Instructions for Graduates+

Cap and Gown Instructions

For those who did not attend the grad fair and are attending your commencement ceremony, be sure to order your cap and gown – there is no charge. 

  • The last day to order is April 2.
  • The website for ordering is Cap and gown orders will be sent to the Registrar's Office and you will be contacted by email when they arrive.
  • If you want to order announcements, rings or graduation memorabilia, click here  to go to Signature Announcements.   
  • Stacy Jones Photography will honor the prices he gave at the Grad Fair at their studio if you wish to have a picture made.

Appropriate Dress Attire

  • Ladies are asked to wear an appropriate ‘Sunday’ dress or dress pants with comfortable dress shoes. No flip flops allowed.
  • Men are asked to wear dark dress pants and a dress shirt and tie.  Please wear black, brown, or navy blue shoes that match your pants.  No flip flops allowed.
  • Mortarboards are not to be decorated in any way. 
  • Only appropriately approved Honor Cords and Honor Medallions will be allowed at Commencement, including officially recognized cords and medallions of local chapters of national honor societies.

The Day of Your Ceremony

Special Information for Divinity and CHS graduate students on May 4:

  • Divinity students will have a separate ceremony in Hodges Chapel. For more information, contact the Beeson Divinity School.
  • CHS graduates (Masters and Doctoral students) ceremony will be in the Pete Hanna Center - report to the lobby 1 hour before the ceremony to receive your line-up card and your hood. You will then line up downstairs on the same level as the basketball court. Staff marshals will show you where to line up and will help you learn how to place your hood over your left arm.
  • For CHS Graduates in the Pete Hanna Center, your tassels should be on the right side. This will keep the tassel out of your face for the photographer.

On the day of your ceremony, all graduates (except for Divinity and CHS students) should report to the Brock Recital Hall 1 hour before your ceremony.

  • Receive your Authorization Card:  The number on the red circle indicates your position in line. 
  • Graduate students will receive their hoods in the Brock Recital Hall.
  • Do not write on the side of the card that has your name on it.  You are to complete the reverse side of the authorization card for the photographer so that complimentary proofs of your graduation pictures can be emailed to you.
  • Please do not bring cameras, purses, etc. to Commencement, as you will not be able to keep them with you. No one will be available to watch your personal items during Commencement.  Silence watches, pagers, phones, etc. before entering the Wright Center or Pete Hanna Center.
  • Faculty Marshals will lead you into the ceremony. Please note that AUTHORIZATION CARDS will be checked several times.  Please show the front side of your authorization card to the Faculty Marshal as you are being seated. Fill in all seats and remain standing for the invocation.
  • For ceremonies in the Wright Center -Mortarboards/TAMS are to be worn during the processional with the tassel on the left side due to the taping and photographing of the ceremony. Leave the tassel on the left side at all times, even after receiving your degree. Gentlemen, remove your mortarboard/tam for the invocation and leave it off until the conferring of degrees.  Everyone will wear the mortarboard/tam during the processional, receipt of your degree from President Westmoreland and recessional. For CHS graduates in the Pete Hanna Center, your tassels should be on the right side.
  • At the time for CONFERRING OF DEGREES you will hear:  "Will the candidates for all degrees (Juris Doctor Degree) please rise."  You will then be presented to the President who will confer the degree upon you.
  • When the President instructs, a Faculty Marshal will lead the first two rows backstage to the platform. All other rows will remain seated. At the platform, give your AUTHORIZATION CARD to the Dean. Do not go back to your seat if you have forgotten your card. Please let one of the Staff Marshals know. They will be assisting the graduates in the line-up area.
  • Once you ascend the stage, pause next to the podium by the name reader and wait until your name is called in its entirety before moving forward to receive your diploma from the President. Masters and doctoral degree graduates will be hooded on stage and then be directed back to your seat.  A Faculty Marshal will motion for the next two rows to stand, continuing the process until all degrees are awarded.  The recessional will be led by a Faculty Marshal.  
  • After Ceremony:  You may keep your regalia.

Family and Friends

  • Parking for the event will be in designated areas. Handicapped parking is available.  Public Safety will assist in directing traffic to/from these areas. The doors will open 1 hour before your commencement ceremony begins.
  • Commencement will be live-streamed and then available for viewing approximately three weeks after graduation. Family and friends will not be permitted to photograph or video tape during the ceremony.
  • We also respectfully request their cooperation in making this a memorable day for all graduates and their families by silencing all watches, pagers, phones etc. during the ceremony, and to hold their applause and other congratulatory noises until all graduates have received their diplomas. We sincerely want each graduate to be recognized with decorum, dignity, and respect. We ask instead for your family and friends to stand when your name is called and you cross the stage. 

Application for Degree+

Graduation Candidates

Application for Degree

All students must complete the above form. Your application determines how your name will appear on your diploma, your diploma mailing address, and whether or not your name appears on the commencement program. Students should check their Samford email accounts for communications from our office.

Graduate List for Fall 2018

The degree conferral date for most Fall 2018 graduates will be Saturday, December 15, 2018.

Divinity students will have a conferral date of TBA.

A list of Fall graduation candidates will be posted sometime Fall 2018:

December 2018 Graduation Candidates sorted by Alpha (not yet available)

December 2018 Graduation Candidates sorted by Department (not yet available)

Graduation Activities and Events

Information for Fall 2018 Graduation Activities & Events will be added soon!

Activities and Events for Spring Commencement, 2018

Additional commencement-related activities will be added as information becomes available. A typical commencement ceremony should last about one and a half hours but individual ceremony times may vary. 

Graduation Fair - Bulldog Blastoff!

WHEN: Tuesday, March 20, 10am-5pm
WHERE: Pete Hanna Center
WHAT: Graduation candidates will receive cap and gowns, may order announcements and cap/gown portraits, and can ensure they are all set for commencement. Door prizes, a photo booth, and free food highlight the day's activities. Students may order graduation announcements, class rings, and memorabilia here. Cap and gown portrait information is available here.
CONTACT: Office of the Registrar, 726-2732

Prayer Breakfast

WHEN: Friday, May 11, 7:30am-9am
WHERE: Cafeteria, University Center
WHAT: Prayer Breakfast for all Graduating Students

Divinity Commencement Ceremony

WHEN: 11am, Friday, May 4
WHERE: Hodges Chapel

Spring 2018 Commencement Times:

WHO: College of Health Sciences, Graduate Students
WHEN: 2:00 pm, Friday, May 4
WHERE: Pete Hanna Center

WHO: Business
WHEN: 11:30 am, Friday, May 11
WHERE: Wright Center

WHO: College of Health Sciences, Undergraduates
WHEN: 3:30 pm, Friday, May 11
WHERE: Wright Center

WHO: Law
WHEN: 6:30 pm, Friday, May 11
WHERE: Wright Center

WHO: Arts and Sciences
WHEN: 10:00 am, Saturday, May 12
WHERE: Wright Center

WHO: School of the Arts and School of Education
WHEN: 2:00 pm, Saturday, May 12
WHERE: Wright Center

Graduation Questions

My name doesn’t appear on the graduation list. Why not?

The list of graduation candidates is posted periodically throughout the semester and represents the list of students for whom Office of the Registrar has received a completed application for undergraduate degree (if an undergraduate student) and a signed degree audit/grad check from the student’s advisor. Students will not appear on the list of graduation candidates for one or more of the following reasons:

  • They have not completed an application for undergraduate degree. (Does not apply to graduate students.)
  • They lack substitutions, waivers, degree audits/grad checks
  • They have Incomplete grades from prior terms. (Incomplete grades affect inclusion on the list only in certain circumstances.)
  • They need more than 20 convocation credits (Does not apply to graduate or Evening College students.)
  • They have been approved to walk early in the current commencement ceremony, but are not scheduled to complete their degree until the following semester.

Why do I need to apply for graduation?

You must apply for graduation in order to generate a degree audit/grad check from your advisor. He/she will review your coursework against either a department check list or a degree audit generated by Office of the Registrar. After the review, and if the student is on track to graduate that semester, the advisor will send the signed degree audit/grad check to the Office of the Registrar. See below for application deadlines.

The application for graduation also collects valuable information, such as:

  • The name you want printed on your diploma
  • Your hometown and state (or country) for the commencement program and newspaper notification
  • An indication to us whether you plan to pick up your diploma or if you want us to mail it to you (and to which address), when it’s ready
  • Confirmation of the degree(s), major(s) (and concentration, if applicable), and minor(s) that you are pursuing

What are the deadlines to apply for graduation?

See the table below for application deadlines. Deadlines will be adjusted if they fall on a weekend or holiday.

Undergraduate Application Deadlines
Anticipated Graduation TermDeadline
Fall April 1
Spring October 1
Summer February 15
Graduate Application Deadlines
Anticipated Graduation TermDeadline
Fall October 1
Spring March 1
Summer July 1


Why are the deadlines for graduation so far in advance of the actual graduation term?

Since the application for graduation generates the request for a degree audit/grad check, the early deadline is needed for several reasons:

  1. It allows your advisor time to review your degree audit and submit his/her final evaluation.
  2. Once the review is complete and you’ve received a graduation evaluation from the Office of the Registrar informing you of your status (hopefully before the start of the semester in which you plan to graduate), it allows you time to adjust your class schedule, if necessary, so you can complete all graduation requirements on time.

If the graduation application is filed after the deadline, it may result in the degree audit/grad check and subsequent graduation evaluation letter being processed late, which may not allow you time to adjust your class schedule in that final semester to address any outstanding degree requirement issues. If you have submitted your graduation application by the posted deadline, but have not received an evaluation of your status (sent by e-mail) listing the requirements needed to complete your degree before the start of your final semester, please check with your advisor and/or Office of the Registrar to determine the status of your degree audit/grad check.

How do I get a degree audit/grad check?

If you are an undergraduate student, completion of the application for graduation will generate a request to your advisor for a degree check/grad check. You can certainly contact your advisor directly, but the application is the preferred starting point.

If you are a graduate student, the department/graduate school representative will submit a list of graduation candidates to the Office of the Registrar.

How often will the list be updated on the Web? Will it be posted again after the ceremony?

The list of graduation candidates will be updated a couple of times throughout the semester. Due to the dynamic nature of the list (names added or deleted, details revised daily), it cannot be updated every day or every week. We attempt to post a more complete list approximately two weeks before commencement, but the list will not be updated again after the ceremony.

What color tassel do I wear? When do I get it?

You can pick up your tassel when you pick up your cap and gown. Otherwise, tassels are available from the Office of the Registrar, Samford Hall 214.

Tassel Colors
College/School/DepartmentTassel Color
Arts & Sciences Gold
Arts, School of the Brown
Business Light Brown
Divinity Scarlet
Education Light Blue
Environmental Science Gold
Evening College Black
Health Professions Kelly Green
Law Purple
Music (Division) Pink
Nursing Apricot
Pharmacy Olive
Pre-Pharmacy Black
Public Health Citron

Do I get to wear a cord? If not, why? If so, where do I get the cord?

Cords are for students in university-approved honors programs (not for students who earn Latin honors), as listed below. Cords are distributed by the honor society/organization. Students bring the cords with them to commencement to wear with their caps and gowns. FYI: Cords, sashes, and emblems associated with social or leadership fraternities and sororities may not be worn at commencement.

Samford University-Approved Honors Organizations

Alpha Epsilon Delta (Pre-Health)
Alpha Lambda Delta (Freshmen)
Alpha Sigma Lambda (Evening College)
Dobro Slovo (Slavic Studies)
Omicron Delta Kappa (Leadership and Service)
Order of Omega (Greek Leadership and Service)
Phi Kappa Phi (Academic Achievement)

Howard College of Arts and Sciences
Biology—Beta Beta Beta
Classics—Eta Sigma Phi
Communication Studies—Lambda Pi Eta
English—Sigma Tau Delta
Geography—Gamma Theta Upsilon
History—Phi Alpha Theta
Journalism/Mass Communication—Kappa Tau Alpha
Mathematics—Pi Mu Epsilon
Philosophy—Phi Sigma Tau
Political Science—Pi Sigma Alpha
Psychology—Psi Chi
Religion—Theta Alpha Kappa
Sociology—Alpha Kappa Delta
World Languages and Cultures—
Pi Delta Phi (French)
Delta Phi Alpha (German)
Sigma Delta Pi (Spanish)

School of the Arts
Music—Delta Omicron; Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia
Theatre—Alpha Psi Omega

Brock School of Business
Business (General)—Beta Gamma Sigma
Accounting, Finance—Beta Alpha Psi
Economics—Omicron Delta Epsilon

Orlean Bullard Beeson School of Education
Teacher Education—Kappa Delta Pi

Ida V. Moffett School of Nursing
Sigma Theta Tau

McWhorter School of Pharmacy
Rho Chi
Phi Lamda Sigma
Omicron Delta Kappa

How do I arrange for graduation announcements, caps, and gowns?

The Office of the Registrar holds a graduation fair (Bulldog Blastoff!) approximately two months before commencement at which time students can make arrangements for these items. If you happen to miss the fair, there is a final deadline for getting measured for a cap and gown (approximately two to three weeks before commencement). Announcements can be ordered through Signature Announcements.

How many guests can I invite to the commencement ceremony? How do I get tickets?

We do not have unlimited seating for guests, but you may invite a reasonable number of guests. Seating is first-come, first-served.  We do not issue tickets for the ceremony.

Why do I need to let the registrar know I won’t be attending the commencement ceremony?

Attendance at commencement is required unless there are mitigating circumstances that would lead to approval to be graduated in absentia.

Will my major and minor be printed on my diploma?

No, only your degree and any honors (cum laude, magna cum laude, and summa cum laude) you may have earned will appear on your diploma.  Your major(s) and minor(s), however, will appear on your official Samford transcript.

How are honors (Latin honors) determined?

Latin honors are awarded on the basis of all academic work taken at Samford University. Students who earn at least 70 credits at Samford and a grade point average (calculated on all work done at Samford University) of 3.500 through 3.749 are graduated cum laude; of 3.750 through 3.899 are graduated magna cum laude; and of 3.900 through 4.000 are graduated summa cum laude. Please note, however, that Latin honors cannot be calculated in time for the actual ceremony since grades are not due until the week following commencement. If Latin honors are called out for you at the ceremony, they will be an estimate of your final GPA.

GPA Required for Latin Honors
Latin HonorsGPA Range
cum laude 3.500–3.749
magna cum laude 3.750–3.899
summa cum laude 3.900–4.000

How can I make sure my name is correct on my diploma? What about my hometown on the commencement program?

Students have the opportunity to provide accurate name and hometown information when they complete the application for undergraduate degree.

All graduation candidates are encouraged to check their Samford e-mail accounts throughout the term for notes from the Office of the Registrar regarding graduation information.

I know the semester isn’t over yet, but I need a letter (for insurance purposes, loan, etc.) stating that I’m on track to complete my degree this term. How can I get such a letter?

Your academic dean may be able to provide such a letter.

I’ve discovered a mistake on my printed diploma (name misspelled, degree incorrect, etc.). How can I get that fixed?

Please contact Office of the Registrar at 205-726-2911 or by e-mail regarding the error.  Diplomas printed in error will be replaced at no charge, but students need to allow two months for the replacement diploma to be ready.

I need an additional copy of my diploma or my original diploma was damaged or lost. How can I get a duplicate or replacement diploma?

For a $50 charge (check or money order), duplicate or replacement diplomas can be requested. Please allow at least one month for the replacement diploma to be ready. 

How to request a duplicate or replacement diploma

I need a transcript showing my degree. How soon after commencement can I get a copy with the degree?

Degrees will be posted the week following commencement.  You can make a request for a transcript at any time (online through the Portal, in person, or by mail)—indicating that it should wait for degree posting—but realize that it won’t be printed until late in the week following commencement.  For December commencement, Office of the Registrar makes every effort to mail transcripts with final grades and degrees prior to the Christmas break, but please keep in mind the volume of mail at that time of year (especially if you are trying to meet an early January deadline).

I didn’t get my diploma at the ceremony. When/how will I get my diploma?

Since grades are not due until the week following commencement, actual diplomas are no longer given out at the commencement ceremony (just diploma covers). You will be contacted via email when your diploma is ready to be shipped.

Diploma Availability after Graduation
You Graduated in...Your Diploma will be Ready…
December February
May July
August mid-October

I filled out a card for a photo company at the ceremony? What’s that about?

The photo company will be contacting you with proofs of your graduation pictures.

Directions and Maps

Seating in any Samford commencement ceremonies are on a first-come, first-served basis. Each venue will be opened approximately one hour before the commencement proceedings.  

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