Frequently Asked Questions about Graduation and Commencement

Q: What is the difference between Graduation and Commencement?  
A: Graduation is confirmation you have met all degree requirements.  Commencement is an annual ceremony for students who have or are expected to graduate in the current or next semester.

Q: What do I need to do to graduate? Isn’t it automatic?
A: Students who have completed 45 credit hours or more should meet with an academic advisor to determine what requirements must be met in order to graduate. The student may then complete an Application for Graduation via HawkNet.

Q: Is there a fee for graduation?
A: No, there is no fee or cost to graduate.

Q: When can I apply for graduation? Is there a deadline?
A:The deadline dates to apply for graduation are as follows:
2/15/2016 - Graduate Application Deadline for names to appear in the 2015-2016 Commencement Program
4/15/2016 - Spring 2016 Graduation Application Deadline
7/15/2016 - Summer 2016 Graduation Application Deadline

Q: Is there a graduation ceremony (commencement) each term?
A: HCC has only one graduation ceremony (commencement) which takes place on the first Friday in May. Graduates and candidates who graduate during any term in the academic year (September through August) should consider participating.

Q: Is there a limit to the number of family members and friends I can invite to commencement? Do they need to show an invitation to get in?
A: Currently, HCC does not limit the number of guests nor do they require an invitation for admission.

Q: Where do I go to purchase a cap and gown?
A: The HCC Bookstores located on each campus sell caps and gowns, honor cords and graduation invitations. These items are usually available in late March and the cost varies.  More specific information will be posted each spring.

Q: When will I receive my diploma?
A: Diplomas are printed and mailed approximately four to six weeks after a student has been graduated. It is the responsibility of the student to have a correct permanent address on file. Updates can be made at:
Q: If I lost my diploma or HCC did not have my current address, can I order a replacement diploma?
A: Yes, you may complete the Duplicate Diploma Request Form and follow the instructions for processing.
Q: How will I receive graduation or commencement notices or information?
A: All information is either posted on the HCC website or sent to the student via Hawk email. 

Q: How do I prove I have a degree?
A: An official transcript with the student's degree credential is the only legal document.  The diploma is a wall display for decorative or ceremonial purposes.