What is the difference between Commencement and Graduation?

Commencement is the ceremony held in May of each year to recognize degree and certificate achievement. All eligible students are encouraged to participate in the ceremony. Participation in the ceremony does not indicate the completion of your degree or certificate.

Graduation is the official awarding of a degree or certificate to a student’s record all degree requirements have been met. Students must petition for graduations to earn their degree or certificate and to have it posted to their permanent transcript.

When – and how - do I get my diploma or certificate?

Diplomas and certificates are available for pickup after all petitions have been evaluated and student records updated. You will receive an email from the Evaluations Office to notify you that your diplomas or certificate is ready for pickup.

My diploma is missing or destroyed. How can I get a replacement?

Yes. Please see “Diploma and Certificate” link for instructions.

How will I know if I have graduated with honors?

To graduate with honors, you must satisfy all requirement s for an Associate in Arts or Associate in Science degree with a grade point average of 3.5 or greater, including all transfer units. This will calculated at the time your petition for graduation is evlauated.

Can I receive more than one associate’s degree? More than one certificate?

Yes. You may petition for multiple degrees or certificate, but you must complete out a separate online petition for each one.

Please keep in mind that for each additional degree, you must complete all requirements for the new major with a minimum of 18 new units. The additional units must include a minimum of 12 units in the major. In addition, you must meet all graduation requirements enforced at the time of declaration of the additional major.

For each additional certificate, there is no requirement for additional course beyond that required for the certificate.

What are the deadlines to petition for graduation?

All petitions to graduate (either for an associate’s degree or a certificate) are submitted online and must meet the following deadlines:

For Spring, must be summited by           November 1 – February 28
For Summer, must be submitted by        March 1 – June 30  
For Fall, must be submitted by                July 1 – October 31

Students who have attended other colleges or universities must have all official transcripts sent to the Admissions and Records office prior to petitioning for graduation. All previous coursework must be evaluated whether or not it is needed to obtain a degree at Southwestern College.  Missing or incomplete transcripts (those with I or IP grades) can cause a petition to be delayed or denied.

Is there a minimum number of units I must complete at Southwestern College to receive a degree?

Yes. You must complete at least 12 units at SWC to satisfy degree requirements.

What is continuous enrollment?

Continuous enrollment is defined as completion of a course during at least one semester in a calendar year excluding summer session. Receiving a grade of “W” will not satisfy the requirement of completing a course.

What are catalog rights?

Provided that continuous enrollment is maintained, students may elect the general education and graduation requirements in effect at the time of enrollment at SWC or any catalog thereafter (Policy No. 6041). Important – if you change your major, your catalog rights will change to the term the new major was declared. Please consult your counselor to be sure you understand the impact and consequences of changing your major and how this change may affect your Student Education Plan (SEP).