Your last year should be planned out as carefully as your first.  Each school and college has its own set of graduation requirements related to grade point average, credits, and residency so please contact your academic advisor if you have any questions or concerns related to your graduation.

Graduation Checklist

    • Apply for graduation through your PAWS account
    • Pay the $40 Graduation Application Fee in PAWS or at the Bursar’s Office
    • Double-check that you don’t have an outstanding PAWS balance or any PAWS holds
    • Check your UWM Email Address frequently for important updates on your degree or graduation
    • At least two months before graduation, verify the name and address you have listed in your PAWS account (that will be the name printed on your diploma and the address your diploma is sent to)
Applying for Graduation

Completing your degree requirements does not automatically trigger your graduation application.  You must notify the Registrar’s Office of your intent to graduate by applying through your PAWS account after you’ve enrolled in your last semester of classes. Students graduating during the spring/summer semester should apply on or before the first Friday in January. Students graduating during the fall/UWinteriM semester should apply on or before the first Friday in September.  If you apply late, it may mean that your name will not be on lists of graduating seniors, including the program printed for the commencement ceremony. Follow the steps below to submit your application.

(If you do not see the “Apply for Graduation” link, you are not currently eligible to apply.  Please contact your undergraduate academic advisor or your advising office for assistance.)

  1. Log in to PAWS
  2. Under the Academics section, select “Apply for Graduation” from the “other academics” drop down and click the arrows
  3. Under the Submit an Application for Graduation section, you should see another “Apply for Graduation” link.  Click that link.
  4. On the Apply for Graduation page, click on your Academic Program in blue
  5. Select your graduation term from the Expected Graduation Term drop down menu, then click the CONTINUE button
  6. Click the Apply for Bachelor’s Degree button
  7. Complete the Apply for Graduation questionnaire, then click Submit

An email confirmation will be sent to you once your application is received.

Late Graduation Application

The last day to apply for undergraduate graduation for a given term is the date of the commencement ceremony.  After that date, you will be required to complete the  paper graduation application (pdf) and submit the $40 graduation fee to the Registrar’s Office in Mellencamp Hall.

Changing Your Graduation Date 

If you find that you will not complete your degree requirements after you already applied for graduation, you may change your graduation date at any time by notifying the Registrar’s Office through the Contact RO form.

There are two commencement ceremonies each year, one in December (for fall/UWinteriM graduates) and one in May (for spring/summer graduates).  You’re strongly encouraged to attend the commencement ceremony, but participation isn’t required. You’ll receive a letter with the details of the ceremony from the Secretary of the University 2-3 weeks before the scheduled date.  All students who wish to participate in the ceremony are also required to RSVP through this link.

The Commencement Booklet List identifies the student names published in the commencement book for the most recent/upcoming December and May commencement ceremony.  As a general rule, the commencement book list will be available for viewing beginning early April for the Spring/Summer commencement and early November for Fall/UWinteriM commencement.

If you have any questions about the commencement ceremony, contact the Secretary of the University.

Students may be eligible for Commencement or Final Honors upon completion of their degree, depending on their cumulative GPAs and the number of credits they’ve completed at UWM:

Designation Requirements
Commencement Honors
  • Undergraduates with a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or higher at the end of senior year
  • At least 40 degree credits completed at UWM
Final Honors
  • Undergraduates with a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or higher at the end of senior year
  • At least 60 degree credits completed at UWM
  • Cum Laude – 3.500 or above
  • Magna Cum Laude – 3.650 or above
  • Summa Cum Laude – 3.800 or above
  • Criteria is the same for all schools/colleges
Diplomas are not actually distributed at the commencement ceremony. Diplomas are sent to your PAWS Mailing Address 8-10 weeks after the ceremony. If you need your diploma sent to an international address or sent via a courier service for faster delivery, you must sign up for an eShipGlobal account and pay for the shipping cost yourself.  In general, diplomas are mailed approximately:

  • 4th week in February for December graduates
  • 2nd week in March for UWinteriM graduates
  • 4th week in July for Spring graduates
  • 4th week in October for Summer graduates

You can request that someone else pick up your diploma, but an Authorization Letter For Diploma Pickup must be completed first. Please note that faxed and otherwise electronically transmitted copies of the PDF version of the authorization form will not be accepted. Form must be submitted in person or by mail, so we recommend the online version. The authorized recipient of the diploma must present a photo ID at the time of diploma pick up. A copy of the ID will be retained along with the letter.

The name listed in PAWS is the name that will be printed on your diploma and official transcript. If you want a different name or different spelling on your diploma, you will have to submit a Student Record Data Change Form to the Registrar’s Office at least 8 weeks before the commencement ceremony.

To order a replacement diploma, please submit the request form (PDF version or Online Version).  The cost for each replacement diploma is $35.  All diplomas ordered after the original diploma has been issued are considered a replacement of the original document.  The statement “Replacement for diploma issued”  and the student’s original date of graduation will appear at the bottom edge of the replacement diploma and will bear the signatures of the current University Chancellor and State Officers.

Diploma covers are distributed during the commencement ceremony to students who attend. If after receiving your diploma you need a cover, you may pick one up in the Registrar’s Office or you can contact the Registrar’s Office to have a diploma cover sent to you.

If you have questions regarding your diploma, contact the Registrar’s Office.

Graduation Fees
The graduation application fee is $40, and it is required whether you intend to participate in the commencement ceremony or not. The fee goes towards processing expenses, commencement, diplomas, diploma covers, and mailing.  It does NOT cover the cost of your cap and gown, which you must order and pay for if you want to participate in the commencement ceremony.  You’ll be billed the $40.00 graduation application fee by the Bursar’s Office sometime during your final semester. When you pay the fee, it will first be applied to any fines on your account so double-check that you don’t have any outstanding library, parking, or other fines.

Dual degree students pay an $80.00 graduation application fee. If you’ll be receiving two degrees (i.e. a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Science), you have to submit an application and fee for each degree.  This does not apply to students with a single degree but multiple majors.

Posting of Degrees
It takes some time for your degree to be posted and appear on your student record after your date of graduation. The amount of time is variable depending on the school or college within the university that is granting your degree. It could be 6-8 weeks after the final grade run, or it could be as long as 3 months after the end of your final term. Posted degrees appear on both your official and unofficial transcript.

A student may check to see if their degree has been posted using the following steps:

  1. Login to your Student Center via PAWS
  2. Click on the  “My Academics” link
  3. Click on “View my graduation status”

Students with missing requirements (incomplete grades, missing transfer credits, grade changes and/or course substitutions or waivers) that are not completed within 30 days after the date of graduation will typically have their degree posted for the next term.

If you need proof of an upcoming or past graduation date, you can submit a request for Graduation Verification.