Frequently Asked Questions
Application for Degree
When should I apply for my degree/graduation?
You should apply for degree/graduation the first semester of your junior year.
Note: You must apply by the established deadline for a given term in order to have your name appear in the Commencement Bulletin and to have a diploma ordered for the Spring Commencement Ceremony. This deadline varies from term to term and is posted in our graduation guide on the "How to Apply for a Degree" page.
How do I apply for graduation?
See the "How to Apply for a Degree"
If I have two majors do I need to apply for both?
Yes, you should submit an Application for Degree for each major.
What is the difference between a double major and a second degree?
- You must complete the requirements for both majors within the same term.
- You will receive a diploma for your primary major (degree) and a double major certificate for your secondary major (double major).
- You must complete the requirements for both majors.
- You must complete an additional 30 credits in-residence over the minimum required for your first degree.
- You may complete the second degree in a later term.
- You will receive a separate diploma for each degree.
How do I indicate whether my secondary major is a double major or a second degree?
You should indicate on your Application for Degree on Hokie SPA if your secondary major should be a double major or a second degree under the section "What degree is this?" (Please note that if you will be completing your second degree in a later term than the first degree you will select "first degree for both majors.")
How do I change my graduation date if I have already applied for degree/graduation?
You should update your expected term of graduation on your Application for Degree on Hokie SPA. Simply select "Update" next to the appropriate major in the Application for Degree and change the information. Then click "Submit".
How do I change my major, drop my minor, etc. if I have already applied for my degree/graduation?
Changes to your curriculum must be processed through your academic dean's office.
What is a DARS report, and how do I request one?
See the DARS page.
When should I request a DARS?
- You can request a DARS at any time after you have applied for your degree.
- You should request a DARS at least once a semester. This will help you and your advisor select appropriate courses.
- You should also request a DARS toward the end of the term you will be graduating to ensure that last minute problems do not arise with your graduation requirements.You should request a DARS anytime you make a change to your program of study (major, minor, option, concentration, etc).
How do I read a DARS?
See the DARS page.
My DARS shows that I haven't completed a requirement that I believe should be complete. How can I address this issue?
If you have taken a course that is not listed as required on your DARS report, you should contact your advisor to determine if a substitution is appropriate. The department will determine whether a substitution is appropriate.
Why does my DARS show that I have completed fewer hours than the number of hours on my transcript?
In most cases the discrepancy between the hours listed on your transcript and DARS is because of credit you have taken that does not count toward graduation. Most common causes of discrepancy are:
- Duplication -- courses that duplicate can only be counted once toward graduation. This is shown on the DARS with >D after the course.
- Foreign Language -- College level courses used to fulfill the University Foreign Language requirement do not count toward graduation.
- Non-Credit courses -- These courses have been determined by the University or College not to count toward a degree and are listed at the top of the DARS.
- There could be an error with your record, in which case a graduation analyst in the Office of the University Registrar can review and correct the problem.
The course I need to take is not going to be offered, can I take a different course?
You should contact your academic adviser in your department to discuss your possible options.
When and where is Commencement? When should my guests and I arrive?
See the Commencement Information page
Do I have to attend the University ceremony?
You are not required to attend the University graduation ceremony. You do not need to notify anyone that you will not be attending.
I still have one or more classes to complete over the summer. Can I still participate in the spring ceremony?
If you still have additional courses to take in the summer you must change your graduation date to the term you will be completing all requirements. This is done on your Application for Degree (Hokie SPA). You must request permission from your department or college to participate in their Spring Commencement Ceremony.
I am receiving two degrees, but the college/department ceremony times are in conflict. How can I get my other diploma?
Degree candidates for two diplomas, whose commencement ceremonies are in conflict, should make arrangements to pick up one of their diplomas from the other department/college. Students, who are unsuccessful in arranging for times with the departments for receiving their diplomas, may email the Office of the University Registrar to request assistance. To do this, you must indicate the nature of the difficulty and which ceremony you will attend.
Note: Those students who are candidates for double majors are expected to attend their primary major ceremony. The Office of the University Registrar will mail double major certificates to graduates approximately 10-12 weeks after Commencement.
I am not attending the spring graduation ceremony on Saturday. What should I do and how do I get my diploma?
If you do not plan to attend, you should notify the Office of the University Registrar in writing or indicate on your Application for Degree (Hokie SPA) that you will not be attending. This is so that your diploma is not sent to the ceremony. You will also need to indicate the address where your diploma can be mailed.
Please see "Spring Candidate" page.
I am graduating in the fall. Will I receive my diploma at the ceremony?
No, diplomas are not distributed at the fall ceremony.
Please see "Fall Candidate" page.
I graduated in the fall. Can I participate in the spring departmental ceremony?
You should contact your department or college for permission to participate in the departmental ceremony.
How do I ensure my name will appear in the Commencement program?
As long as you have applied to graduate by the published deadline for that term, your name will appear in the University Commencement program.
When and where do I get a cap and gown, honors sashes, etc.?
Academic apparel is available in the University Bookstore several months before graduation. For more information visit the University Bookstore.
I am not included on the list to receive an honors sash from the bookstore. What are the requirements?
To be included on the list you must have:
- A GPA of 3.4 or higher
- Completed sixty (60) Virginia Tech hours for undergraduate students [or completed thirty (30) Virginia Tech hours for associate students.
Will I receive tickets for the ceremony?
- There are no tickets or guest limits for the University ceremony. Most departmental and college ceremonies also do not require tickets or have guest limits. However, you should check with your department or college to determine their requirements.
When and where do I get graduation announcements and/or invitations?
- Announcements and invitations are available through the University Bookstore. Visit the University Bookstore for more information.
What information should be included in my announcements?
- Students choose what they want to include on their announcements.
To check the dates and times for graduation visit the Commencement Information website.
Are there overnight accommodations on campus for my guests?
Visit the Student Programs website for information regarding on-campus accommodations for commencement.
Where can I get a list of area hotels?
Please see the Campus Guide.
Where can I find out other specific information about the graduation ceremony?
Please see the Commencement Information page.
Where can I find information about parking for Commencement?
Please see the Transportation and Parking website
Who do I contact if a family member has mobility issues or needs ADA services at the Commencement ceremony?
Please see the Services for Students with Disabilities page.
My DARS no longer indicates that all requirements are complete. Can I still participate in the ceremony?
You will still be allowed to participate in the ceremony. Your envelope will not contain a diploma; instead, you will receive a letter with instructions.
When will I receive my diploma if I graduate in the summer or fall?
You will receive your diploma within 10-12 weeks after graduation.
Will my diploma be mailed to my permanent or local address?
No, you must provide a mailing address for your diploma on your Application for Degree (Hokie SPA).
Where can I pick up my diploma?
You can pick up your diploma Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. in the Office of the University Registrar located in 250 Student Services Building. You will need to provide a picture ID.
Is there a fee for my diploma?
There is no fee for your diploma.
Are double majors, minors, concentrations (options) printed on diplomas?
No, double majors, minors, and concentrations (options) are not printed on diplomas. These will be indicated on official transcripts.
What GPA do I need to earn distinction?
If you complete at least sixty (60) hours at Virginia Tech, your distinction will be awarded following:
- 3.8 or greater Summa Cum Laude
- 3.6 to 3.7999 Magna Cum Laude
- 3.4 to 3.5999 Cum Laude
Will my diploma have my distinction/honors designation printed on it?
Yes, distinctions and honors designations are printed on the diploma.
What if my level of distinction changes during my last term?
Diplomas for Spring Commencement are ordered during the spring semester. The level of distinction that is printed on spring diplomas is based on the GPA earned at the end of the preceding fall semester. If the level of distinction changes based on final grades for spring semester, a diploma will be ordered that reflects this new level of distinction. Spring degree candidates who have a change in their level of distinction will receive instructions in their diploma envelope relative to obtaining an updated diploma.
Since diplomas for students graduating in the summer and fall terms are ordered after final grades are recorded, summer and fall diplomas will reflect the correct level of distinction.
I didn't receive a diploma in my envelope at graduation. Why not?
There will be a letter in your envelope to indicate the reason that you did not receive a diploma.
How do I get an additional or replacement diploma?
To order an additional or replacement diploma, you may write a letter of request with the following information:
- Full legal name (as it should appear on the diploma)
- Your social security number and/or your student number
- Degree received
- Date or approximate date the degree was received
- Address to which the diploma should be mailed
- Signature of the student
- $20.00 fee (check or money order) made payable to "Treasurer of Virginia Tech"
Office of the University Registrar
250 Student Services Building, Mail Code 0134
Blacksburg, VA 24061
Undergraduate diplomas are 13.5 inches by 15.5 inches and will be in the current format with current signatures.It takes approximately 10-12 weeks to receive a diploma.
If you have any additional questions, please contact the Analysis and Services Unit at 540-31-6252.
My name is incorrect on my diploma. How do I get a corrected diploma?
The name that appears on your Application for Degree is the name that will appear on your diploma. If your name is incorrect on your diploma, you should contact the Office of the University Registrar at 540-231-6252 or e-mail the Registrar to have the matter addressed.
Can I have someone else pick up my diploma?
In order to have a third party pick up your diploma:
- You must provide the third party with a signed Authorization Form.
- The individual picking up your diploma must provide a photo ID at the time of pick-up
Other Graduation Related Questions
My name does not appear on the list of graduates on the web. Can it be added?
Your name may not have been included on the list posted because:
- Your degree was not awarded until after the list was posted.
- Information on your record has been marked confidential.
- You do not have a permanent address listed on Hokie SPA.
The list cannot be updated.
How can I obtain an official document to sent to my employer to verify my degree?
Instructions on how to request an official transcript or certification can be found on the Transcript Requests page.
How can I ensure that my final grades and degree statement appear on my transcript?
- Log onto Hokie SPA
- Select Transcripts and Certifications Menu
- Select Order Official Transcripts
- Read instructions and click "submit a transcript request"
- Enter your information (address, e-mail, phone number)
- Click "Do you need your requests held?"
- Select either "Current Term Completion"; or "Degree Completion"
- Click "Next"
You will then be returned to the screen where you entered your information to continue your order.
Can I have someone else pick up my transcripts or a certification of my degree?
In order to have a third party pick up your transcripts or a certification:
- You must provide the third party with a signed Authorization Form.
- The individual picking up your diploma must provide a photo ID at the time of pick-up.
I owe the University money. How will that affect my graduation?
If you have a hold on your record because you owe money to the University, you will not be able to receive a diploma or a transcript until the hold is resolved and released. Contact the University Bursar's office at 540-231-6277.
Where can I find additional information regarding specific graduation policies?
Please see the Graduation Policies page.
What is the deadline to have all my requirements completed and still graduate for that term?
Term Deadline Date
Fall: January 31st
Spring: June 30th
Summer Terms: The same day of the following month that the session ends (Ex. Summer 2 2005 ends August 13, 2005, the deadline to complete requirements would be September 13, 2005).
This includes having transcripts received, grades changed and substitutions processed. Note that all course enrollments and attendance obligations must have been completed on or before the degree conferral date.
I have approval to take my final credits at another school- how do I transfer credits to Virginia Tech to finish my degree?
You must provide an official transcript to the Office of the University Registrar at the following address:
Office of the University Registrar
250 Student Services Bldg. (0134)
Blacksburg, VA 24061
An official transcript is either:
Mailed directly to the Office of the University Registrar at Virginia Tech from the institution where the credit was earned.
Delivered in a sealed envelope to the Office of the University Registrar.
The transcript must be received in the Office of the University Registrar by the established deadline to have all requirements complete for that term. See information regarding degree deadlines.
What happens to my PID (e-mail) after I graduate?
Your PID will still be assigned to you following graduation to allow you to update your contact information, order transcripts and view your academic record through Hokie SPA. For more information please refer to: