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What is commencement and how do I know if I am eligible?

Commencement and Rackham Graduate Exercises

Commencement is a ceremony that is held in honor of the completion and/or in anticipation of your fulfilling all academic requirements at the University of Michigan. The Rackham Graduate Exercises is a ceremony held only for master's or doctoral graduates who received their degrees through the Rackham Graduate School. Schools and colleges may also have separate ceremonies for their graduating students.

Graduate students can participate in both the University Graduate Exercises and Commencement. However, undergraduate students can only participate in Spring Commencement.


Graduation is the term used when the University awards you an actual degree and diploma upon completion of all academic requirements. Your name appearing in the Commencement Program and/or participating in the Commencement Ceremony does not denote graduation from the University.


Many graduate students track their progress with their departments to ensure they have met eligibility requirements to participate in commencement. Master's and doctoral candidates are welcome to contact Rackham's Office of Academic Records and Dissertations (OARD) at (734) 763-0171 for more information.