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Graduation & Commencement


Commencement Participation Policy

The following policy defines the requirements that must be met in order for students to participate in commencement exercises and/or receive diplomas during commencement exercises.  

Undergraduate Students

Only students who have completed all of the requirements for graduation prior to commencement will receive diplomas during the commencement exercises.

Graduate Students

For Graduate Students the eligibility requirements would be as follows:

  • PhDs would be required to have successfully defended their thesis and have submitted an approved final thesis to the Graduate School by a published deadline (to be determined) that would provide sufficient time for confirmation, in order to receive their diploma during the commencement exercises. 
  • Masters students completing a thesis or project - the requirements would be the same as those listed above.
  • MS students without thesis - Only students who have completed all of the requirements for graduation prior to commencement exercises will receive diplomas and be allowed to participate in the commencement exercises.
  • MBA students - Only students who have completed all of the requirements for graduation prior to the commencement exercises will receive diplomas and be allowed to participate in the commencement exercises. These guidelines would also apply to students participating in and receiving diplomas at the Rensselaer at Hartford commencement exercises.
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Graduation Checklist



Submit your Degree Application online through SIS (Student Menu, Graduation Information section) starting January 1st, 2021 until the March 12th, 2021 deadline.  If you do not complete the online application by the deadline, you will need to complete a hardcopy degree application and obtain the signature of the degree clearance officer for your major, or the Associate Dean of the School, prior to submitting it to the Registrar's Office.


Soon after the application deadline date has passed, your records will be sent to your Departmental Degree Clearance Officer for review; they will note any deficiencies in your degree requirements and notify you. If you have any questions, contact your graduation liaison in the Registrar's office.

Track the progress of your Degree Application and diploma name and address on SIS. On the Student Menu, there are menu items under Graduation Information. Be sure your diploma information is correct, and track your clearance status as the Registrar and your department review your records for graduation.

Verify that you are registered for the semester in which you intend to graduate. Check your registration using the Student Information System (SIS).

Clear up any holds. Your diploma will not be issued unless you have cleared all financial obligations. You can also check your account balance on the Student Information System(SIS).

Complete an Exit Interview if you have taken out any Rensselaer Institutional or Federal Perkins loans. You will receive an e-mail from the Student Loan office with all the instructions and details you need.

Submit your cross registration grade on time. If you are taking a course in your final term through the Hudson Mohawk Consortia, you must submit your final grade to the Registrar by our graduation date. Keep in mind that if official transcripts from other colleges are not available by that date, you need to contact their Registrar and request a letter with your final grade on official college letterhead; it must be embossed with their school seal and sent to Rensselaer's Registrar's office in Academy Hall in a signed, sealed envelope PRIOR TO our graduation date.

Update your local address in the Student Information System (SIS) so we can contact you if necessary!

Submit your transfer credit grade and Transfer Credit Approval Form to the Registrar. If you are transferring course work from another college in your final term, be sure that you have submitted this form and your official transcript to the Registrar's office BEFORE Rensselaer's graduation date.

Verify that you have met all Institute and departmental degree requirements. Please refer to the Rensselaer Catalog for complete requirements, details, and deadlines. Undergraduate students should review their CAPP report on the Student Information System (SIS) carefully. Meet with your Departmental Degree Clearance Officer if you have any questions.

Resolve any "I" (incomplete) grades. Your instructor must submit a final grade to the Registrar prior to our graduation date. Be sure to check the Student Information System (SIS) to see if you have any unresolved "I" grades.

Submit your Minor Approval Form to the Registrar early in the semester in which you intend to graduate.

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Undergraduate Honors

If you are an undergraduate student with a cumulative grade point average of 3.50 or higher, you will receive special recognition with one of the following inscriptions included on your diploma and academic transcript:

Cum Laude 3.50 - 3.69
Magna Cum Laude 3.70 - 3.89
Summa Cum Laude 3.90 - 4.00
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Degree Verification

You can request enrollment verification to document your current or past enrollment at Rensselaer.

Your enrollement verification letter can only include any information that is included in your student record, and is thus verifiable by the Student Records office. A standard enrollment verification letter contains the following information:

  • Student name
  • Rensselaer ID Number (RIN)
  • Degree being pursued
  • Major enrollment term and dates
  • Student status (full time, half time, less than half time)

Insurance companies or scholarship sponsors may also provide special forms for completion by the Student Records Office.

You may request enrollment verification: mail

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Office of the Registrar
Academy Hall 2000 Level
110 8th Street
Troy, NY 12180-3590 fax

(518) 276-6180 person

2000 level of Academy Hall email

to the Registrar