Catalog Changes and Time Limit for Completing Degree
There is no time limit for a student to complete a degree. However, a student has only eight years to complete their degree program under the requirements outlined in the catalog under which they began with Columbia College. After eight years they must move to the degree requirements of a newer catalog. Students have the option of changing to the degree program requirements of any newer catalog, regardless of the number of years they have attended Columbia College.
Students who are enrolled in the Servicemembers Opportunity College (SOC) Program are exempt from the eight-year limitation.
The responsibility for understanding and meeting graduation requirements rests entirely with the student. Students must also understand that some departmental changes to specific requirements, prerequisites, etc. may affect their degree program.
Candidacy for Degree
In order to graduate, you must submit a Declaration of Candidacy for Degree form, which can be found on CougarTrack under “Forms”. Declaration of candidacy for degree must occur no later than one semester or session prior to the last semester or session of enrollment, but is advised to happen a year before you plan to graduate.
File the form by the early spring if you anticipate an October or December degree completion date; or by early fall if you anticipate a March, May or July degree completion date. You may not declare candidacy for degree earlier than one year prior to your anticipated degree completion term. The graduation processing fee will be automatically charged to your account ($75 undergraduate candidates; $120 master’s candidates).
Submission of the Declaration of Candidacy for Degree form indicates your request for approval to graduate; submission alone does not guarantee approval. Your advisor will notify you of the results of your request approximately four weeks from the day you submit your declaration of candidacy.
Main Campus Commencement Ceremony Participation
In order to participate in a commencement ceremony, you must be approved to graduate (see above), and submit an Application for Commencement Ceremony form prior to the application deadline for your chosen ceremony. The form is located on CougarTrack in the “Academics” drop-down of the top links bar. The Application for Commencement Ceremony is also available within the Declaration of Candidacy for Degree form, which you can access by answering “yes” to the question posed to you by the form: “Would you like to order your cap and gown now?” There are no fees associated with application for commencement ceremony.
Students must be approved to graduate in order to participate in a commencement ceremony. Candidates may participate in commencement prior to their anticipated graduation dates if they are within one semester of degree completion. These candidates will not be eligible for the President’s Award as it is based on a final cumulative GPA of 4.0, which cannot be determined prior to degree completion.
In order to participate in a commencement ceremony after its application deadline has passed or if eligibility requirements are not met, submit a letter of appeal to the Office of the Registrar. The appeal will be coordinated with the Dean for Academic Affairs and the Office of the Registrar will notify you of the results.
Nationwide Commencement Ceremonies
Columbia College holds commencement ceremonies throughout the year at 27 of our Nationwide Campuses located across the country. Graduating students have the option of attending the commencement ceremony for their specific campus or any of the other ceremonies held throughout the year, with the exception of the ceremony in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Click here to access commencement information for Nationwide campuses.
While not all students are able to participate in a physical commencement ceremony, everyone is able to participate in Columbia College’s Virtual Commencement Ceremony. The website for virtual commencement allows graduates and their family and friends who are unable to attend a ceremony the opportunity to share in this momentous event.
The virtual commencement ceremony contains a message from the Provost, the President of the Alumni Association, a commencement address, reading of graduate names and a view of a diploma for each graduate. In addition, guests can view graduate profiles and sign the guestbook to offer congratulations.