As a degree-seeking student, you are required to apply for graduation by submitting a graduation application in GWeb.
This applies to all programs except Law (J.D., LL.M) and SMHS-Medicine (M.D.). If you’re a Law or Medicine student, you cannot apply for graduation through GWeb. Instead, please submit an Application for Graduation (PDF) to your dean’s office.
If you missed the deadline, submit a Late Application (PDF) to your dean’s office. You will be charged a $35 late fee.
The deadlines for this academic year are:
February 1: for students completing degree requirements in the spring semester
March 15: for summer applicants who are eligible to "walk through"
July 1: for students completing degree requirements in summer sessions
October 1: for students completing the degree requirements in the fall semester
If you missed your deadline, please submit a Late Application (PDF) to your dean’s office. You will be charged a $35 late fee.
Ticket Process and Distribution Schedule
Guests need tickets to attend University Commencement and individual ceremonies. Graduates receive six guest tickets for University Commencement, while the quantity of tickets for school celebrations varies. Tickets for both events are distributed by your school and the schedule and process vary for each.
Lost and Extra Tickets
If you lose your tickets and need them reissued, submit a letter stating your situation for review and approval. If you want extra tickets, you can submit a request to be added to the waitlist. Extra tickets will be distributed if they become available.
Regalia (Cap and Gown)
Wear your regalia to Commencement on the National Mall, school celebrations and individual recognition ceremonies, such as the Phi Beta Kappa Induction Ceremony and Doctoral Hooding Ceremony. You can keep your regalia, unless you are a doctoral candidate or SMHS-M.D. graduate, who rented it.
Law School graduates should contact the school to purchase your regalia. Doctoral candidates and SMHS-M.D. graduates can only rent regalia at the GW Campus Store, from May 11-14.
Update Your Address to Receive Your Diploma
Doctoral candidates can pick up diplomas the same day as University Commencement at Colonial Central from noon to 4:00 p.m. with a valid photo ID. You can also pick up diplomas at Colonial Central May 16-20, from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. (Monday-Thursday) and 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (Friday). Doctoral diplomas not picked up will be mailed to your diploma address. If you have a hold on your account you cannot pick up your diploma.
All other graduates will recieve diplomas by mail after Commencement. Diplomas are mailed to the graduate's online application or diploma address on file approximately 6-8 weeks after Commencement. If your address has changed, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Confirm Your Name is Correct for Your Diploma
Ensure that your diploma includes the correct name by visiting the Office of the Registrar at Colonial Central. If you need to change your name, complete a Name/SSN/DOB Change Form (PDF). You will also need to provide a government issued ID and/or birth certificate. If you are a distance learner who has never been employed at GW in any capacity and need to update your name, you can email your completed form.
Current or previous GW employees
If you are currently or have ever been an employee of GW (student worker, GTA, etc.), visit the Faculty and Staff Service Center to check for accuracy. If you need to change your name, you need to provide your Social Security card. Distance learners who have worked for GW must still visit the center to change their name.
Diplomas take approximately 6-8 weeks to be mailed after Commencement. Once this happens, names can no longer be changed.
Make Your Senior Class Gift
The Senior Class Gift Campaign, a tradition at GW since the 1980s, encourages you to leave an imprint on the university with a gift to an area of your choice. The Class of 2016 hopes to have 60% of the class give a donation.
Learn About the Alumni Association
After you graduate you automatically become a member of the GW Alumni Association. As a lifetime member, you’ll be able to continue to engage with fellow graduates, current students and the GW community and help to build a culture of philanthropy.
Donate Items When You Move Out
Participate in the Green Move-Out by donating items you would otherwise throw away. All items will be bagged and donated to local charities.
Julia Haigney, 2016 Student Speaker
GW Law student Julia Haigney, B.A. ’11, J.D. ’16, named 2016 Commencement Student Speaker.
Enter Student Speaker Competition
Up to 10 finalists are invited to audition in front of the competition judges. The competition is now closed. The deadline to submit materials was 11:59 p.m. on Monday, February 29, 2016.
Take Your Cherry Tree Portrait
If you’d like to have a portrait taken by Victor O’Neill Studios, you will need to pay a $30 sitting fee. If you pay the fee, you will receive a free The Cherry Tree yearbook. Photo packages of your portrait can also be ordered.
Purchase Celebration DVDs
Commencement on the National Mall and school celebrations are videoed and a DVD of the events can be purchased.
Purchase Professional Photos
Photos will be taken of you by a professional photographer when you cross the stage during your school celebration. You will receive an email link and a free passport-sized digital proof of your photos three to seven days after your school celebration. You have the option to purchase the photos.
Shop for Graduation Keepsakes
Herff Jones, Inc. offers several graduation keepsakes including personalized announcements to send to your friends and family, diploma frames to display your diploma and class rings to showcase your GW affiliation. You can also visit the GW Campus Store to purchase other graduation keepsakes and GW memorabilia.