Commencement photo

We're committed to helping you reach your goals. This webpage is packed with all things graduation and commencement. Reach out to with any questions.

First Things First: Apply to Graduate

Did you know graduation isn't automatic? Before you can graduate (regardless if you're participating in the commencement ceremony), you must apply in one of the following ways:

Important Dates and Deadlines: 


Last day to apply to walk in the ceremony

Last day to apply to receive a diploma only

August 1
(Option to walk in Winter ceremony)
August 1
(Jan. 14, 2021)
November 15December 15
(May 14, 2021)
March 15April 15

Commencement Information

Congratulations! We are so proud and we look forward to seeing you walk across that stage during commencement. Commencement is a ticketed event. All ceremonies are held in the Physical Education (PE) Building on the La Plata Campus

Below is a lot of important information about commencement. Any questions? Reach out to

Commencement Ceremony Details

The College of Southern Maryland holds a winter ceremony (for fall and summer graduates) in January and two spring ceremonies (for spring graduates) in May.

2021 Commencements

Winter Ceremony – Thursday, January 14, 2021
Spring Ceremony - Friday, May 14, 2021

  • Location:
    • Commencement ceremonies are held in the PE Building at the La Plata Campus.
    • Tickets are required for guests to attend these events; graduating students do not need a ticket.
  • Tickets
    • Please note:  Student must use their CSMD student email for all graduation correspondence and tickets!
    • Each graduate will receive four tickets for winter graduation and six tickets for spring graduation.  Based on the number of graduates, the allotted number of tickets could change.  No extra tickets are available.
    • Tickets are issued online through  Please be sure your email address is current on your graduation application.  Students will receive an invitation from inviting them to attend the graduation ceremony.  Please respond to this invitation.  You will create a user name and password enabling you to log on their website to order and print your own tickets.
    • Please keep the tickets in a safe place; no replacement tickets will be issued.
    • Guests (regardless of age) will not be permitted to enter the PE Building without a ticket, no exceptions.
  • Graduate Attire
    • Remove wrinkles from the gown by steaming or ironing on a low heat setting.
    • Graduates who are members of Phi Theta Kappa may wear the gold PTK stole, tassel, or cord.
    • Graduates who are members of other honor societies may wear their regalia.  You are responsible for getting the regalia. Other honor stoles, cords, or medals may be worn as well.
    • The dress code for the ceremony for graduates is business casual.  Please no jeans, shorts, or flip flops. 
    • Tassels are worn on the right side of the cap.
  • Caps and Gowns
    • Caps and gowns are pre-ordered in bulk and will be available for purchase at all CSM Bookstores. Students must have a cap and gown to participate in the ceremony.  The following regalia packages are available in the college stores:
      1. Basic Package – cap/gown/tassel - $33.50
      2. Basic Plus – cap/gown/tassel and box of 20 generic CSM announcements - $50
      3. Premium Package – all of the above and a diploma frame $143.50
    • The College Store will also sell flowers for the graduates at the graduation ceremonies.
  • Bag Checking
    • The safety of CSM students, guests, and employees is of the utmost importance.  CSM will be conducting a bag check at the commencement ceremonies.  Please note that everyone may be subject to a bag check before entry.  We encourage you to leave large bags, purses, diaper bags, and backpacks in your vehicles or at home, as these will be subject to the bag check process at the door.  We appreciate your cooperation and patience.
  • Disability Services
    • There is a seating section for elderly or disabled guests.  Due to limited space, the college recommends that the person with the disability and only one other guest sit in the accessible seating section.  Additional members of your party should sit in the regular seating areas.  If a graduate or their guest requires disability-related accommodations, please contact Disability Support Services at 301-934-7614.
  • Photos
    • Photography is allowed during the ceremony from individual seats.  Individuals will not be permitted to stand in the aisles or at the side of the platform to take photographs during the ceremony.
    • Commencement photographs will be taken of each graduate as they cross the stage to receive their diploma.  A website for viewing the photographs will be posted in the commencement program at the ceremony.
  • Commencement Ceremony Timing
    • For the January ceremony – graduates should arrive at 1 p.m. for line-up.
    • For the May ceremonies – graduates should arrive by 8:30 a.m. for the first ceremony (all Certificates, Associate of Arts degrees, and Associate of Arts in Teaching degrees) and graduates should arrive by 1 p.m. for the second ceremony (Associate of Science degrees, Associate of Applied Science degrees, Associate of Science in Engineering degrees, and Workforce Training Certificates).  Graduates will be notified which ceremony to attend.
    • The procession of graduation students will begin promptly at the designated time; family and friends must be seated at that time.
    • You will receive an index card at check-in.  Hold on to this index card!  You are required to bring the card to the stage and present it to the Vice President of Academic Affairs to call your name and degree as you cross the stage.
    • You will be handed a small green folder as you cross the stage.  Please leave these on your chair as you recess out of the gym.  Your actual diploma and folder will be mailed to you approximately 4-6 weeks following the ceremony. 

Diplomas and Transcripts

Your diploma or certificate will be mailed to the address listed on your graduation application.  Diplomas will be mailed to students within four weeks of the ceremony.

Transcripts are not updated with graduation status until approximately two weeks following the ceremony.   Please visit: for an official message indicating they have been updated and can be ordered.

Replacement diplomas can be ordered on the transcript page as well.  Please note: all accounts must be current in order to receive a diploma or transcript.

Graduation FAQ

  • Don’t I just graduate automatically when I have finished my requirements?
    No.  To graduate from CSM, you need to apply online through Online Services, meet with an academic advisor, or attend Grad Fest.

  • What are the qualifications for graduation?
    To qualify as a candidate for a degree or certificate, students must complete all courses required in the curriculum.  Unless required courses have been officially waived, all students must meet the course requirements of their program to graduate.

    To graduate, students must pass all courses required in their curriculum and must have a grade point average (GPA) of 2.00 for all work at the college.  AAT students must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.75 and a copy of their PRAXIS scores must be on file with CSM.

  • When should I apply to graduate?
    Students should apply for graduation when they are in their last semester of classes.  Please refer to the Important Dates for deadlines.  All associate, certificate, and LOR candidates are eligible for graduation.  LOR (Letters of Recognition) recipients do not participate in the ceremony.

  • Do I have to pay a fee to graduate?
    There is no fee to apply to graduate or attend the ceremony. The only fee involved will be the purchase of a cap and gown from the Bookstore.

  • What requirements do I need to graduate with Honors?
    There are three levels of honors awarded at the completion of degrees or certificates.
    • Highest honors – a cumulative grade point average of 3.9 to 4.
    • High honors – a cumulative grade point average of 3.75 to 3.89
    • Honors – a cumulative grade point average of 3.5 to 3.74
    Students must have earned at least one-half of their degree or certificate credits at CSM in order to be eligible for honors. The honors designation is recorded on the transcript and eligible students will be given an honor cord to wear at the ceremony.

  • I am a member of PTK. How do I get my regalia?
    If you are a PTK member, you are eligible to purchase any or all of the following to wear at graduation: Honors stole, Gold Honors Tassel, or Double Honors Cord.  If you choose to do so, these items must be ordered directly from PTK International Headquarters.  Please visit their website at

    For additional information regarding PTK, please contact Mike Green at 301-934-7598 or email

  • What happens if I do not successfully complete all the credits I need for my degree after I apply to graduate?
    You will be notified after the ceremony that you did not satisfy your requirements and you may apply again as soon as you register for your remaining classes.

  • Do I have to attend the ceremony in order to receive my diploma?
    No. While we encourage you to attend this event, you do not have to attend in order to receive your diploma.  In fact, all diplomas are mailed within four weeks of the actual ceremony.