Graduation and Commencement

We are excited about this transition as you finish your undergraduate career and transition to graduate school or your next career step!  This page has several helpful resources to assist you.

Winter Commencement Events

Commencement for Doctoral, Master’s and Bachelor’s Degree candidates will be held on December 17, 2017 at 10:00am, at the Kohl Center. More information about commencement, including how graduates should register to attend the ceremony, can be found at

International Studies Major Commencement Ceremony, May 2017

Important Websites

Graduation Check– This page describes the process by which IS Majors should check that their degree requirements have been met with the IS Major Advisor.

Apply to Graduate– This page describes the process by which UW-Madison students must apply to graduate.

Diplomas– This page provides information about when and where you will receive your diploma.

Commencement– This page provides general commencement information for UW-Madison.

L&S Commencement Information– This page provides commencement information specific to the College of Letters and Science.

University Bookstore– This page will link you to the UW-Madison University Bookstore that provides purchase and rental information for commencement cap and gowns.  Please note the deadlines for purchasing and renting.

Frequently Asked Questions

How are graduation and commencement different?

Graduation is the fulfillment of all your degree requirements as indicated by your transcripts and commencement is the party we all have in your honor.

Do I need to attend commencement to graduate?

No, you do not need to attend commencement to graduate.  You will graduate when your degree requirements are complete.

My parents really want to attend commencement but I still need to take a summer class, what should I do?

You can attend commencement before you graduate (for example, you might attend commencement in May but take 1 or 2 summer classes to complete your degree requirements and graduate in August).

How do I know if I am eligible to graduate?

Please see the information about graduation requirements here.

How do I apply to graduate?

Please see the demo and information provided by the Office of the Registrar.

Where can I located information about commencement?

You can locate general information about commencement activities here and specific information about L&S commencement activities here.  Please click on the following links for information about parking, your diploma, and ordering or renting a cap and gown from the University Bookstore.

Does the IS Major do anything special?

Yes, the IS Major hosts a celebration for all IS Major students (Fall, Summer, and Winter graduates) the week before Spring Commencement.  Further information will be provided to students in the Spring Semester.

Do students need to RSVP for the IS Major celebration?

We strongly encourage you to RSVP so that the IS Major can order the proper amount of food.  RSVP information will be sent out in the spring semester.

Can parents attend the IS Major celebration?

Yes, parents are welcome but we ask that they (or their student) RSVP so that we can have enough food. RSVP information will be sent out in the spring semester.

When do I get my diploma?

You will get your diploma in the mail; you will find specific information about your diploma here.

Why haven’t I received my diploma?

Diplomas are mailed out approximately eight (8) weeks after your school/college has notified the Office of the Registrar that you have completed all your degree requirements. Diplomas are NOT mailed out for students who have a hold(s) on their record.  For more information please click here.

I need something that states I graduated for my visa or future employer but I don’t have my diploma yet, what should I do?

You should request a Degree Verification Letter from the Office of the Registrar.

I am a parent, where can I find additional information about commencement?

Please see the FAQ page for commencement.

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