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Commencement FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions Concerning Commencement

Frequently Asked Questions

When should I apply to graduate?

  • Do not apply for graduation until the semester you will actually complete your last class, or requirement for your degree(s) whether it be a Class, Field Study, or Internship.

If I applied for graduation am I set to walk at the ceremony?

  • No. Applying for graduation is completely separate from registering to attend the ceremony. Some graduating students choose to not attend the ceremony. In order to have an accurate count of chairs for graduate seating, you must RSVP for the ceremony as well.

What time should I arrive at my ceremony?

  • Students should arrive at least 45 - 60 minutes prior to their ceremony. Once you have gone through the check-in process, you will be directed to your seat for the ceremony./li>

How will they announce my name?

  • Each graduate will receive a 3x5 reader card when they arrive at check-in for Commencement. Information for the reader card will be taken from the RSVP form. This form will include their name as they want it announced, a phonetic spelling, any honors designation for which they are eligible as well as personal identifiers for the photographers. Students will give the Reader their card when entering the stage. Please do not roll the card up, make extraneous marks on it, etc. as this just makes it more difficult for the Reader to announce you properly. The photographers use this card as well to keep track of the photo orders.
  • There will be a limited supply of replacement cards on-hand during check-in.

How should the mortarboard (cap) be worn?

  • In general, the mortarboard sits level on the top of the head, so the board portion is parallel to the floor. It does not belong on the back of the head.

Can we decorate our mortarboard (cap)? Do we throw them?

  • Yes, you can decorate your cap so long as the decorations are family-friendly.
  • No, we do not facilitate a grad-cap toss at any of our ceremonies. In fact, most universities do not do this. That's more of a television thing than a real-life thing.

On which side of the mortarboard (cap) should the tassel be worn?

  • Undergraduate students should wear the tassel on the right side. The President will indicate during the ceremony when the tassel should be moved to the left side.
  • Graduate students should wear the tassel on the left side.

Will I be hooded on stage?

  • Yes, Doctoral, Specialists and Masters graduates will be hooded on stage.

How many people can I invite to the Commencement ceremony?

  • There is currently no limit to the number of guests you can bring to the ceremony at the Pensacola Bay Center. Tickets are not needed.

How do I know if I graduate with honors?

  • Please view the Honors tab under 'Graduates'. You will find that information there.
  • You may also view the Undergraduate Catalog for detailed information on Baccalaureate Honors.
  • Baccalaureate Honors are printed on the diploma and transcript.
  • UWF does not recognize honors for graduate students since a 3.5 is the required minimum for admission in any graduate program.
  • Your honors designation will NOT be announced during the ceremonies.

How should the honor cords be worn?

  • Students should drape the honor cords over their shoulders, with the cords hanging down each side of the gown. If you are uncertain, your college marshal should help you during check-in.

I am a member of a sorority (fraternity, etc.); what exactly may be worn with the cap and gown?

  • In general, students may wear their sorority or fraternity "stole" around the neck with the sides hanging down each side of the gown. They may also wear cords or small ribbons awarded to them by an honorary society or group. While students will not be asked to remove them, they should refrain from wearing other decorations. Too many adornments become distracting and take away from the tradition of the event.

I applied for graduation too late to order regalia. Can I still participate in the ceremony?

  • In order to participate in the ceremony, you must wear appropriate regalia. Anyone without regalia will not be allowed to walk in the ceremony. The University Bookstore orders plenty of extras for students who did not place a pre-order. Contact the University Bookstore at 850.474.2150.

When will I receive my diploma?

  • Once your degree is placed in an awarded status it will be reflected on your transcript. Students earning a bachelor's degree or higher will receive a courtesy electronic diploma at no cost approximately 2 weeks following the degree award. All financial holds must be cleared before the diploma will be released. Email with any questions regarding diplomas. If you would like a hard copy of your diploma, visit How to Submit a Diploma Request.

What if I graduate during the Summer?

  • Summer graduates are invited to walk in either the Spring ceremony before or the Fall after graduating. Your name will appear in the Spring Commencement program as a prospective graduate and then in the Fall program as a graduate. While UWF only has two ceremonies, degrees are conferred all three semesters- spring, summer, and fall.

How can I get a Commencement program if I am unable to attend?

  • If there are any available programs afterward, you may email to obtain a copy. Please include the address you would like it to be sent as well as MAIL Program in the subject line.

Who do I contact about the pictures taken at Commencement?

  • Questions regarding pictures taken at the Commencement ceremonies should be directed to Grad Images.

I have family who may need assistance at the ceremony. Is there any available?

  • There is limited handicap parking available at the Pensacola Bay Center for cars with a parking permit. The Pensacola Bay Center does not supply wheelchairs so guests should bring their own if needed. Special seating is limited and on a first-come-first-serve basis. Volunteers will be stationed around the center to offer direction and assistance where needed.