Commencement FAQ

What's the Difference Between Graduation and Commencement?

Graduation occurs when a student has completed all necessary requirements defined in the Academic Catalog under which a student declared a degree program or major. All students wishing to graduate must apply for graduation by the application deadline. Applying for graduation is a University degree requirement that must be met by each student wishing to graduate. If students do not apply for graduation, they have not met all degree requirements.

Commencement is ceremony in which graduates or graduation/degree candidates are recognized and celebrated. Graduates are those who have already met all degree requirements and have completed their degree. Graduation/degree candidates are those who have not yet met all degree requirements, but have been given permission to be recognized even though official graduation may or may not have actually occurred. Participation in Commencement does not guarantee graduation. Only official transcripts noting the official date and degree program verify official graduation from SCU. The graduation application is required for students to be considered for participation in the Commencement ceremony.

What is Academic Regalia?

Sometimes known as "cap and gown," traditionally, academic regalia is worn at academic ceremonies where academic accomplishments are recognized. The following academic regalia is worn at the Commencement ceremony at SCU by graduates or candidates for graduation. SCU purchases regalia for students who participate in Commencement. This regalia is for students to keep. Regalia will not be purchased for students who do not participate in Commencement. Any student who has a business hold will not be allowed to pick up regalia or participate in Commencement.

CAP (aka mortar board) & TASSEL
The mortar board is normally worn on the top of the head and not to the back of the head. It should sit flat on the top of the skull.

The tassel attaches to the mortar board at the button. For undergraduate students, the tassel is worn on the right side until instructed to move the tassel during the Commencement ceremony.

The graduate students place the tassel on the left where it remains.

Honor regalia is donned over the gown in this order: medallion, honor cords, and then, if worn at the bachelor level, the hood. No other ornamentation (e.g. corsage, necklace) is worn with academic regalia during the ceremony but can be worn before and/or after the ceremony.

The hood goes over the shoulders so the main colors are displayed on the back. The peak of the hood should follow the back and hang down. The hood is often affixed to a button but can be held in place with a safety pin if necessary.

Clothing worn under the gown should reflect the same solemn and formal nature of the event as does the academic regalia. Traditionally, men should wear dark slacks, shirt, and dress shoes. Ladies wear dark shoes, a dress, or slacks with appropriate top. Dress flats or pump shoes are recommended due to the walking and standing involved during Commencement. During warm weather, the gown can make one warm so consider the weather when choosing attire.