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Graduation Frequently Asked Questions

Graduation means earning the degree; Ceremony means participation in some or all the activities. Most students do both.

Minimum Requirements for Graduation:  

  • 126 earned Semester Credits
  • Completion of all General Education Requirements
  • Completion of at least One Major with a Minimum 2.0 GPA 
  • Overall Minimum GPA of 2.0
  • No NR (No Report) or I (Incomplete) Grades  

Some majors have more rigorous requirements, so please be sure to consult the college catalog or the department.

 December grads are complete with their fall semester courses;  May grads are complete with their spring semester courses;  July grads finish with coursework in May term, June term or July term.

 Communication about graduation, including notification of problems after the final term, is through the Hope e-mail account.

 Important information is mailed to you at your CURRENT (local) address. Please make sure you get this information by checking that your CURRENT address is accurate.  Your current address is listed on your KnowHopePlusaccount under "Personal Information."  Report any corrections to the Registrar's Office.

Check your on-line Degree Evaluation on KnowHopePlus (directions) to identify any missing requirements for general education, major, or minor.  Also check to see that your majors and minors are accurate.  Report any corrections to the Registrar's Office.



September After the drop/add date, an "Application to Graduate" notice is sent via Hope College e-mail to degree-seeking students who have earned 66 or more credits.
October "Application to Graduate" must be submitted electronically; consult earlier mail for exact date.
November Applied December graduates who are missing graduation requirements notified via HOPE e-mail.
December Luncheon for applied December graduates and their parents (contact Provost's Office for details).

December grads and students who will be on an off-campus program in spring semester and plan to participate in the May Commencement ceremony should come to the Registrar's Office during exam week to complete graduation materials before they leave for Christmas Break.

January Graduation packets with ceremony information and reservations mailed to current address of students who applied to graduate and indicated that they would participate in the May Commencement ceremony; materials are returned during Senior Days in February.
February Senior Days in DeWitt Lounge early in the month (see graduation packet for exact dates)-final verification of graduation plans, ticket, cap & gown ordering.
March Deadline for indicating participation in commencement ceremony. Potential May & July graduates who are missing graduation requirements notified via HOPE e-mail.
April/May Pick up caps & gowns and commencement and baccalaureate tickets (see graduation packet for exact date). 

Commencement rehearsal-see graduation packet for exact date-mandatory for ceremony participants.

Questions?  E-mail Liz Steenwyk,, or come to the Registrar's Office. 


Frequently Asked Questions About Graduation

What is an "Application to Graduate?"
An "Application to Graduate" is a form found on the Registrar's Office webpage and let's us know that you plan to graduate (complete your degree requirements).  In September, you may submit the form electronically. 

How do I determine whether to apply as a May, July, or December graduate?
If you will complete your final degree requirements at the end of a Spring Semester, you should apply as a May graduate. 

If you will complete your final degree requirements at the end of a May, June, or July term, you should apply as a July graduate. 

If you will complete your final degree requirements at the end of a Fall Semester, you should apply as a December graduate. 

If you're not positive about what term you'll complete your final degree requirements, select your "best guess" and notify the Registrar's Office of any change.

How many commencement ceremonies does Hope College have?
Hope has one ceremony each May.  Students who are completing their final requirements anytime from the previous December to the next December may participate in the May Commencement ceremony.

Who is eligible for the Commencement Ceremony? 
Students may participate in only one Commencement ceremony; their names may appear in only one Commencement program. 

December grads may choose the ceremony before or after they graduate, but only one.

Some of my general education requirements on my degree evaluation are marked "not met."  I want to request a substitution or waiver.  How should I do this?
Use the General Education Waiver/Substitution Form available in the Registrar's Office or on its webpage. You'll need to provide a brief rationale (reason) for your request and get your advisor's approval.  Return the completed form to the Registrar's Office; the registrar will notify you and your advisor whether he has approved or denied your request. 

Some of the requirements for my major or minor are marked on my degree evaluation "not met."  I have oral approval for substitutions OR I want to request a substitution or waiver.  What should I do so my on-line degree evaluation is accurate?
Use the Major/Minor Substitution/Waiver Form available in the Registrar's Office or on its webpage.  To get approval for a waiver or substitution of a major or minor requirement, you'll need the WRITTEN approval of the department chairperson.

When that form is returned to the Registrar's Office, we'll update your evaluation.

If you have questions about requirements for your majors or minors, work with your department advisor or chair.

I've decided not to complete a major or minor that I previously declared.  What should I do?
You must undeclare any major or minor you've decided not to complete.  Use the same form you used to declare the major or minor; forms are available in the Registrar's Office and its webpage.

If you've completed an "Application to Graduate" and are revising what you submitted, it's very important that you notify Liz Steenwyk in the Registrar's Office:

I have two majors.  What do I need to earn two degrees?

  • Completion of at least 156 credits (30 credits beyond 126)
  • Completion of at least two majors
  • Completion of two different degrees.  For example, a BA with a major in philosophy and a  BS with a major in chemistry; or a BA with a major in psychology and a BSN (bachelor of science in nursing); or a BMU with a major in vocal performance and a BA with a major in theatre.  It's possible to have earned 156 credits and have two majors, but not complete two different degrees.
  • Completion of all general education requirements for both degrees.
  • It's more common to complete two majors, one degree, and 126 credits.
  • Questions?  Contact Liz Steenwyk in the Registrar's Office.

What if I change my mind about taking part in the Commencement ceremony?
You must notify Liz Steenwyk in the Registrar's Office:  Changes to the Commencement program may not be possible after March 15.

What if I change my mind about when I will complete all the requirements for graduation?
You must notify Liz Steenwyk in the Registrar's Office:

When will I get my diploma?  Where will it be sent?
Most students who complete all their degree requirements in Spring Semester will receive their diplomas in late May.  If grades are late or there are other problems, there will be delays. Diplomas are not mailed if students have a hold with Business Services. 

Your diploma will be mailed to your PERMANENT address.  Check yourKnowHopePlus account under "Personal Information" to see your current (local) and permanent addresses.  If either is inaccurate, please come to the Registrar's Office. We're not able to accept changes made over the telephone: to protect the confidentiality of your records, we must have your signature.

After you leave Hope, you can change your address on your alumni myhope page.

If I participate in the Commencement ceremony, have I been approved to graduate?
No. Graduation means finishing all your degree requirements. The ceremony is just a celebration.

How will I know that I have officially graduated and that my degree from Hope College has been awarded?
You can check your on-line academic transcript in your KnowHopePlus account

 If your degree has been awarded (completed), the degree awarded, degree date, any institutional honors (see below), and majors and minors will be listed near the top of your on-line academic transcript. 


You can order a transcript and request that it be mailed to you after your degree has been posted (awarded).  When your degree has been awarded, we'll mail your transcript to you.  An official transcript (not your diploma) is the way you notify graduate and professional schools, employers, and yourself that you have earned a degree from Hope College-CONGRATULATIONS! 

What does it take to graduate with honors?  Will my honors be included in the commencement program?
Graduation honors are NOT listed in the Commencement program-honors are based on your cumulative grade point average, and grades for Spring Semester are due after Commencement.

To graduate "Cum Laude," your cumulative (over-all) grade point average must be between 3.50 and 3.69

To graduate "Magna cum Laude," your cumulative (over-all) grade point average must be between 3.70 and 3.89

To graduate" Summa cum Laude," your cumulative (over-all) grade point average must be between 3.90 and 4.00

These honors will be included on your on-line Academic Transcript (found in yourKnowHopePlus account), on your diploma, and on copies of your official transcript.