Congratulations! You're almost there: undergraduate graduation. These pages will provide useful information for navigating the process; if you don't find what you're seeking, email our office or call: 734.764.6274.
To obtain information for families/visitors regarding commencement ceremonies, please see our Events page.
With a few exceptions, like Math and Computer Science, graduation with Honors requires the completion of a Senior Honors thesis. This consists of detailed, original research in your chosen field. It is normally completed during the senior year. Length and format requirements vary by department. Thesis research and writing is normally done under the direction of a professor who shares the student's areas of interest.
Many departments require their honors majors to register for special seminars and independent study research courses. Other departments don't have these courses, so their students can choose to enroll in Honors 490. Since thesis research and writing often extends beyond one term, your advisor may assign you a "Y" grade for the term or terms prior to completion. This simply means "extended course" or "work in progress." Upon the completion of your thesis, one letter grade will be assigned for all the terms involved. Unlike an "I" (for an incomplete), the "Y" does not remain on your record.
Honors students have the option of using their senior theses to fulfill the Upper Level Writing Requirement (ULWR). If the student intends to use this option, an Honors Thesis Intent Form for the ULWR must be filled out by the student and their thesis advisor. The form is available in the Honors Office, on the Forms page of the Honors website, or at the Sweetland Writing Center (SWC). Return the completed form to the Honors Office for approval and it will be forwarded to the SWC for processing. This form should be completed by the third week of the term in which you plan to complete your thesis. Completion of the requirement hinges on satisfactory completion of the thesis itself, so you may want to select another ULWR course if there is any possibility you will decide not to complete your work.
Deadlines and procedures for evaluating senior theses also vary by department. Some departments have a committee that evaluates all theses, whereas others are based primarily on the judgment of the student's advisor and the departmental honors advisor.
Once the thesis has been evaluated, The department will send one of four possible recommendations to the Honors Office: No Honors, Honors, High Honors, or Highest Honors. "No Honors" is given for work that does not meet departmental standards, and for students with cumulative GPAs under 3.4. The other three will be posted on your official transcript and diploma. These are separate from the Distinction awards, which are also posted on graduates' diplomas and transcripts. "Distinction" is awarded on the basis of the student's final cumulative GPA. "Highest Distinction" is given to the top 3% of the graduating class, "High Distinction" is given to those in the 4-10% of the graduating class, and "Distinction" is given to those in the 11-25% of the graduating class.
Here are some questions we hear most frequently regarding graduation. Please take a look and familiarize yourself with the process. If you do not see your question answered here, you may email the Honors Academic Auditor, Jacquelyn Turkovich (firstname.lastname@example.org).
- I haven’t gotten my Senior Audit yet – what do I need to do?
- One of my release forms says I need a class that I’m no longer taking. Do I need a new audit?
- I no longer want to pursue my minor (or second major or certificate program). What should I do?
- I applied for the wrong graduation date – or my plans have changed and I am graduating earlier/later than originally anticipated. Do I need to do anything?
- I’m graduating in August, can I still participate in the Spring Commencement?
- When & where is Honors Graduation?
- How long does Honors Graduation last?
- Is there a limit to how many guests I can bring to Honors Graduation?
- When will Honors Graduation Tickets be available?
- When will campus-wide Commencement tickets be available?
- Do I have to wear a cap & gown to Honors Graduation?
- Do I need to buy the “Honors” Cords at the bookstore?
- Another graduation event conflicts with Honors Graduation. Can I still get my cords & certificate?
All LSA students must receive an Official Senior Audit in order to be eligible to graduate. You have to have 1) applied for graduation in Wolverine Access and 2) have release forms submitted for every major/minor/supplemental studies program you have declared. Once all of those items are received, you will be put in the queue for an audit. Within 2-4 weeks you will receive an Official Senior Audit email from the Honors Academic Auditor, Jacquelyn Turkovich (email@example.com).
YES. You must have a departmental advisor submit a new release form. Once that is received, you will be put back in the queue and will receive an updated audit.
Email a request to remove the program to the Honors Academic Auditor, Jacquelyn Turkovich (firstname.lastname@example.org).
I applied for the wrong graduation date – or my plans have changed and I am graduating earlier/later than originally anticipated. Do I need to do anything?
YES. Once students have applied for graduation in Wolverine Access, they cannot make changes to their graduation date. If you need to change your graduation date, you can send the request via email to the Honors Academic Auditor, Jacquelyn Turkovich (email@example.com).
YES. There are no commencement activities in August. Summer degree-candidates can choose to attend the previous Spring ceremony or the following December’s. There is nothing special you need to do in order to be eligible to walk at Spring Commencement. You will, however, want to check www.commencement.umich.edu periodically for information regarding Graduation Ticket Pick-up and other commencement related news.
Please use this link for Honors Graduation Events.
Honors Graduation lasts between an hour and an hour & a half. There is a faculty speaker, three student speakers, and the presentation of Honors Cords & Certificates. All Honors graduates have their names read as they walk across the stage to shake hands with the Honors Director and receive their cords & certificate. (Plenty of photo ops for Mom & Dad, too!)
NO! The more, the merrier. We do ask that you pick up Honors Graduation tickets, though, so we can plan appropriately. However, please note that there is a limit for tickets to the Spring Commencement at the Big House on Saturday. See www.commencement.umich.edu for details about campus-wide commencement.
By mid-April, at the latest. We will update this section as we get closer to graduation.
Please visit www.commencement.umich.edu for details about the campus-wide Spring Commencement. If you have questions, please select “Helpful Contact Info” on their website.
Academic Attire (cap & gown) is required of all graduates who plan to participate in the campus-wide Spring Commencement. Academic attire is strongly recommended, but not required for Honors Graduation. The majority of Honors graduates opt to wear a cap & gown. Attire is available for purchase at Barnes & Noble @ UM (in the Union) and Ulrich’s Bookstore.
You cannot purchase genuine Honors cords: you can only be given them by the Honors Program. (They are handed out at Honors Graduation.) The cords available at the bookstores are cords for distinction (GPA) and for the various honors societies and service organizations. There is no limit to the number of cords you may wear when you graduate, so feel free to purchase the other cords you’ve earned along with the Honors cords we’ll present to you.
The maize cords at the bookstores are for graduates who earn Distinction/High Distinction/Highest Distinction. The College of LSA does not award Latin Honors (cum laude, etc.). Instead, degrees ‘with distinction’ are awarded on the basis of rank in class. Students who have completed at least 58 credits in residence, at least 45 of which are “graded” (A+ to D-), and rank in the top 3% of their class are recommended for a degree “with Highest Distinction.” Those students who rank in the top 10% of their class, but not in the top 3%, are recommended for a degree “with High Distinction.” Those students who rank in the top 25% of their class, but not in the top 10%, are recommended for a degree “with Distinction.” A notation is made on the diploma and the transcript. The GPA ranges for the distinction notations are determined each May, based on the cumulative GPAs of LSA graduates of that May degree period. Those same numbers are used for the August and December degree periods of that calendar year.
So, Winter 2014 distinction ranges will not be calculated until all grades are posted for all graduates for the Winter 2014 term. Yes, this means you will not officially know at the time you participate in commencement activities. How do you know whether or not you should buy maize distinction cords they sell at the bookstores? The GPA ranges don’t fluctuate all that much from year to year, so take a look at last year's ranges:
The ranges for 2013 were:
Highest Distinction: 3.940-4.000
High Distinction: 3.847-3.939
While we are sorry to hear that you won’t be at Honors Graduation, we will have another opportunity for you to celebrate your accomplishments with us. All graduates & their families are invited to attend the Honors Graduation Open House on Friday, May 2 from 1:30-3:30pm in the Perlman Honors Commons (Ground Floor, Mason Hall). There will be light refreshments, great conversation, a fun atmosphere – and tables set up for graduates to pick up their cords & certificates.
With only a few exceptions, like Math and Computer Science, graduation with Honors requires the successful completion of a Senior Honors thesis. If you are not completing an Honors plan in any department, you must complete a Transfer from Honors (form linked), so that your record is accurate and your file and graduation paperwork can be released to the LSA Academic Auditors in G255 Angell Hall. They will process your senior audit and graduation certification. Here is the link to their website regarding graduation procedures: Newnan Advising Center - Applying for Graduation.
If you are in the Residential College (RC), even if you are completing an Honors plan, the RC will process your senior audit and graduation certification. All materials should be submitted to Charles Murphy, 133 Tyler House, East Quad. However, you should submit an Honors Graduation Card:
- Students must apply for graduation on Wolverine Access. Click on Student Business > Degree Progress/Graduation > Apply for Graduation, and then follow the prompts.
- In addition to applying for graduation online, students must also meet with departmental advisors to submit Major and Minor releases for each major and minor they have declared. All releases should be submitted to the Honors Program. Changes to an original release must be approved and submitted by the departmental advisor.
Once all of your releases and your completed online application are received, the Honors Academic Auditor will send your Official Senior Audit to your umich.edu e-mail account. Generally, it takes one to two weeks to process your audit. Please note that at certain times of the year (January, May, August, October, and November) we experience a high volume of requests and audit processing can take up to three or four weeks.
Your Official Senior Audit is an official University document. Please read it thoroughly and keep it for your records; the information in your audit is used to certify your graduation. If you have questions or believe there is a mistake in your audit, please e-mail the Honors Academic Auditor, Jacquelyn Turkovich. (Please note that the online degree audit on Wolverine Access is a useful tool, but is is NOT an official degree audit. The only official audit is the one that you receive from the Senior Auditor in the Honors office.) It is your responsibility to make sure your remaining courses will satisfy the unfulfilled requirements listed in your audit.
If you are taking courses for a major or minor other than the ones listed in your audit (i.e., you have made a change in how you are fulfilling a major’s requirements), have your major advisor submit an updated release.
All Honors seniors (including RC students who are also Honors concentrators) should fill out a Honors Graduation Card for graduation to ensure that you and your family will be invited to the Honors Graduation Ceremony.
Remember, if you are intending to use your thesis to fulfill the Upper Level Writing Requirement (ULWR), you must submit the Honors Thesis Intent Form for the ULWR to the Honors Program. This form must be signed by you and your thesis advisor. Honors will endorse your form and forward it to the Sweetland Writing Center (SWC) for processing
If you applied for the wrong graduation date on Wolverine Access or your plans have changed and you need to defer your graduation, you must notify the Honors Academic Auditor in writing. Please send an e-mail from your umich account: include your name, UM ID number, and new graduation date. If you are deferring because you plan to complete another major or minor, remember to submit a release for the new major or minor.
ATTENDING A COMMENCEMENT CEREMONY DOES NOT MEAN THAT YOU HAVE OFFICIALLY GRADUATED.
Once all of your final grades appear on your transcript, your record is evaluated to verify that you have met all degree requirements. If your graduation has been denied, you will receive e-mail notification.
Once your degree is conferred, it will appear on your official and unofficial transcripts. Conferral happens in late May. If you need verification of your graduation prior to the end of May (for an employer or graduate school, for example), contact Jacquelyn Turkovich. After degrees are conferred, however, only the Registrar's Office can provide letters of graduation verification. If your degree has been conferred and you need verification, contact the Office of the Registrar at 734-763-9066.
There are three graduation periods every year - April, August, and December - but only two campus-wide commencement ceremonies: Spring Commencement (at the conclusion of the Winter term), and Fall Commencement (in December). August (Summer) graduates are eligible to participate in either the Spring or the December ceremony.
The Honors Program has its own graduation ceremony and reception each year during the Spring Commencement activities. Here is a link to our Events feed for specific times and dates.
For campus-wide ceremony information, visit www.umich.edu/~gradinfo.