Dillard University Commencement Guide

Graduation Requirements

DU students taking selfie at commencementIn order to participate in the Commencement exercise, you must be enrolled in ALL remaining required courses by the last day of the add/drop period during that semester.

Being enrolled in all required classes in the spring commencement semester but failing only one required course during that last semester will prevent you from participating in the commencement exercise. Withdrawal from any required courses will prevent you from participating in the commencement exercise.

This change in the marching policy does not affect the degree conferral policy. Degrees will continue to be conferred in May, August and December.

Each senior must have:

  • Met all requirements for the major as posted in catalog of entry.
  • Passed proficiency examinations, including writing proficiency and departmental comprehensives.Achieved a career grade point average of 2.0 on all work taken, and achieved a grade of “C” or better in all major courses attempted.
  • Completed the last 30 semester hours of coursework at Dillard.
  • Completed 30 clock hours of service learning.
  • Completed 90 clock hours of community service.
  • Completed degree audit application for graduation on file in the Office of Records and Registration.
  • Completed senior assessments (i.e., ETS Major Field Test and National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE).
  • Paid all financial indebtedness, including graduation fees, fines, and disciplinary sanctions. Any student with financial indebtedness to the University by graduation day will not receive a degree until the financial record is cleared and will not be permitted to march.

Commencement Ceremony Attire

The purpose of these guidelines are to ensure that each commencement participant upholds the standards of Dillard University while maintaining uniformity.

All robes must be wrinkle-free. Do not wash or dry-clean your robe, but it may be pressed with a cool iron or steamed.

Please adhere to the graduation cap guidelines:

Your cap should be worn so that the mortarboard is level. The mortarboard should neither be tilted, to the back nor on the side of the head. The front of the cap is indicated on the inside of the crown.

The crown should be approximately one inch above the eyebrow. 

The tassel is worn over the left temple. You will switch your tassel to the right when instructed during the ceremony.

Only wear stoles that have been authorized by the University may be worn during the commencement procession and recession. The University will provide name(s) of approved vendors.

The following are allowed to be worn during the commencement procession and recession:

  • Honors and honor society cords.
  • Student organization stoles, including fraternity or sorority stoles (chapter must be in good standing with the University).
  • Mr. and Miss Dillard stoles.


  • Black light weight dresses or pants are recommended.
  • Black closed toe shoes are recommended. Heels are permitted, but please note the uneven terrain of the Avenue of the Oaks as well as possible moisture.
  • No dangling earrings.
  • Also, no purses as there is no place to store them safely during the ceremony.


  • Black dress slacks (jackets are not required).
  • White shirt or white collared shirt.
  • Necktie or bow tie of choice.
  • Black shoes and socks.

Graduating seniors in inappropriate attire will not be allowed to participate in Commencement.

Policies and Procedures

Application for Graduation

Students who expect to receive a degree in May must register as a candidate for graduation in the Office of the Registrar by the specified date of that graduation year.

Certification For Degree Audits

It is the student’s responsibility to meet with the assigned faculty advisor immediately upon arriving on campus in the fall semester and to observe deadlines indicated in the most current version of the Academic Calendar. The audit of courses in the major is also in the University Catalog.

The degree audit is a valuable tool because it matches the courses that the student has taken with the requirements of his/her degree program. The degree audit is not the student’s official University academic record. However, the transcript is the official record of completed work and is kept in the Office of Records and Registration.

An unofficial transcript must be kept in the student’s folder with the degree audit, copies of student schedules, and all correspondence concerning the student. The degree audit should match the transcript. Both the registrar and the student’s advisor maintain student audits. The registrar sends the chair of the school an audit of the student’s transcript when the student submits an application for graduation to the Office of Records and Registration.

The school chair compares the registrar’s audit of the student’s transcript to the audit of the courses in the student’s major conducted by the student and his/her advisor. This audit must follow the student in the student’s folder which follows the student from the First Year Experience to his/her major academic program.

Step 1:
The process begins with the student and the assigned faculty advisor in the first weeks of the fall semester. When reviewing the certification for degree audit the student should consult with his/her advisor for several reasons. If the certification for degree audit identifies unfulfilled requirements, there are often several alternatives for satisfying these requirements.

The student and faculty advisor should discuss which courses to schedule based on the student’s abilities, interests, and plans. Advising is also needed in determining the best combinations of courses to schedule each semester in order to meet requirements.

In addition, advising is necessary because changes to the student’s audit may be appropriate. For example, when a course transfers from another institution and does not have an equivalent Dillard University course, it is listed on the audit as an elective. When reviewed, it may be found to meet a degree requirement.

Step 2:
After the student and assigned faculty advisor agree on the certification of degree audit, they both sign the audit and the advisor sends the form to the school chair for review.

Step 3:
After the school chair reviews the audits, he/she sends the degree audits to the college dean.

Step 4:
The college dean reviews, signs and sends the degree audits to the Office of Records and Registration for final review and approval.

Step 5:
The Office of Records and Registration will conduct the final certification of degree audit and send a list of graduating seniors and seniors who are found ineligible to graduate to the chairs and the college deans. Students who are found ineligible to graduate will be notified by email through their Dillard email address and instructed to re-file for a subsequent semester.

A copy of this letter will be sent to chairs. Students who do not receive a confirmation of graduation/status update by the posted date should email the Registrar at registrar@dillard.edu


The Office of Records and Registration distributes degrees. Degrees are not available until after they are conferred.

If you do not receive your degree on the day of graduation, you must contact the Office of Records and Registration to arrange receipt of your degree and complimentary transcript. All financial obligations (holds on your record) must be cleared before the Office of Records and Registration can release your transcript and degree.


Commencement ceremonies are held only in May. All May graduates are expected to attend commencement unless the Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs has approved the awarding of the degree in absentia.

Dillard University will be closed on Wednesday, June 19, in observance of Juneteenth and will reopen on Thursday, June 20, at 8 a.m.