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Candidate Instructions


Commencement is a special time to celebrate your academic achievements. There is no rehearsal, so please review the following carefully.


Commencement will be held in Strahan Arena at the University Events Center. Directions and parking information can be found at Directions, Parking and Seating.

Commencement Procedures

Formation: In the Jowers gyms, you will be placed in line alphabetically by level (1-Doctoral, 2-Specialist, 3-Master's, and 4-Bachelor's)

Processional: Led by faculty, you will process into Strahan Arena, walk down the stairs, and be seated on the floor. Candidates with mobility issues or other special needs should alert the Advising Center or Graduate College staff prior to the start of the ceremony.

Diploma Presentations: After degrees have been conferred, you will be recognized by name and will be presented a diploma cover by the President.

Recessional: Following the Alma Mater, the President will lead the Faculty and students from the Strahan Arena floor through the concourse (hallway) to Sewell Park. Students should plan ahead to meet family and friends at a designated area outside of the University Events Center near Sewell Park.

Graduation Application

The graduation application for Spring 2020 closed on Friday, March 6, 2020.

For more information, please contact your Academic Advising Center (Undergraduates) or The Graduate College (Graduate students).


To be eligible to participate in your commencement ceremony, the following requirements must be met:

  • Applied for graduation during the official period
  • Cleared all university holds for financial obligations
  • Wear official regalia (black mortarboard cap, black gown, maroon and gold tassel)

Your Name at Commencement

While applying for graduation, you may have noticed that your name needs to be updated in the University database. For example, adding your full middle name instead of just a middle initial.

In order to change your name with the University, you must submit a Personal Information Update Request with The Office of the University Registrar.

This name change will affect your diploma, the commencement program, your name Reader Card, and all other university documents.

The Difference Between Participating in Commencement and Graduating

“Graduating [receiving a diploma]” and “participating [walking across the stage]” in the commencement ceremony are two distinctly different things. Candidates will be considered “graduated” when they have officially met all of the following:
  1. have applied for graduation online by the posted semester deadline
  2. have had their application approved by their respective Advising Center or The Graduate College
  3. have completed all degree requirements
  4. have had final semester grades posted to their Texas State transcript
  5. have paid any outstanding fees owed to the University
  6. the Dean of the respective College, or Graduate College Dean, has certified candidates as graduates
Participating in the ceremony does not mean that a candidate has completed the requirements for graduation. “Walking/participating” at a commencement ceremony is not synonymous with “graduation;” yet the act of obtaining public recognition may provide a false impression that a candidate has met all requirements and has therefore “graduated” with a diploma in hand.
Ultimately, the final awarding of degrees, honors, and mailing of the diplomas is contingent upon the satisfactory completion of the appropriate requirements by each candidate and the Dean’s final certification.
The Participant Policy can be found here.

Checking in at Commencement

candidate checking in

You should plan on arriving at least one hour prior to the start of your ceremony to either Gym 101 or Gym 102. Jowers Gyms are accessible from the University Events Center's south concourse and signs are located in the concourse to direct you. Please also refer to the Map of the University Events Center (coming soon) for more details.

Upon arriving at your gym, you will check in with staff from your Academic Advising Center (undergraduates) or staff from the Graduate College (graduate students). Here you will receive your reader card, receive any honors cords, and line up for the processional into Strahan Arena. Please keep your reader card in hand at all times prior to and during the ceremony.

If you have questions about how your name will be pronounced during diploma presentations, please contact your Academic Advising Center (Undergraduates) or The Graduate College (Graduate students).

In order to ensure a safe and comfortable environment for all in attendance, please review the list of prohibited and allowable items.

Candidates are asked to limit personal items. There are no secure places to store personal items before or during the ceremony. Small personal items such as phones and wallets must be carried in a pocket or a small purse held under the gown. Candidates are not permitted to hand carry items during diploma presentations other than their Reader Card, which they will hand to the Reader before they cross the stage.

If you have any questions about the ceremony, please email Kristin McDaniel, Commencement Coordinator, at

For security purposes, all persons attending commencement are asked to keep handbags, camera bags, and tote bags to a minimum. All articles brought into the facility will be subject to search, and this may delay persons from entering the University Events Center.

Reader Cards

When you check in with your college you will be given a reader card with your name and a number representing your place in the candidate processional. Please keep this card in hand at all times prior and during the ceremony. When you approach the stage during diploma presentations, you will hand your card to the Commencement Reader.

If you have questions about how your name will be pronounced during diploma presentations, please contact your Academic Advising Center (Undergraduates) or The Graduate College (Graduate students).

Academic Regalia

All undergraduate candidates must wear the official regalia (black cap and gown, maroon and gold tassel) which can be purchased at The Bobcat Store. It is recommended that you purchase your cap and gown early to avoid any unnecessary delay or inconveniences on your graduation day.  The Bobcat Store will be on site during commencement with a limited number of caps, undergraduate gowns, and tassels, as well as other Texas State merchandise, available for purchase.

Wearing cords and stoles and cap decorating is permitted as long as it is appropriate and relates to academic celebration. Gowns may not be altered in any way including, but not limited to, patches, embroidery, paint, flowers, beads, or the addition of fabrics or other materials. Candidates with altered gowns will be asked to change gowns.

NOTE: Undergraduate students should wear their tassel on the right side of their cap until degrees are conferred and then the tassel may be moved to the left side of the cap to signify degree confirmation.

Graduate Master’s and Specialist candidates must purchase their official regalia (cap, hood, Master’s gown, and tassel) from The Bobcat Store prior to the ceremony.  Hood colors vary depending on your academic program; see here for hood colors. The Bobcat Store staff will be available in-store to assist you.

Graduate Doctoral candidates must rent their official regalia (tam, Doctoral robe, and tassel) from The Bobcat Store. Bobcat Store staff will be available in-store to assist you. For information on Texas State gown and hood colors, please visit The Graduate College website.

For information regarding honor cords and stoles, please visit the Frequently Asked Questions page.

Undergraduate Students Graduating with Texas State Honors

To be eligible for graduation with honors, a student seeking a bachelor's degree must have completed at least 54 semester credit hours preceding graduation at Texas State. Calculation of the GPA to determine honors status is based on all Texas State work applied to the first bachelor's degree, including work completed in the final semester.

Hours earned through Texas State correspondence courses and extension courses count toward GPA and honors eligibility. Hours earned through Texas State credit-by-examination, work/life experience, and other courses that offer only “CR” (pass/fail) grades also count toward honors eligibility, but they do not count toward GPA. Remedial courses with a “CR” grade and graduate courses do not count toward honors eligibility or GPA.

Transfer students who have earned at least 54 semester hours at Texas State are eligible to graduate with honors if their Texas State GPAs meet the above criteria. Students earning second bachelor's degrees are eligible for graduation with honors if they complete 54 or more hours at Texas State in pursuit of their second degrees.

Undergraduate students earning a Texas State GPA of:
3.40-3.59 will graduate Cum Laude
3.60-3.79 will graduate Magna Cum Laude
3.80-4.00 will graduate Summa Cum Laude

Recommended Attire

This is an important day in your academic career. Keep in mind there will be a professional photographer at the commencement ceremony and you may also be taking photographs with family and friends. There is no dress code; however we suggest that you dress appropriately for this special occasion. Please know that all candidates will be walking up and down several flights of stairs to reach their seats in the Strahan Arena. Though disabled seating is available, most guests will need to utilize stairs to reach their seats. Comfortable shoes are recommended.

Commencement Program

A commencement program will be available to each candidate when they are seated on the arena floor. Candidates are asked not to pick up additional programs prior to the processional.

Commencement programs are available to guests at the main building entrances.

A PDF of the commencement program will be available here.

Accommodations for Candidates and Guests with Disabilities

Special services are available to accommodate the needs of guests and candidates with disabilities at all Texas State Commencement ceremonies.  Accommodations include accessible parking, shuttle services, accessible seating, and sign language interpreting services. More information regarding parking and seating for individuals with limited mobility can be found here.

If you have a guest that requires accommodations due to a disability, please visit the Office of Disability Services (ODS) website or call the ODS at 512-245-3451.

Candidates with disabilities are asked to contact their Academic Advising Center (Undergraduates) or The Graduate College (Graduate students) at least two weeks prior to commencement.


Graduates will receive their diplomas by mail after commencement.

For questions about your diploma and mailing address, please contact the Office of the University Registrar.

Commencement Survey

Share and rate your commencement experience by participating in the Student Commencement Survey which will be emailed to you after commencement.

Thank you!

For additional information, please visit the Frequently Asked Questions page.