Stephen F. Austin State University

Graduation Application, Commencement and Diploma Information

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The Graduation Department of the Office of the Registrar provides application toward graduation, maintains degree data for all students making application for graduation, produces diplomas and replacement diplomas and is a source of information regarding degrees which have been conferred.

The information found on this page is pertinent to all graduating students. It is important that you review all of the information found on this page well in advance of your commencement date.

Customer Service Survey!

Please click on the following link and complete an anonymous survey on services you have received from the Registrar's Office. You will be helping us learn which areas need improvement. We appreciate your help!

Commencement Dates

Late Applications for May 2019 Commencement

Now - March 2, 2019- Late Applications for May 2019 Commencement will be accepted. A late fee of $100 will be charged ($200.00 if pursuing the 5-yr Accounting program).

Go to our Forms page to select the Bachelor or Master/Doctoral Application for Graduation form or come to the Rusk building, room 202 to apply.

August 2019 Applications

January 2, 2019 - March 2, 2019- Applications for August 2019 Commencement will be accepted. A fee of $50.00 will be charged ($100.00 if pursuing the 5-yr Accounting program).

Go to our Forms page to select the Bachelor or Master/Doctoral Application for Graduation form or come to the Rusk building, room 202 to apply.

Graduation Application Information

How do I apply for graduation?

Apply in person - Rusk Building, Room 202 (preferred method for undergraduate students)

Apply by mail/email - application forms found here.

**No Electronic Signatures will be accepted**

When do I apply for graduation?

The application dates for applying for graduation are determined by the date of your intended commencement. Please refer to the list below:

  • MAY Commencement - Applications are taken September 15 through November 15 of prior year.
  • AUGUST Commencement - Applications are taken January 2 through March 2 of same year.
  • DECEMBER Commencement - Applications are taken April 1 through June 1 of same year.
Is there a graduation fee?


The Graduation Processing Fee is $50.00 for the Bachelor's degree and $50.00 for the Master's or Doctoral degree. This charge is applied to your account in the term you intend to graduate. Please pay at the SFA Business Office or online through MySFA.

A late fee will be assessed to applications taken after the deadline date.

A student who applies for a degree and pays the graduation fee for a given commencement, but who fails to meet degree requirements, must reapply for graduation and pay graduation fees again.

I have applied. Now what?

Applications are entered in the order in which they are received. This process may take several weeks. Students will receive an e-mail when their application is entered. Once the application is entered, students seeking a Bachelor's degree must review their Graduation Requirements Audit with a Dean's Representative. Contact the numbers below for more information:

College of Business -- 468-4654

College of Education -- 468-2901

College of Fine Arts -- 468-2801

College of Forestry & Agriculture

  • Department of Agriculture -- 468-3705
  • Department of Forestry -- 468-3301

College of Liberal and Applied Arts -- 468-2205

College of Science and Mathematics -- 468-3902 (Watch your e-mail closely for a message from the Department of your major or Dean's Representative. If an e-mail is not received within two weeks or for further questions, call the number above.)

How do I view my personal graduation information?
  1. Log into mySFA
  2. Click on Academics
  3. in the Academic Records box (right of screen), click on Self-Service Banner
  4. Click on Student Records
  5. Click on View Personal Graduation Information
  6. Read the information block and review your Personal Graduation Information
  7. Submit any changes to Include your name and ID number in the e-mail.
Why do I have a registration hold and how do I get it removed?

A registration hold will be placed on your account. The hold description is "Applied to Graduate" and the reason description is the month and year in which you plan to graduate. This hold is to prevent you from registering in any term after the one in which you plan to graduate.

  • If you need to register for additional courses in order to complete your degree, you MUST contact our office and move your graduation date. Email us at . Include your name and ID number and your request to move your graduation date.
  • If you are an overlap student, you will need to re-apply to the Graduate School. You will not be able to register for the next semester until your undergraduate degree is posted to your account.
  • If you are an undergraduate student and you have been accepted into SFA's Graduate School, you may not register until your undergraduate degree is posted to your account.
What is the Texas Tuition Rebate Opportunity?


Application for the tuition rebate happens automatically when the student applies to graduate.


  • First college course after high school graduation must be taken in fall 1997 or later;
  • Student must have been a Texas resident at all times while pursuing the degree;
  • Student must have been entitled to pay in-state tuition at all times while pursuing the degree; and
  • Student must not have graduated yet.

Key eligibility requirements:

A student may qualify for the tuition rebate (up to $1000) if:

  • for a student who enrolled after high school graduation at a college or university for the first time in fall 1997 or later, s/he has attempted no more than three semester credit hours in excess of the minimum number of hours required for their degree. For example, a student who completes a bachelor's degree that requires 120 credit hours with no more than 123 credit hours attempted might qualify for this rebate; and
  • for a student who enrolled after high school graduation at a college or university for the first time in fall 2005 or later, s/he must also graduate in a timely manner to earn the tuition rebate. According to the most recent revision of the rebate program, a student who wants to receive the rebate must graduate with in four calendar years for a four-year degree program or within five calendar years "if the degree is in architecture, engineering or any other program determined by the Board to require more than four years to complete." Currently the Board has not identified any other five-year degree programs.

What could disqualify an Individual?

Attempted hours include every course for which the student has registered, as of the official Census Date, in every semester, including repeated courses and courses from which the student withdraws (dropped courses as well as withdrawal from the college or university). If a student has dropped more than one course after the official Census Date, he or she will probably not qualify for the rebate.

All credit earned by examination was originally counted, but a change in the law allows the first nine hours of credit earned by examination-for example, credit earned through AP courses, CLEP exams or high SAT or ACT scores-to be exempted; Those first nine credit hours do not count as hours attempted. Additional credit earned exclusively by examination will still count toward hours attempted.

Dual credit courses-courses taken in high school for both high school and college credit-counted as hours attempted until May 27, 2011, when the 82nd Texas Legislature passed SB 176, which exempts course credit earned prior to high school graduation from consideration in determining a student's eligibility.

Students enrolled in higher education in fall 2005 or later must graduate in a timely manner to be eligible to receive the tuition rebate. This means that a student must graduate within four calendar years from their initial enrollment in college after high school graduation for a four-year degree, and within five calendar years for a five-year degree. A five-year degree is currently defined as all architecture and engineering programs.

Although there are certain exceptions for hardship situations, most part-time students will no longer be eligible to receive the tuition rebate.

See detailed information on the Texas Tuition Rebate program.

When will I be notified if I qualify?

Applicants are reviewed for eligibility at the close of each graduation class which occurs approximately 30 days after the Commencement ceremony. At that time applicants who are disqualified are sent letters from the Office of the Registrar which indicate the reason for disqualification. An appeal process is included in the letter. The names of those students who qualify for the rebate are submitted to the Bursar's Office for further review. The Bursar's Office will notify those students regarding the disbursement of the refund.

Commencement Information

Commencement Decorum

The faculty and staff of Stephen F. Austin State University congratulate you on your academic achievement! We work diligently to provide a commencement ceremony that is an appropriate and enjoyable conclusion to this phase of your education.

The conferring of academic degrees is a tradition that dates back to the 12th century and is regarded as an important rite of passage for students and their families. Because commencement ceremonies are, by their very nature, festive and dignified occasions, all graduates are expected to wear traditional academic regalia and attire that is commensurate with formal academic ceremonies. Casual business attire, at a minimum, is appropriate. Black or dark-colored slacks and dress shoes are recommended. Ladies are encouraged to wear black or dark-colored slacks, skirts or dresses. You will be walking down - and then up - 51 steps en route to your seat in William R. Johnson Coliseum; for safety reasons, casual sandals and stiletto heels are not appropriate.

Cellular telephones and other electronic devices should be placed in a silent mode or turned off during the entire ceremony. Air horns and other artificial noisemakers, balloons, flags and banners are not appropriate and are not allowed in the coliseum. Any attendee who is disruptive during the ceremony or who fails to follow instructions may be excused from the venue.

SFA maintains a proud and historic tradition of having the university president shake hands with each degree candidate after his or her name is spoken. Because the final degree candidate is as important as the first, all attendees are expected to be seated during the ceremony and remain for the entire ceremony.

Each SFA graduate and guest deserves to enjoy a ceremony that reflects the satisfaction of achieving a worthy educational goal, without inappropriate or excessive interruptions from others. We ask for your assistance in making this event a pleasant experience for everyone in attendance. Congratulations, once again, and axe 'em, Jacks!

What time is Commencement and where will it be held?

The commencement ceremony is held in the William R. Johnson Coliseum. The physical address is located below. The duration of the ceremony is usually 2-4 hours, depending upon the number of candidates participating. Commencement Dates are posted at the top of this web page.

May & December Commencements - two ceremonies each:

There are two commencement ceremonies for the May and December completers. Students are assigned a ceremony time based upon the College of their major. The College information may be found under the View Personal Graduation link which is covered above in the Graduation Application Information.

9:30 a.m. - Students under the James I. Perkins College of Education or the College of Fine Arts will participate in this ceremony. Students need to be at the Coliseum by 8:15 a.m. and seated by 9:15 a.m.

2:00 p.m. - Students under the Nelson Rusche College of Business, the Arthur Temple College of Forestry and Agriculture, the College of Liberal and Applied Arts, or the College of Sciences and Mathematics will participate in this ceremony. Students need to be at the Coliseum by 1:00 p.m. and seated by 1:45 p.m.

August - one ceremony:

There is only one commencement ceremony for the August completers.

9:30 a.m. - All colleges will participate in this ceremony. Students need to be at the Coliseum by 8:15 a.m. and seated by 9:15 a.m.

Upon arrival at the Coliseum, candidates will proceed to the southeast corner of the coliseum (back left) to pick up seating cards. The back of this card may be completed for the photographers. This card is also handed to the announcer for the purpose of calling the graduate's name as they cross the stage, so please do not roll or fold this card. The card lists the candidate's name and any honors earned. It also details where the graduate's seat is located. Initially, seating will be in the bleachers where the seats are numbered and the rows lettered. We have also assigned colors to each section to facilitate the assigning of seats. After receiving instructions, graduates will then be led to seating on the Coliseum floor.

Students who participate in the commencement exercises are expected to remain until the completion of the ceremony. By choosing to participate, each student is committing to stay for the entire ceremony.

William R. Johnson Coliseum is located at the corner of East College and University Drive.

The physical address is:

William R. Johnson
1002 E. College Street
Nacogdoches, TX 75962

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The commencement program lists applicants or candidates for degrees. The appearance of a name in the commencement program and the fact of attending commencement exercises is no guarantee of receiving the degree.

Commencement Parking Information and Map

Are there tickets?
We currently do not use tickets for commencement guests but respectfully request that graduates limit the number of their guests to approximately five individuals.
How do I know if I am graduating with Honors? (applicable for Undergraduate students only)

A student receiving a baccalaureate degree with academic honors has completed a course of study with at least 54 semester hours of SFA residence course work excluding pass/fail hours and has a cumulative grade point average of 3.4 or higher. The hours described in this statement appear on the transcript as GPA Hours. GPA's are not rounded; they are carried out to three digits after the decimal point. The honors are:

1. Summa Cum Laude 3.800 to 4.000
2. Magna Cum Laude 3.600 to 3.799
3. Cum Laude 3.400 to 3.599

Honors are called at the Commencement Ceremony. Students pursuing a second baccalaureate degree are held to the same standards for Honors as those pursuing their first baccalaureate degree. Based upon policy 6.18 which describes the requirements for the second baccalaureate degree, at least 30 of the 54 hours must be new hours. The Honors that are called are based upon the last completed semester. The final Honors earned will be posted to the transcript and will be printed on the diploma.

Graduate level students are not eligible for honors. Five-year Professional Accountancy candidates graduate as Graduate level students, therefore if honors are earned at the undergraduate level, they will not be called at the Commencement ceremony. These honors will appear on the undergraduate diploma.

Graduation as a University Scholar is determined by the School of Honors office. For details regarding the School of Honors and the University Scholar program.

Where do I get Invitations, Honor Cords, and Class Rings?

Invitations may be ordered at your discretion through the vendor of your choice.

Honor Cords
SFA does not sanction the wearing of Honor Cords or Sashes. While this practice is not sanctioned, it is also not prevented. Honor cords may be ordered at your discretion through the vendor of your choice.

Class Rings
You may participate in the SFA Ring Tradition by contacting the SFA Alumni Association website or calling the Tracie D. Pearman Alumni Center at 936-468-3407.

Where do I get my Cap and Gown?

Caps and gowns may be ordered at the Barnes & Noble Campus Bookstore in the Baker Pattillo Student Center at any time. Orders may be submitted by printing the Cap & Gown Order Form and turning it in to Barnes & Noble via e-mailing or in person. Caps and gowns will be picked up at the Barnes and Noble Bookstore in the Baker Pattillo Student Center. If you have questions please contact Barnes and Noble at (936) 468-2108 or 468-1160. Wear appropriate clothing under your gown. The mortar board is made to be worn flat on the head - parallel to the floor, and should not be decorated in any way.

It is strongly suggested that students try on the cap and gown at least a week prior to the ceremony. This is to allow time to get replacements if problems with sizing or zippers occur.

What is my Hood Color? (for Master and Doctoral students only)

Master and Doctoral Candidates - Please follow the link below to view a chart defining the Areas of Study for the Master and Doctoral Degrees earned at SFA and the corresponding hood color recommended when purchasing your cap and gown.

Master and Doctoral Hood Colors

I want my name pronounced correctly - who do I contact?
  1. Applicants will be notified when this link is available
  2. Log into MySFA
  3. Click on Academics
  4. To left of screen is a Graduation box
  5. Click View Personal Graduation Information link
  6. Enter name pronunciation based upon guidelines provided
I heard there will be a slideshow at Commencement. How do I get my picture and message included?
  1. Applicants will be notified when this link is available
  2. Log into MySFA
  3. Click on Academics
  4. To left of screen is a Graduation box
  5. Click View Personal Graduation Information link
  6. Upload appropriate photo and/or enter message for Commencement slideshow
  7. Content will be monitored by the University
How do I change my Commencement Participation selection? Can I walk and graduate next semester?

Commencement Participation

  • When a student files for graduation, he/she indicates on the application whether or not they intend to participate in the commencement ceremony. Students can check on the preference registered by going to their MySFA account and clicking on the View Personal Graduation Information link. This preference can be changed at any time by e-mailing Include your name and ID number in all correspondence to SFA for identification purposes.

  • Students may only participate in the commencement ceremony corresponding with the intended graduation date and the assigned time. For May and December commencement ceremonies, students are assigned a specific time according to the college of their primary major. Participation in an earlier or later ceremony is prohibited. If the graduation date is moved, either by the student or the Dean's representative (advising center), then participation is also moved to the new graduation date. If the graduation date is deleted by either the student or the Dean's representative, then participation is also deleted. This includes any student who is moved or deleted the day prior to the commencement ceremony.

  • Students who apply for graduation during the two weeks prior to the commencement ceremony may not participate in the ceremony.
I, or a guest, have a disability - what accommodations are available?

Candidates: If you plan to attend the commencement ceremony, please complete the SFA Commencement Accommodations Request Form and meet with the Registrar's Office representative at one of the two times listed on the form. Bring the signed form with you to that meeting.

The Office of the Registrar is committed to providing support for students with disabilities. To the greatest extent possible, the Office of the Registrar shall observe confidentiality with respect to any request for accommodation.

Students who feel they have not been accommodated appropriately can appeal that decision utilizing the university appeals process.

Guests: The commencement facility is disability accessible. University Police provides a cart for transport from the commuter parking lot to the venue. Disability Services will have a representative on hand at the commencement service to provide wheelchairs as a courtesy to our guests. SFA has a limited number of wheelchairs so availability will be on a first-come-first-served basis. Platforms, located on either side of the entrance, are designated specifically for wheelchair seating.

A sign language interpreter will be near the podium during the commencement ceremony. Reserved seating for deaf and hard of hearing is available in section 118, rows A & B, located near the front entrance.

If you would like a graduate's name finger spelled, you may submit your request to the Disability Services table located between the front entrance and the Jack Shop. Please make requests prior to the platform processional. To provide specific information for the interpreter coordinator prior to the event, please complete the Interpreter Request Form.

What about pictures, DVDs, television viewing, or Internet streaming?

Flash Photography, located in Dallas, provides the photography services. For more information regarding photos, go to Flash Photography then enter Department Code DP4.

DVD Recording
A professional quality DVD is made of each commencement ceremony available for purchase at the cost of $25.00. Information is mailed to each participating graduate regarding the purchase of a DVD or you may order online.

Internet Streaming

The ceremony is live-streamed via the SFA Facebook page.

I think I have done everything, how can I be sure?

Review all of the information found under Graduation Application Information and Commencement Information, paying particular attention to your Personal Graduation Information. If you have done everything on these pages, but you are not sure about your academics, then contact your advisor. If you need to change any of the information you have provided, please email and include your name and ID number as well as the change requested.

The Graduation area of the Registrar's Office will not send emails or make phone calls concerning your graduation audit, deficiencies, or requirements met. We communicate these things to your advisor, and any questions you have concerning these topics need to be discussed with them.

I do not plan to attend the ceremony; can I get a copy of the program?
Programs are produced exclusively for the Commencement ceremony and those students and guests who attend. Our office receives a certain number of copies in advance of the ceremony, but they are all designated for specific purposes. We do not collect any left-over programs once the ceremony is complete. We suggest that you find a friend who is attending and request that they secure you a copy of the commencement program.

Diploma Information

I have two majors, will I be getting two diplomas?
At SFA, students earn one degree at a time. This means one diploma at a time. You may have more than one major, but you will only receive one degree/diploma. Students desiring more than one degree must complete their first degree and then return to SFA to complete the additional degree. See Policy 6.18 Second Baccalaureate Degree for additional degree requirements.
I owe SFA money, will my diploma still be mailed?
Yes, but you will probably have a transcript hold.
How do I order a replacement diploma?

If paying with debit/credit card, access the following link and follow the prompts. A physical signature and copy of a valid ID will still be required. Follow the instructions for submission of these required items.

If paying with check, money order or cash, please complete the Diploma Request Form and return to the Registrar's Office. Include payment and copy of valid ID.

What if I want more than one diploma?

Additional diploma requests are accepted after the conferral of the degree to the transcript. Additional diplomas may be ordered through the replacement diploma process noted under the "How do I order a replacement diploma?" question.

Why is my Major not on my diploma?
At SFA, the diploma bears your name, graduation date and degree (with honors, if earned), and the university's seal and signatures. Though it shows full degrees - like Bachelor of Arts, or Doctor of Philosophy - majors aren't shown. This practice was established with the first printing of SFA diplomas and has not changed throughout the years since. Our office will occasionally, approximately every four years, poll other universities in Texas and the US on whether or not the major is printed on their diplomas. The polls have consistently resulted in approximately half of those responding excluding the major and the other half including the major. Therefore, SFA is not in the minority in how it chooses to print its diploma.
Are diplomas handed out at Commencement or mailed?

Diplomas are not given out at commencement. Your diploma is mailed about 6-8 weeks after graduation. Nothing, except no address provided, will prevent your diploma from being mailed.

Diplomas are mailed through the United States Postal Service. Once the diplomas are taken to the post office, SFA has met the obligation of providing a diploma for the graduating student. A unique delivery tracking number is affixed to each diploma tube that is mailed. Tracking numbers are not available until after the diplomas are mailed. Typically, students are notified via e-mail when the diploma is taken to the post office and given a time when they can begin requesting the tracking number for their diploma. To request a tracking number, send an email to Include your name and ID number for identification purposes.

My diploma was received damaged. What do I do?
Damaged diplomas may be returned to the Office of the Registrar (see label on diploma tube for return address) for free replacements. Include a note indicating why the diploma was returned and a valid address if the mailing address has changed.
How do I request notarization of my diploma?
The diploma issued upon graduation is not a notarized document. Nor do we notarize a diploma after it leaves our office. To request a notarized diploma, utilize the replacement diploma process. See the question "How do I order a replacement diploma?" for instructions on how to submit the request.
I am going to work overseas and need an apostille on my diploma. How do I get this?

Order a replacement diploma and indicate "Yes" when asked if notarization is needed. Our notary statement satisfies the requirements of the Texas Secretary of State Authentications Unit for their apostille process. Then send the notarized diploma to the Texas Secretary of State for the apostille statement.

Include the following items if our department will be responsible for sending the diploma to the Texas Secretary of State:
1. Paperwork and/or payment required by the Texas Secretary of State for the apostille
2. A self-addressed stamped envelope for the return of the diploma (Size will depend on whether or not diploma can be folded. Current diploma size is 11"x14".)