must be taken prior to the semester of graduation. In addition, the credits must appear on the student’s Penn State record prior to the 1st day of the month preceding the month of graduation. For Spring graduation, transfer credits must post to the student’s record by no later than April 1st. The deadline is July 1st for summer graduation and November 1st for Fall graduation. Note that many courses transfer in to Penn State as “general credits” and require additional approval to be counted towards a student’s non-major field degree requirements. It is important for students who plan to fulfill degree requirements using transfer credits to meet with their academic adviser well in advance of graduation to discuss their plans.
- Graduation Verification - At the close of the graduation filing period, students are reviewed for graduation eligibility. Those with one or more outstanding degree requirements are notified to take action and/or are removed from graduation. Reviewing a degree audit prior to the close of the Course Add/Drop Period can avoid problems later in the semester.
The Smeal College of Business conducts its own commencement ceremony each May in the Bryce Jordan Center. The ceremony includes greetings by University and Smeal officials, a commencement speaker, the conferring of degrees, and individual recognition as each graduate is called by name to be congratulated on stage. Diplomas are mailed to home addresses within several weeks of the ceremony. Information regarding recommended arrival times and other details related to the ceremony are mailed to graduating seniors approximately one month prior to commencement.
Students graduating after fall semester or summer session will attend a University-wide commencement ceremony in the Bryce Jordan Center. For specifics regarding university commencement ceremonies visit Penn State Commencement Ceremonies. Students graduating at either of these two ceremonies will receive their diplomas in the mail.
Seniors should file their intent to graduate via eLion using the "Graduating this Semester" link at the beginning of the semester in which the student plans to graduate. Check with the The University's Office of the Registrar for pertinent graduation information.
If you have questions regarding your eligibility to graduate, seniors should contact The Smeal Undergraduate Education Records Office.
For friends and family attending commencement, tickets are not required. Seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis. The ceremony lasts approximately two hours. Commencement dates for the Smeal College are:
- Fall 2015 - Saturday, December 19, 2015, 9:00 AM in the Bryce Jordan Center
- Spring 2016- Sunday, May 8, 2016, 9:00 AM in the Bryce Jordan Center
Parking spaces for guests with disabilities are available in the Founders Lot, east of the Jordan Center or the Shields Building parking area. Penn State and the Smeal College of Business encourages persons with disabilities to participate in commencement.
Parking and Seating for Guests With Disabilities at the Bryce Jordan Center
Parking for guests with disabilities is available in the Founders Parking Lot (Orange L), east of the Jordan Center located off Curtin Road. See "Handicapped Parking" on the enclosed map. Parking attendants will be on duty to guide you. The driver may drop the passenger off at the Founders Lounge entrance and then park the vehicle. No parking placards are needed for this lot and there is no fee for parking.
Reserved seat tickets will not be needed, but guests with disabilities should arrive an hour early to avoid the last-minute rush. Inside the Founders Lounge entrance, ushers will be available to assist in taking individuals via elevator to the appropriate seating located on the concourse level. Due to space limitations, only one person may accompany the guest with disability in the accessible seating area. The chairs in the accessible seating area are plastic, and are armless portable chairs to allow movement for wheelchairs. Other family members may sit in the regular seating located throughout the arena.
Key Issues Regarding Commencement
- Commencement Participation - Participation in commencement is for graduating students. During the ceremony, each graduate is recognized by name and processes across the stage.
- Academic Regalia - Academic regalia or military uniform is required. Candidates for the baccalaureate degree wear the tassel of the cap on the right front edge. Caps and gowns are purchased from the bookstore along with personalized announcements.
- Diploma Distribution - Diplomas are mailed to home addresses within several weeks of the ceremony.
- Commencement Program Book - A commencement program book listing the names of graduates is available at commencement. Students activating their intent to graduate prior to the filing deadline will have their name printed in the book.