Getting Started on Your Graduation Application

At UW, it's important to note that graduation is not something that happens automatically - there are action steps each student needs to take in order to get their diploma and complete their degree program. If you are an undergraduate student majoring in a Humanities subject, you will need to complete an application for graduation with an HAS adviser. After that, there are things you'll need to do to get ready for your big day! This page is designed to be a comprehensive resource on everything you ever wondered about how graduation works but were afraid to ask.

The Basics

  • If you’re getting ready to graduate (or thinking ahead about graduation), congratulations on getting to this important milestone! Graduating from the UW is not something that happens automatically; there are steps you’ll need to take to complete the graduation process and get your diploma:

    1) Set up a graduation appointment with one of our advisers. This meeting can happen up to 3 quarters before you actually plan to graduate. You will need your student number and projected quarter of graduation.

    2) Work with your adviser at this appointment to complete a graduation application. A graduation application is an online form that is completed by an academic adviser in collaboration with the student. This should take about 30 minutes.

    3) Verify your timeline for completing the remaining degree requirements for majors and minors. All being well, your adviser will submit the graduation application on your behalf.


    Students are not required to complete their graduation advising appointment 3 quarters in advance, but completing this step early gives students graduating senior registration priority. The latest a student can submit a graduation application is by 5:00 p.m. on the 3rd Friday of the quarter they plan to graduate.


    HAS will send reminders to students about graduation appointments at the start of every quarter, and students can complete this process either by making a scheduled appointment or by coming to one of our drop-in advising sessions.

  • UW International Student Services (ISS) offers info sessions for graduating international students as well as a great Final Year Checklist.

    Students can learn more about these final quarter info sessions here, but a particularly important thing to consider is application timing for OPT (Optional Practical Training) authorization for employment after graduation. This process can take 3-5 months to complete, so it should be started as soon as possible.

    Through the final year checklist and info sessions, ISS will also cover regulations on final quarter credit loads, travel, on and off-campus employment, and inviting families to visit the U.S. for graduation.

  • Graduating Senior Priority (GSP) allows students to register for classes on the first day of Period I, which is in effect, the very front of the line.

    Students are eligible for a maximum of two (2) quarters of GSP, so by submitting a Graduation Application about 2 quarters in advance (e.g., during the autumn quarter for graduation in spring), students can receive up to two-quarters of GSP. In this example, students would have Graduating Senior Priority for winter and spring quarter registration.

    Students should ask a HAS adviser if they unsure about GSP. The UW’s Academic Calendar is regularly updated to help students know what date they can start registering for classes. If you change your mind about graduation and have already used GSP for two quarters, that’s OK,  students simply return to “regular” senior priority.

  • UW requires students to complete at least 45 out of their final 60 credits while “in residence” as students at UW. If a student is completing courses remotely due to exceptional circumstances or is participating in a UW study abroad program, these credits are still considered to be “in residence” as long as the credits a student receives are UW credits.

    Courses where credit needs to be “transferred in” from another institution are not considered in residence credits.

    For full details on what residence credit is and is not, please see this page.

  • A graduation appointment is designed to help make sure students are fully informed on everything they can expect to happen during their final quarter(s) at UW.

    Advisers will talk about how the graduation application process works, what graduating senior priority is and how to use it, what remaining requirements the student will need to complete before graduation is approved, and how to make the best possible transition from “student” to “graduate”. Your adviser will also answer any other questions you might have about what to expect.

  • In addition to the confirmation email students receive from the Registrar’s office, students can check their degree audit (DARS) to see if a graduation date is listed. If a student is in the system as graduating, they’ll see a quarter/year (SPR/2022, WIN/2023) at the top of their degree audit after the caption "Graduation Date." This date represents a confirmation that your application to graduate has been processed.

Get Ready for the Big Day

  • Typically, students have the option to participate in two different graduation celebrations: UW Commencement (a large event that includes the graduating students from the entire university) and a smaller departmental graduation event. Students can check the UW’s Commencement website for information on tickets, the event program, graduation apparel, parking and transportation, eligibility, and photos.

    The UW Commencement celebration and departmental graduation ceremonies happen every year in June. Students can complete their degrees and graduate in any quarter, but eligibility to participate in a given year’s Commencement ceremony has some timing deadlines. In addition to spring graduates, students who completed their degree(s) in the autumn or winter quarters immediately preceding that year’s spring Commencement may also join in and participate. Students who will graduate in the summer quarter immediately following that spring's commencement ceremony may also participate “early”.

    Departmental celebration events typically have their own rules and restrictions, and these events are considered entirely separate from UW Commencement. It’s important to note that registration for one event does not automatically register you for the other. Students must register for  both of these events in order to participate.

    Regardless of which quarter a student is graduating, communications on graduation events are typically emailed to students around April of each year. Each department may have its own web page for graduation events, so students are encouraged to check directly with departments for details. HAS does not host graduation events.

  • Students will be able to order academic apparel (i.e., a cap & gown) when they complete the Registration/Order Form that will be available on this page in early May.

    Students in the Seattle area will be able to pick up their orders at the University Book Store in late May/ early June - when you submit your order online, you'll be asked to select your pickup date. Students who are no longer in the Seattle area will be directed to specific pick up times closer to the date of the ceremony.

    One last note: please plan your order carefully! Adding additional items to your order after it has already been placed may be difficult.

  • For the Commencement celebration in Husky stadium, details on how to RSVP for tickets or event parking passes will be available each year starting around the second week of April via this link for tickets, and this link for parking passes. Details for how to RSVP for tickets and how to arrange parking for departmental celebration events will be communicated to students via email directly by departments around late April/early May.   

  • Diplomas are sent to students by the UW Registrar’s office, not a department.

    Students are encouraged to check their address settings in MyUW to make sure this important delivery goes to the correct address.

    Students may need proof that they have received their degree much earlier for employment purposes. Prospective employers, graduate schools, and others who require verification that a student has earned their degree can get this confirmation through the UW’s Degree Validation site.

    Confirmation that a student has earned their degree will also appear on their transcript, starting about 2-3 weeks after the end of a student’s graduating quarter if all requirements are verified as being completed.

Towards the Future

  • Yes – helping students to prepare for the next chapter in their lives is an important part of the UW experience. Students can make appointments to talk about career development or grad school planning at any stage of their time at UW, and we also strongly recommend students also engage early and often with career coaches at the UW Career & Internship Center.

    If you’re looking to see what opportunities are out there and you have a strong understanding of your skills and experience, the UW’s handshake platform is a go-to resource for job and internship opportunities. Students can build skills in interviewing, networking, and application materials prep through career center resources. HAS advisers are also always happy to work with students to help them understand how this connects to their specific degree program or the Humanities in general.

    If you’re thinking about continuing your education with a graduate degree, HAS advisers can talk about how to figure out which program will be right for you, how to build a competitive application, and what to know when it comes to funding and application timelines. This link offers some great information on where to start when it comes to asking for letters of recommendations, application timelines and materials required.

    HAS advisers can also help you to learn more about overseas experience programs that revolve around international exchange, teaching, volunteering, and aid work. The more you use these resources, the better prepared you’ll be for what comes next.

  • Staying connected to the Humanities and to UW can involve as much or as little as the student is comfortable with. At a basic level, the UW alumni association is a network of over 50,000 huskies, with regional chapters in cities and countries across the world. Students can learn about alumni events, resources, and networking opportunities here.

    Full information on different alumni chapter locations is available here. Another useful resource is the University of Washington’s LinkedIn page, which allows students and alumni to find each other through graduation years, locations, and degree programs.

    Once a student graduates, email can be forwarded to a personal address. UW NetIDs and passwords will remain unchanged and can be used to sign into certain services. The best way for graduates to stay in the loop is to make sure their information is kept up to date: the UW alumni association offers a dedicated online portal to do that here.