Office of the Provost

Wilson Hall, Suite 3000
371 Wilson Boulevard
Rochester, MI 48309-4486
(location map)
(248) 370-2190

A bundle of gold and black balloons of different shapes and sizes.

General Information

Each year Oakland University holds commencement ceremonies in spring (April or May) and fall (December) to honor its graduates. April and August graduates (meeting the January application deadlines) are honored in April. August and December graduates (meeting the May and September application deadlines respectively) are honored in December.  Each ceremony is an opportunity for the university to pay special tribute to its graduates for the outstanding efforts they have shown in earning their degree and for graduates to share the excitement and importance of their academic accomplishments with faculty, fellow graduates, family and friends. Ceremonies are held in the Athletics Center O’rena. Tickets are required for all guests aged three and over.

Commencement facilities are handicap accessible. Upon arrival, the staff at the facility will direct guests to the seating area.

Application for Degree
To be eligible to graduate, you must complete an Application for Degree online before the posted deadline. To view your application for degree, please log in to your sail account. For questions concerning academic status, contact your academic adviser.

Students receiving recognition for a University or special award should contact the Office of the Dean of their college or school for instructions on special seating arrangements.

Caps, gowns, announcements and rings
Commencement attire is required for participation in commencement ceremonies. Graduates may purchase their caps, gowns, personalized announcements and rings through the OU Bookstore, (248) 370-2404, in the lower level of the Oakland Center. Appropriate dress attire is required for graduates. Casual clothing such as jeans, T-shirts, and tennis shoes, etc. are not allowed, high heels are not recommended.

Winter (April) and Summer (August) graduates meeting published January application deadlines participate in the Spring commencement ceremonies held each year in April or May. Summer (August) and Fall (December) graduates meeting the respective May and September application deadlines participate in the December commencement ceremonies. All ceremonies are held in the Athletics Center O’rena.

For commencement ceremony dates and times, please see the Commencement homepage.

Upon arrival, graduates check in at the registration table where they pick up their name card, which has their degree title and honors, if any. During the commencement ceremony, the card is scanned and then handed to the reader who reads the name of the graduate as they cross the stage.

Each ceremony lasts approximately 1-1/2 to 2 hours. Graduates are asked to stay for the entire ceremony and will be directed by the marshal to process out of the O'rena.

For information specific to a ceremony, please click the appropriate link:

Diploma covers are handed out during the ceremony. Diplomas are mailed to graduates approximately 10-12 weeks after graduation. Diplomas will not be issued to any degree candidates who have outstanding financial obligations. For questions regarding diplomas, contact the Academic Records office at [email protected].

Flowers will be available for purchase at the commencement ceremonies. Additionally, Commencement Flowers provides graduates and guests with the opportunity to pre-order their product online. The web address for Oakland University is

Guest tickets
Tickets are required for all guests (aged three and over) and are available at the Commencement Fair.

Please attend the Commencement Fair (required) located in the Oakland Center Ballrooms and the Barnes & Noble Bookstore.

Reserve tickets for your guests, or update your existing ticket request.

The three levels of university honors, cum laude, magna cum laude and summa cum laude, may be awarded with the conferral of a student’s earned baccalaureate with the following cumulative grade point average: 3.60-3.74, cum laude; 3.75-3.89, magna cum laude; and 3.90-4.00, summa cum laude.

Departmental, school and conciliar honors (i.e. presidential scholars, psychology, etc.) are awarded to selected students that meet the criteria described in the appropriate section of the Undergraduate catalog.

Student Organizations should refer to the Regalia Adornments at OU Commencement Ceremonies policy to determine what adornments are approved to wear at the ceremonies.

Students who are uncertain, or have questions regarding honors, should consult with their academic adviser.

University, departmental, school and conciliar honor cords are awarded to eligible graduates at the registration table on the day of commencement at no charge to the student.

The honor societies are responsible for the distribution of their honor cords. Contact your organization for distribution and any costs that may be associated.

Students inducted into the Golden Key International Honour Society may purchase Golden Key honor cords from the Office of Student Involvement. For more information, please contact Jean Ann Miller at (248) 370-4332.

Inclement weather
In case of inclement weather, please call the university at (248) 370-2000, tune in to WJR or WWJ radio, or watch FOX2, WDIV-TV, or WXYZ-TV for information on cancellation of ceremonies.

Live stream
Family and friends who are unable to attend the commencement will be able to view the ceremonies on this website as they occur. Live stream link to be posted at a later date.

Non-degree recipients
Oakland University main commencement exercises are for students completing degrees. If you have earned a non-degree seeking certificate (ie. master's certificate or continuing education certificate), you will not be participating in commencement.

To make commencement a more enjoyable experience, graduates and their guests should review the campus map.

Participating before finishing degree requirements
Students who are completing their coursework in the semester following the ceremony must contact the Advising Office of their school or college to request to participate. Click on the link below to obtain a request to participate in commencement.

Professional photographers will photograph graduates as they receive their diplomas. The company will contact graduates independently with information on purchasing photos. For questions regarding graduation photographs contact GradImages at (800) 261-2576.

Prohibited Items
For the safety and security of all attendees, please be aware that ALL BAGS AND PURSES ARE PROHIBITED from the Athletics O’rena for Commencement for students and guests. Please leave your purse/bag at home or in your vehicle. Diaper bag contents can be brought in a clear ziplock bag. Please see the Prohibited Items Policy for a complete list of prohibited items.

Students who have requested confidential status
To comply with FERPA regulations, your name will not be listed in the commencement program. If you wish to have your name added to the program, you must inform the Academic Records Office in 160 North Foundation Hall. Students who have requested privacy under FERPA should keep in mind that Oakland University will not be able to confirm your attendance at OU when employers call to verify degrees. To remove privacy restrictions from your record, you must go to the Office of the Registrar (160 North Foundation Hall) with photo identification.

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