Graduation and Commencement

Graduation

Students must complete all requirements and at least 120 credits to receive the bachelor of arts (BA) or bachelor of science (BS) degree, or 56 credits to receive the nursing certificate. Mills College confers degrees three times per year.

Graduation Date

Requirements Completed Graduation Date
Summer Term September 1
Fall Semester January 2
Spring Semester Date of Commencement

Students completing the degree or certificate requirements "In Absentia" must provide the Office of the Registrar with an official transcript of their completed remaining requirements. The graduation date will be the final term in which the work was completed.

Degree Completion Options

Undergraduate seniors who have no more than 8 credits outstanding to complete the degree may be eligible for two degree completion options. Students may choose to complete the degree requirements "In Absentia" (see Graduation "In Absentia" below) or may choose to utilize the Reduced Tuition Program (see Reduced Tuition Program below).   

Graduation "In Absentia"

Bachelor's degree candidates may complete up to their final 8 semester course credits of work at another institution. To graduate in absentia, before leaving Mills, students:

  • must have completed at least 112 credits, and
  • must not have reached the transfer credit limit, and
  • must have no more than 8 credits remaining, and
  • must have no requirements in the major, and
  • must have completed the Community Engaged Learning Core requirement and College 5.

The same policy applies to nursing students with no more than 4 remaining credits.

Students must petition for "In Absentia" status by completing and submitting a Degree Completion Options Petition, which specifies when and where the credits will be completed. Payment of the "In Absentia" fee (refer to Tuition and Fees for details on charges) can be submitted with the petition or charged to the student's account. This non-refundable fee for "In Absentia" status will only be charged if the petition is approved.  This fee is subject to change. Students may be "In Absentia" for a maximum of four semesters. A student who does not complete the degree or certificate within two years must apply for readmission to the College. In no case will the degree or certificate be granted unless the student has completed all requirements. "In Absentia" students are eligible to participate in Commencement. 

Financial obligations to the College must be satisfied for the student to be eligible to apply for "In Absentia" status.

Reduced Tuition Program

Seniors needing no more than a maximum of 8 semester credits to fulfill all remaining requirements (4 credits for nursing students) may be eligible for the Reduced Tuition Program. The credits may fulfill any requirement such as elective, major, minor, general education or overall credits.  Students may not cross-register under the Reduced Tuition Program.

To qualify, students must be no more than 8 credits from fulfilling all requirements to graduate including major, general education, elective and 120-credit requirements. A maximum of 8 credits may be completed through the Reduced Tuition Program. Students who have utilized the Reduced Tuition Program, who wish to take additional credits, can take them only for audit, and will be charged the part-time auditor fee.

Students petition for the Reduced Tuition Program by completing the Degree Completions Options Petition. Mark the “Reduced Tuition Program” checkbox and submit the form to the Office of the Registrar. Please allow 10 business days for processing. Refer to Tuition and Fees for details on charges. The same policy applies to nursing students with no more than 4 remaining credits.

Students utilizing the Reduced Tuition Program will be charged regular student fees including ASMC, AC Transit, and Campus Comprehensive. 

Students who choose the Reduced Tuition option will not be eligible to receive institutional financial aid, i.e., Mills College scholarships, grants and/or loans. Students are advised to meet with a financial aid counselor regarding eligibility for federal and/or state aid. To be considered for federal and/or state aid students typically must be enrolled at least half time and be making satisfactory academic progress for financial aid. Students also must not have exceeded the maximum number of semesters of financial aid eligibility.

Students utilizing the Reduced Tuition Program are eligible to participate in Commencement. In no case will the degree or certificate be granted unless the student has completed all requirements.

Financial obligations to the College must be satisfied for the student to be eligible to apply for Reduced Tuition Program.

Graduation Application

An Undergraduate Application for Graduation is required of all undergraduate students who anticipate completing their requirements, or who will be within 4 (nursing certificate) or 8 (BA or BS) credits of completing their requirements and wish to participate in the Commencement ceremony.

The application must be submitted to the Office of the Registrar by May 1 (or the following Monday if it falls on a weekend) if graduating in subsequent fall term and Dec 1 (or the following Monday if it falls on a weekend) if graduating in the subsequent spring or summer term. The application, available online, requires the student's and advisor's signatures. Incomplete or late graduation applications may result in the student not being included in Commencement. For further information, contact records@mills.edu.

Commencement

The Commencement ceremony, which takes place each May, includes formal conferral of the degree for students who have completed all requirements either in the previous summer, fall, or spring. Conferral of the degree is symbolized by the awarding of the bachelor of arts or bachelor of science hood and presentation of the diploma. 

Students who have completed at least 112 credits toward their bachelor of arts or bachelor of science degree and who have no more than 8 credits remaining to fulfill all major and minor requirements are also eligible to participate in the Commencement ceremony. This same policy applies to nursing students who have no more than 4 credits remaining. Students who wish to participate must submit a graduation application. It is expected that these students will complete their remaining requirements at Mills, either during summer or fall immediately following Commencement, or petition the ASC to complete their degree “In Absentia” provided the remaining credits are not major requirements, and the student has not already reached the transfer credit maximum. The degree will be conferred when all degree requirements have been completed. 

Seniors who are not eligible to participate in Commencement are encouraged to join other activities planned during the Commencement weekend. Contact the Division of Student Life for additional information.

Formal academic regalia are required of all students participating in the Commencement ceremony.

Diplomas

Diplomas for students who have completed their requirements in the summer are mailed in October. Diplomas for students who have completed their requirements in the fall are mailed in March. Diplomas for spring graduates are mailed in late July. The diploma bears the student's full name as it appears in myMILLS, major, and the actual date of graduation. Minors and major concentrations are not recorded on the diploma. Latin honors, if applicable, are noted on the Mills College diploma. All other honors are not noted on the diploma.

In the case of a double major, only one diploma is issued bearing both majors. Two separate diplomas are issued only if a BA and BS is completed and each diploma will bear the respective major.

Diplomas are mailed to the diploma mailing address. If a diploma mailing address is not provided, it is mailed to the permanent address of record. To ensure the diploma is mailed to the correct address, the student is asked to complete the Diploma Mailing Address Request form sent to students by the Office of the Registrar prior to ordering diplomas. The Diploma Mailing Address Request form is sent to the preferred email account of record, or the Mills email account if there is no preferred email account of record.

The student will need to order a replacement diploma and pay the replacement fee if a diploma mailing address was not submitted by the deadline stated on the Diploma Mailing Address Request form or if Mills has sent the diploma to the diploma address provided, or the permanent address of record if a diploma mailing address was not provided. 

Diplomas will not be released under the following conditions:

  • If a student is in financial default, the College may withhold the diploma until the financial obligations are met.
  • If a student has any outstanding grades, the diploma will be held until all grades are received and recorded.
  • If a student attended another institution through cross-registration during the final semester, the diploma will be held until an official transcript from the institution is received and reviewed and credit is granted.
  • Diplomas for doctoral students will be released only upon receipt of the School of Education Diploma Release Form.

Changes to Academic Records After the Degree Has Been Conferred

A student's academic record is sealed when the degree has been conferred. With the exception of errors, omissions, or documented discrepancies, changes to a student's major, minor, concentration, or academic honors, or the removal and/or change of incompletes, grades, pending grad appeals for last term in attendance, or other components of the academic record are not permitted.