Degree Conferral and Application for Graduation

RISD officially awards degrees three times a year. Degree conferral occurs at the conclusion of the Fall semester, at the conclusion of the Spring semester, and at the conclusion of the Summer term. The conferral date is the date that will be posted on the diploma and on the official transcript.

Students must fill out a Graduation Application so that the Registrar’s office can capture the name a student wishes to appear on their diploma. Students may stay enrolled at RISD only as long as needed in order to complete graduation requirements. Students will be automatically graduated upon successful completion of all degree requirements. Students who do not complete degree requirements as anticipated by the end of the semester/term will earn their degree as of the next degree conferral date, provided successful completion of all requirements.

The Registrar’s office is in contact with students regarding diploma issuance. Diplomas are not released until the Registrar’s office confirms final degree requirement clearance. Students cannot remain enrolled at RISD after degree requirements have been completed.


Commencement is an institutional ceremony. RISD holds one commencement ceremony a year, on the Saturday following the Memorial Day holiday. Students must have degree requirements completed (assuming successful completion of Spring classes in progress) in order to be listed in the Commencement program and participate in the graduation ceremony and activities.

Students who are not cleared to graduate in spring, who are within 6 credits of completing degree requirements and who expect to complete those requirements over the summer, must seek approval from the Academic Standing Committee (ASC) in order to participate in Commencement activities. A ‘Plan to Complete Degree Requirements‘ form must be completed and filed with the Registrar by April 1 for ASC review. The ASC will notify students of its decision by May 1 or as close as possible thereto.

Students who have degrees conferred in the prior Summer or Fall are invited to participate in the upcoming Commencement ceremony (as well as, for graduate levels students, the Graduate Hooding) the spring following degree requirement completion.


Students who have completed all degree requirements will receive their diplomas via mail following their degree conferral date (see the degree conferral policy for details). Please be advised that diplomas will be sent to the mailing address provided on the Graduation Application. Contact with any questions regarding diploma mailing.

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