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HPD Candidates

Overview of HPD May 2020 Commencement

The NSU May HPD Commencement for candidates from the College of Dental Medicine, College of Medical Sciences, and Dr, Kiran C. Patel College of Osteopathic Medicine is Friday, May 15 at 9:30 a.m. Commencement for candidates from the College of Optometry, College of Pharmacy, and Dr. Pallavi Patel College of Health Care Sciences (Athletic Training, Physical Therapy, and Speech-Language Pathology only)  is Friday, May 15 at 2:30 p.m. Both ceremonies take place in the Rick Case Arena at the Don Taft University Center (UC) on the NSU main campus in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

PLEASE NOTE: As stated in your student handbook, attendance at commencement is mandatory for most HPD programs. Graduates enrolled in a program that does not require commencement attendance (click here for a listing of those programs), who state their intention to attend commencement and/or the senior awards dinner by submitting an RSVP through the online Commencement Participation Form (CPF), will be assessed a non-refundable $175.00 HPD graduation fee (in addition to the $100.00 degree application fee).

Graduates will be required to be on site and meet in the second floor RecPlex one hour prior to their ceremony in order to line up for the processional. Guests will also be allowed to enter the arena one hour prior to the ceremony start time. Heightened security measures, including metal detectors and bag searches, will be in place at the Rick Case Arena in the Don Taft University Center for all candidates and guests. Please plan your arrival accordingly. Leave purses and other personal items with guests to ensure timely arrival and preparation for the ceremony. No purses, guests, or food and drink will be allowed in the RecPlex staging area.

August 2020 candidates will receive commencement instructions in June and should not RSVP for any commencement-related activities at this time. Any online information submitted by August candidates prior to then will be deleted and not carryover from the May to August ceremonies.

Frequently asked questions regarding NSU commencement can be found at

Application for Degree/Diploma

The deadline date to submit your degree/diploma application is during your final semester of coursework. Visit the online application for degree/diploma page for more information on completing your application and the fee schedule. Have your NSU SharkLink email name and password ready before you begin this process.

Do not confuse the online degree/diploma application with your online commencement RSVP and regalia order form. They are two separate processes.

Graduation Fees

Make sure that your degree/diploma and library fees have been paid, all library books returned, and any academic and financial responsibilities fulfilled. These must all be taken care of prior to the receipt of your diploma and final transcript.

Commencement Invitation/Caps and Gowns

Eligible candidates will be sent a SharkLink email in mid-March with instructions for commencement. All candidates must submit the 1) Commencement Participation Form (CPF) and 2) order regalia (cap, gown, and hood). This communication will also contain information about family hooding (for doctoral candidates only) and the awards dinner.

Completing a CPF reserves your space at the commencement ceremony and ordering proper academic regalia is the responsibility of all candidates who attend. All students are required to wear the NSU-customized regalia available exclusively through the NSU Bookstore; thus, you may not wear borrowed regalia or regalia purchased from alternative vendors. Any questions regarding academic regalia should be addressed to the NSU Shark Store, by telephone at (954) 262-4799 or via email.


At HPD commencement ceremonies, professional photographers will photograph each candidate a minimum of two different times including the exact moment of doctoral hooding and when shaking hands with the dean or president. Each candidate will be emailed proof images along with the opportunity to select from a variety of photo packages. There is no obligation to purchase.

For more information, contact your photography vendor:

Werner Kahn Studios

Personal photographs may be taken only before and after the ceremony. Spectators and guests are not permitted in the aisles or on the main floor during the ceremony.

May Senior Awards Dinner - Canceled

The Senior Awards Dinner is scheduled for Thursday, May 14, 2020 at The Diplomat Beach Resort Hollywood, 3555 South Ocean Drive, Hollywood, FL 33319.

This event features a wine and cheese reception at 7:00 p.m., followed by dinner at 8:00 p.m. Business attire is suggested and bringing children is strongly discouraged (there is no discounted child ticket). You must reserve your seat online in order to attend. Each candidate may reserve up to two free places for you and one guest (tickets are non-transferable). Additional guest seating is available at $85.00 per person. 

May Family Hooding

Hooding is a tradition practiced by HPD where a new doctoral graduate is welcomed into the profession by another member of the profession, usually, a faculty member. There are several exceptions:

  • You have an immediate family member who is a graduate of a program that has the same degree you are about to receive (e.g., you are receiving your doctoral degree in Optometry and your immediate family member is a doctor of Optometry).

  • You are receiving your doctoral degree in Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.) and your immediate family member is a Doctor of Medicine (M.D.).
  • You are receiving your doctoral degree in Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) and your immediate family member has a bachelor's degree in Pharmacy (Pharm.B.)
  • If you have an immediate family member who is on the faculty at Nova Southeastern University's Health Professions Division.

Please Note: An immediate family member is defined as a spouse, mother, father, aunt, uncle, mother-in-law, father-in-law, sister, brother, grandparent, son, or daughter.

Requests for family hooding will begin this March and close on Friday, May 1, 2020. No requests for family hooding will be accepted after the deadline date.

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