graduates toss caps in the air after ceremony ends
Graduates toss caps in the air after Commencement ends

 Below is a list of FAQs regarding commencement versus graduation. 


IMPORTANT NOTICE: You must be a degree candidate to receive communications regarding Commencement. For information on how to apply for graduation, please visit our Graduation Information page. If you did not submit a graduation application, please contact Official communications regarding Commencement information will be sent to student email accounts from commencement



Q: What is a degree candidate? 

A: A degree candidate is a student who applied for graduation by submitting a graduation application.


Q: Do I need to submit a graduation application to receive information about Commencement?

A: Yes. Please work with your advisor to submit a graduation application. You must also apply for graduation to receive your degree.


Q: Can I order my regalia now while I wait for RSVP information in March? 

A: Yes! You can order your regalia through Herff Jones now. The first deadline to order your regalia is 3/28/2023. After this date, shipping costs will increase from $16.95 to $24.95. Caps, tassels, stoles and cords are yours to keep.  Gowns and hoods need to be returned. If your regalia is shipped to you, it will come with a return label. If you have any questions, please reach out to Herff Jones directly by clicking the "Contact" button on the order link above. If you are purchasing additional cords/stoles/tassels, please reach out to the University of Montana Bookstore. 


Q: Is graduation the same thing as Commencement.

A: While these words are often used interchangeable, they are not the same. Graduation is the process by which an academic credential is applied to a student’s record. Commencement is a ceremony held to celebrate those who are expected to receive a degree or certificate.


Q: Does attending Commencement mean I earned my degree?

A: No. Degrees are conferred at a later date after grades have rolled to student accounts and all degree requirements have been evaluated by a graduation coordinator or specialist on campus.


Q: Will I receive my degree at Commencement?

A: No. Degrees are conferred later. Degree Candidates receive a diploma cover that can be used to hold your diploma. Diplomas are mailed to the diploma mailing address listed on your graduation application.

Please note that applying for graduation means you are applying for an academic credential (i.e degree/certificate). Commencement is the ceremony held to celebrate UM’s graduating class. The commencement ceremony is a celebration and does not imply conferral of a degree.


Q: Is there a Commencement rehearsal for students 

A: No.We do not have a rehearsal for students, however we encourage degree candidates walking in a Commencement to watch this video from KPCN on what to expect as a degree candidate.