VCU Bulletins

Undergraduate study

Graduation process

Graduation application
Graduation checklist
Graduating with honors
Special note for graduating financial aid recipients

Graduation application

VCU confers degrees in May, August and December. A commencement exercise is held in May for May graduates only. A commencement exercise is held in December for August graduates and December graduates. Each student who expects to complete the degree requirements by the end of a semester or summer session must file an application for the degree in accordance with dates published on the university academic calendar. Candidates who do not graduate at the end of the semester for which they have applied must reapply.

Students who may have enough credits to be eligible to graduate will be notified by email of the graduation process each semester. The email will contain submission deadlines and steps to begin the graduation checkout and application process. Eligible students should submit their degree applications by the dates indicated in the email and noted in the university academic calendar, which is available on the Web at Students should schedule a conference with an adviser well in advance of the deadline and should remember that the application also requires approval by the department chair and dean.

Students planning to graduate in the current semester should proceed as follows:

No degrees will be conferred unless students make formal application to graduation.

Degrees will be awarded and diplomas issued in a current semester only. Students who do not submit/complete their applications to graduate in the semester in which they actually complete their programs will be awarded their degrees in the semester in which they apply to graduate. In such cases, a text notation will be added to the transcript to indicate the date that course work for the degree was completed.

Graduation checklist

The total number of semester credits required for graduation depends upon the degree program. Specific information may be found under degree program descriptions. In addition to the specific requirements listed by the college/school/department, the following graduation checklist for undergraduate students summarizes all general requirements for graduation and issuance of a diploma.

Students are reminded to complete a final check of their academic records before they exit the university to ensure that all temporary grades have been converted, that the record accurately reflects their academic histories and that all degrees have been posted. Requests for changes to the academic record must be made within the first six months following graduation, but this requirement may be superseded by other university-specific deadlines (e.g., those governing requests for a change of grade). Commonwealth of Virginia record-retention requirements may affect the university’s ability to address requests for changes to the academic record. Students must settle all financial obligations to the university prior to the issuance of a diploma.

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Graduating with honors

Dean’s list
The dean’s list is a recognition of superior academic performance. A student is automatically placed on the dean’s list for each semester in which a semester GPA of at least 3.5 is attained, based on a minimum of 12 semester credits, excluding courses graded credit/noncredit, with no grade below C. A notation is placed on the student’s academic record. Students earning marks of I or PR are ineligible for the dean’s list for the semester in which these grades were earned.

Laudatory honors
Candidates for a baccalaureate degree who complete a minimum of 45 credits at VCU may qualify for graduation honors. Cum laude is awarded for a 3.30 to 3.59 GPA, magna cum laude is awarded for a 3.60 to 3.89 GPA and summa cum laude is awarded for a 3.90 GPA or better, at the time of graduation.

Calculation of the GPA for honors determination is based on grades received for all courses taken for credit at VCU, as well as for credits accepted for transfer at VCU. However, to qualify for graduation honors, a student’s GPA for courses taken for credit at VCU must be at least as high as the minimum required for the specific honor bestowed. Recognition of graduation honors is made on the student’s diploma, permanent record and in the commencement program (because of the early publication of the commencement program, the honor status from the last semester prior to graduation will be reflected in the commencement program).

Students who have participated in the Honors College and who have met requirements of that program may graduate with “University Honors.” Please refer to the “Honors College” section of this bulletin for more information.

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Special notes for graduating financial aid recipients

If a student plans to continue enrollment at VCU after graduation and wants financial aid, he or she must apply and be accepted as a degree/certificate-seeking student and enroll at least half time to meet financial aid enrollment requirements. If a student received federal loan funds during enrollment at VCU, he or she will be required to complete exit counseling. The student’s diploma or transcript will not be released until he or she completes this required obligation.

Exit counseling required
Exit counseling is required for students receiving the following loans: William D. Ford Federal Direct Loans (subsidized or unsubsidized),Federal Perkins Loan, Health Professions Student Loan, Nursing Student Loan, Loans for Disadvantaged Students, Primary Care Loan and University Long-term Loan. Borrowers will be notified about exit counseling during the semester in which they are scheduled to graduate or drop below half-time enrollment. Additional information about exit counseling for the Direct Loan program is available on the VCU Office of Financial Aid website at

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Last update: 11/9/2012

Created by VCU University Relations

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