Graduation Process

graduation header image

Are You Ready to Graduate?

Let's walk you through the process of applying for graduation and receiving your Career Studies Certificate, Certificate, or Associate Degree Diploma. 

Start preparing for graduation by watching this video:

Steps to Prepare for Graduation

  • Schedule an appointment with your assigned advisor in Navigate or talk to a virtual advisor for assistance in planning your final semester(s).
  • Check your Advisement Report to ensure you have fulfilled all requirements.

To be eligible for graduation, you must:

  • Fulfill all coursework and credit hour requirements as outlined in the College Catalog.
  • Monitor your progress using the Advisement Report.
  • Earn a grade point average of at least 2.00.
  • Complete at least 25% of the required credit at NOVA.
  • Resolve all financial obligations to the College and return all materials.

Honors Designation

  • 3.20 - 3.49: Cum Laude (with high honor)
  • 3.50 - 3.79: Magna Cum Laude (with higher honor)
  • 3.80 - 4.00: Summa Cum Laude (with highest honor)

Spring honors cannot be designated until final grades are posted and degrees/certificates are awarded. Honors designations will be posted to the student’s transcript and diploma/certificate. The Dean’s List, Presidential Scholars List and Phi Theta Kappa lists are posted twice a year. For detailed information, please check the College Catalog.

Your graduation application is due based on your planned graduation date:

  • May graduates: March 1 deadline
  • August graduates: June 1 deadline
  • December graduates: October 1 deadline

Applications received after the deadline will be processed for the following semester.

To apply for graduation:

  1. Log in to myNOVA and click My Student Information.
  2. Under Academics, select Apply for Graduation, verify your information and click Proceed With Making Application
  3. Select Institution = NV280
  4. Select Term (available terms will be displayed). Click Continue.
  5. Select the degree/certificate(s) you want to apply for.
  6. Complete the questionnaire for additional information.
  7. Review and agree to the information provided.

Upon submitting your graduation application, you'll receive a confirmation page. Keep this confirmation for your records. The College Records Office will send a graduation status message via your VCCS email account up to six weeks after the application deadline.

Graduation Status Messages

  • All Requirements Met
    You have successfully completed all the necessary requirements to graduate. Your degree will be awarded within the next three months after the last day of the semester.

  • Pending Requirements
    Upon successfully completing your current enrollment, you will fulfill all the necessary requirements to graduate. Your degree will be awarded within the next three months after the last day of the semester.

  • Missing Requirements
    Unfortunately, you have not yet met all the necessary requirements to graduate. To proceed with your graduation, you will need to reapply during the semester in which you plan to meet these requirements.

Please make sure your address is current in myNOVA before the last day of the semester you intend to graduate.

student-resources/graduation/commencementParticipating in the Commencement Ceremony is optional but encouraged. Commencement is the celebration of your graduation, where you'll cross the stage in your cap and gown. For more information, visit our Commencement page.

What is the difference between Graduation and Commencement Ceremony?
Graduation is the completion of degree/certificate requirements and being awarded an academic degree. Commencement is the celebration of your graduation, where you cross the stage in your cap and gown.

When will I receive a graduation application status update?
You'll receive an immediate confirmation after submitting the graduation application. You should expect to receive a follow-up status letter via your VCCS student email account approximately eight weeks after the graduation application deadline closes.

When will degrees/certificates be awarded?
Degrees/certificates are awarded up to three months after the last day of the semester, once all final grades are posted.

When can I expect to receive my diploma/certificate?
Diplomas should arrive within three months after degree awarding is completed. Diplomas will be mailed to the address that is listed in your MyNOVA student account.

How do I obtain a Degree Verification Letter?
Complete and submit form 125.340E in the Students Forms Library. The College Records Office will mail the letter directly to the specified third party.

What is the Student Information System (SIS)?
The Student Information System is your online Student Center that allows you to perform various tasks, including reviewing your profile, registering for classes, applying for graduation, viewing academic history, and checking financial information.

What is the Academic Calendar?
NOVA's Academic Calendar contains important dates for students, such as class start and end dates, holidays, exam days, registration dates, and more.

What is a Continuing Student?
A Continuing Student is someone who has attended NOVA within the last three years and is in good academic standing.

Can I withdraw my graduation application?
Students can no longer withdraw a graduation application. If all requirements are met, the degree/certificate will be awarded.

Who can participate in Commencement?
Any previous Summer, Fall, and the next Spring term graduation applicants are eligible to participate in the commencement ceremony.

Are students eligible to participate in the commencement ceremony during the summer term in which the commencement is held?
Students who completed program requirements in the prior summer, fall, and the current spring term are eligible to participate in the May Commencement Ceremony.

What is the policy regarding Posthumous Degrees?
Upon request, posthumous degrees may be awarded to students who are in their last semester of study and/or within 15 credits of degree completion at the time of death. The degree award must be approved by the Vice President for Academic Affairs, and the diploma will bear the notation "Awarded Posthumously."

When will I receive a status update on my submitted graduation application?
Students receive an immediate confirmation message after submitting the graduation application. For further updates, continue to check the student message center in myNOVA throughout the term.

When are degrees/certificates conferred?
Degrees/Certificates are conferred at the end of each term. All final grades must be posted before an award is applied to a student record. The process takes up to six weeks to complete from the last day of the semester. You can check myNOVA to confirm if your award is showing on your record before ordering an official transcript.

What if I missed the graduation deadline and I am planning to transfer to a 4-year institution or need verification for employment?
Complete the NOVA open graduation application and contact the transfer school to determine their policy or course of action. For graduation verification, submit the College Records Office Request for Degree Verification form 125-340. Graduation verification status letters will only be mailed directly to the school or employer. You must provide the name of the supervisor/department and the complete mailing address of the company. Copies of the letter will not be provided to you or your parents.

I did not participate in my Commencement. Can I participate in future ceremonies?
Students who applied for graduation during the summer, fall, or spring term can participate in future Commencement Ceremonies. You may contact to inquire about your graduation application term.

What is the College Records Office mailing address?
Northern Virginia Community College
College Records Office
FX-P3 3924 Pender Drive
Fairfax, VA 22030

Contact Us

Have questions about the graduation application?