A Celebration of Your Success

Commencement is all about you—and taking time to recognize that your hard work at Northern Arizona University has brought you to this moment of personal victory. To make your day go as smoothly as possible, we've created a step-by-step guide on this page for your convenience.

Is commencement the same as graduation?

No, graduation refers to the actual fulfillment of degree requirements toward earning your physical diploma. Commencement is a public ceremony to celebrate graduation.  Participating in commencement does not mean that you have graduated. 

A step-by-step guide to a seamless commencement


Undergraduate students apply for graduation through the Office of the Registrar, graduate students apply for graduation through the Graduate College.  


Use the commencement schedules to find when your ceremony will take place— it's based on your degree and college.  


Herff Jones and the Northern Arizona University Bookstore offer a convenient source for you to purchase all of your commencement items. Order your cap, gown, tassel, honor cords, stoles of gratitude, and announcements as soon as possible. 


Whether you’re a student, parent, faculty member, or guest of the University, find parking and directions. View the inside layout of the Skydome during commencement, so you are prepared when you enter the facility.


For graduates with disabilities needing reasonable accommodation for commencement or other questions related to commencement accessibility please contact the Equity and Access Office at 928-523-3312 or equityandaccess@nau.edu.


Read through the ceremony guidelines for students on what to expect before, during, and after the ceremony.

Choose a location to meet after the ceremony and don’t forget that several of the colleges have receptions after commencement. Also make sure to check the special events happening before or after commencement.


Make your memories last by ordering portraits and videos.