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Commencement Hub

Commencement marks the culmination of your hours of study, educational dedication, and personal growth at Nova Southeastern University. As your new chapter begins, we’re excited to celebrate your achievements with this once-in-a-lifetime ceremony.

To ensure a seamless and unforgettable commencement experience, we've compiled helpful resources below. These resources cover everything from parking arrangements to ticketing information. We can’t wait to celebrate this incredible milestone with you.

Commencement Eligibility

If this is the first commencement season since your degree was conferred, you’ll be automatically invited to participate this year, so long as you weren’t invited to participate in a previous year’s commencement ceremony.

Otherwise, your specific program and school will have participation requirements. If you have questions, reach out to your academic program office or visit your college’s commencement website for clarification on requirements. 

Get Ready for Commencement!

If you’re eligible to walk at commencement, you’ll receive an email invitation via your NSU student account about commencement about two months before the ceremony. This email will offer instructions on how to complete the Commencement Participation Form (CPF) and how to order a cap and gown directly from the NSU Bookstore vendor, Oak Hall Cap & Gown. Completing a CPF reserves your space at commencement, so fill it out as soon as possible.

As stated in your student handbook, attendance at commencement is mandatory for most Health Professions Division (HPD) programs. If your program doesn't require attendance, but you'd like to attend commencement and/or senior awards dinner, submit an RSVP with the CPF and pay the HPD graduation fee to attend. 

As commencement approaches, you can refer to the NSU Commencement Website for updates.

Commencement Day

We ask that candidates arrive one hour prior to the start of the ceremony for instructions and appropriate placement for the processional. The entrance processional begins its march into the ceremony area about 10 minutes prior to the published ceremony start time.  

Commencement ceremonies typically last between two and two-and-a-half hours. While you may be eager to celebrate afterwards, all graduates should remain seated throughout the ceremony. This ensures each candidate gets to share this special moment on stage with the entire graduating class and their loved ones.

The academic procession consists of candidates, faculty, administration, and invited guests. About one hour before the ceremony starts, the procession will assemble. Ten minutes before the published ceremony start time, the procession will make its way to the arena floor.

If you’re a candidate, you’ll enter the Don Taft University Center and continue to the RecPlex on the second floor. You’ll then be directed by a staff member to your designated location to line up and be grouped by school. At this time, you’ll also receive a reader card to write your name as you would like it to be read.

To signify the closing of each ceremony, the president of the university will ask candidates to rise at their seats for the conferral of degrees. Upon conferral, only undergraduate candidates will be asked to move their tassels from the right side to the left side of their caps.

At the conclusion of commencement, the Grand Marshal will lead the stage party from the arena, followed by faculty and candidates. Guests are asked to remain at their seats until everyone has left the arena floor. 

During the ceremony, the provost will introduce the dean of your college, who will present the candidates to the president of the university. At graduate commencement ceremonies, doctoral degree candidates will be presented first, followed by master's and specialist degree candidates. 

When called to the stage for the presentation of candidates for degrees, you’ll either be directed to the left, towards the president of the university, or towards the right, towards the dean of your college. Please follow the directions of the stage attendants to ensure an orderly procession.

At the moment you receive your certificate and and/or are hooded, your photo will be taken.

Programs will be provided for commencement candidates at their seats. Each program lists the candidate's name and degree. It also contains biographical information on distinguished honorees and speakers as well as a detailed order of exercises.

Names for the commencement program are printed as they appear in SharkLink. If you have noticed an error in previous communications, correct the error via your SharkLink account.

Any discrepancy with regards to a candidate's academic major should immediately be brought to the attention of the academic adviser.

If you’re a baccalaureate degree candidate, your tassel should be on the right. Master’s degree candidates should wear their tassels on the left throughout the entire ceremony, while Doctoral degree candidates should wear their tassels on the left and carry their hoods in arm as they walk to the stage. Doctoral candidates will be hooded by a designated faculty member on stage.

Cap, Gown, and Other Regalia

All students are required to wear the NSU customized regalia available through the NSU Bookstore. Because these caps and gowns were created specifically for NSU, you may not wear regalia that is borrowed or purchased from a third party vendor.

To ensure a seamless graduation experience, NSU Bookstore representatives will be available on-site at the Shark Store on commencement day to address any last-minute regalia concerns, such as incorrect tassel color or gown fit.

The NSU Bookstore has partnered with select vendors to provide invitations, announcements, and customized diploma frames. These vendors offer graduation packages specifically tailored for you. Rings, announcements, certificates of thanks, and other graduation needs can be purchased from Herff Jones.

Visit the NSU Bookstore

For other graduation-related merchandise or questions, please reach out to the NSU Bookstore at (954) 262-4799 or

You can order a cap and gown from the NSU Bookstore; information on how to order these materials is available through your official commencement invitation, which you should’ve received via email.

Please note that NSU has customized regalia, which cannot be ordered from any third party vendor. The price of regalia varies according to the degree attained; all items purchased are yours to keep.

If you elect to have your cap and gown shipped domestically, ensure that you place your order by the final deadline of that particular commencement ceremony. If you’re shipping your order internationally, allow a minimum of 6-8 weeks for delivery. For questions on cap and gown or any other piece of regalia, call the NSU Shark Store at (954) 262-4799 or email

Doctoral Candidates

If you’re a doctoral candidate, you have the option to rent your deluxe regalia. Deluxe regalia includes a fitted tam; correct sizing techniques can be found here. If you choose to rent your items, they must be returned to the bookstore or Shark Store within seven days after commencement. If you fail to return these items, you will be charged the full purchase price.

HPD Candidates

If you’re an HPD candidate who was automatically charged for regalia in your last didactic course and did not pay the cap and gown fee, you are still required to order regalia through the NSU Bookstore online portal.

Rented deluxe regalia cannot be shipped as rentals require your signature at checkout. You can pick up your rented regalia at the NSU Shark Store at the Don Taft University Center.

At NSU, we honor our graduating veteran and military candidates with a commemorative stole to signify our appreciation for your service and valor. The military commencement stole, compliments of NSU, will be available at the Veteran Resource Center in the Carl DeSantis Building, with the presentation of your email invitation to commencement and valid military ID, DD Form 214, VA veteran’s identification card, or state driver’s license with a veteran’s designation.

Ceremony Date

Online Regalia Order Deadline Ship to Shark Store

Online Regalia Order Deadline Ship to Home

Wednesday May 1, 2024

(9:30 am & 3:00 pm) 

Bachelor's Degree Ceremonies


Friday, March 15, 2024


Monday, April 1, 2024

Thursday, May 2, 2024 (9:30 am)

Bachelor's Degree Ceremony

Friday, March 15, 2024

Monday, April 1, 2024 

Thursday, May 9, 2024

(9:30 am & 3:00 pm)

Master's and Doctoral Degree Ceremonies


(Doctoral Rental or Master's): Wednesday, March 19, 2024


(Master's Only):

Monday, April 12, 2024

Friday, May 10, 2024

(9:30 am & 3:00 pm)

Master's and Doctoral Degree Ceremonies


(Doctoral Rental or Master's):   Wednesday, March 19, 2024


(Master's Only): 

 Monday, April 12, 2024

Friday, June 14, 2024

(9:30 am & 3:00 pm)

Master's and Doctoral Degree Ceremonies


(Doctoral Rental or Master's):

Tuesday, April 23, 2024


(Master's Only):

Friday, May 17, 2024

Friday, August 16, 2024

(9:30 am & 3:00 pm)

Master's and Doctoral Degree Ceremonies

 (Doctoral Rental or Master's): Tuesday, June 25, 2024

(Master's Only): 

Friday, July 19, 2024  

If your regalia has not shipped and the date of the ceremony has not passed, you can receive a full reimbursal by contacting the Shark Store.

If your regalia has already shipped, you can return the regalia in-person at the NSU Bookstore with the original sales receipt. Regalia can also be mailed back to the NSU Bookstore (3300 S. University drive, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33328-2004) along with the original sales receipt; you will be refunded once these items have been received.

Your NSU Diploma

While you'll receive a celebratory certificate on stage at commencement, official diplomas are not distributed at the ceremony. To claim your official diploma, simply complete an online Application for Degree after commencement.

To get your diploma, you must first fill out the Application for Degree online no later than the last semester in which your program will be completed. Once you’ve completed and paid for your Application for Degree, the following must be completed:

  • All program requirements must be satisfied. Each school has unique program requirements, so reach out to your adviser if you have any questions on your degree requirements.
  • All grades must be officially posted on your academic transcript, including transfer of credit(s).
  • All obligations to the university must be met in SharkLink: tuition and fees paid, library books returned, equipment returned, bookstore obligations met, etc.

Once you’ve satisfied all obligations and submitted the application, your academic program office will review your materials and submit them to the Office of the University Registrar for conferral. NSU uses the last day of the month in which your program office approved your degree as the conferral date, which will appear on the diploma and transcript. The date on which all requirements were met will appear on the transcript as well. The end date of the term also acts as the month the degree was conferred - not the last day of class.

How will my name be written on my diploma?

NSU acknowledges that many students choose to use their preferred names for use within internal university systems. However, legal names will be utilized on diplomas, commencement programs, and transcripts. 

What happens if I owe NSU money?

The Office of the University Registrar will still confer your degree, but your NSU transcripts and diploma will be held until all money has been paid in full via NSU eBill. For additional payment information or questions, contact the Bursar’s Office via  or (954) 262-5200.  

You’ll receive an email (to your NSU email address) informing you when you expect your diploma in the mail. It may take several weeks from the conferral date to receive your diploma, especially in April, May, August and December, which are the busiest commencement months. Please note that diplomas cannot be shipped to P.O boxes or APO/FPO addresses.

If your address changes after you’ve applied for your degree, be sure to update your mailing address in SharkLink and email the Coordinator of Degree Conferrals and Diplomas at Not providing a correct address may result in delaying the receipt of your diploma and may result in additional fees.

For framing purposes, NSU diplomas are 11” x 14”.

A replacement diploma can be ordered upon the submission of a Request for Replacement Diploma form and a $30 payment. All NSU replacement diplomas are provided in the current format and measure 11” x 14”. Replacements display the signatures of present-day university administration but will show the original date of conferral. At the bottom-right corner of the replacement diploma, there will be a small notation: “Diploma Re-Issued."

General Information

At NSU, we're committed to making commencement accessible for everyone. We offer a variety of support services, including accessible seating, sign language interpretation, and mobility assistance. Let us know how we can best accommodate you to ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience.

View Accessibility Information
There are no tickets required for guests to attend commencement. However, the saving of seats at the arena is strictly prohibited. Advise your guests to arrive when the arena doors first open, one hour prior to the published start time of the ceremony. Be aware that the arena doors temporarily close during the opening processional and Star Spangled Banner, but will reopen afterwards if there is available space.

Family members (with the exception of your spouse and children) visiting for commencement need to apply for a tourist visa at the consulate in their home countries or at the U.S. Embassy.

Ensure that your family members have the following items completed and at the ready for the visa application process:

  • An invitation letter from you. Include your name, your reason for living in the U.S., the names of your family members who are visiting, the purpose and length of the visit, and whether or not you’re providing food, housing, or any other financial assistance for the visit.
  • Your evidence of funding, if applicable. If you’re providing any monetary help, including things like food, housing, or airfare, supply evidence of your funding via bank statements or employment letters. There is no minimum dollar amount that you need to reflect, but indicate an amount that is reasonable for your level of support.
  • Your family members’ evidence of funding. If your family members are covering their own expenses, they should provide a bank statement, employment verification, or other evidence of funding.
  • Evidence of your status in the United States. Provide your family members with a copy of your I-20 and other documents verifying your status in the states. Evidence of your family’s intent to return home. Documents showing employment, property ownership, close family relations in their home country, or enrollment in school in the home country are good evidence of intent to return home.
The U.S. State Department has additional information about applying for a tourist visa. In addition, many consulates have specific information about inviting family members, so refer to the consulate website of your home country for more information.
All NSU Commencement ceremonies will be livestreamed. Visit the NSU Commencement homepage and click on the "Commencement Ceremony Live" link for access. All NSU Commencement video streams are archived approximately one week after the ceremony.

Commencement is held at the Rick Case Arena at the Don Taft University Center on Nova Southeastern University’s campus in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Commencement dates and times vary upon college, so check our commencement schedule page for specific information.

View Commencement Schedule  Arena Directions and Parking

A professional photographer will take your photo at least twice on commencement day; one of these instances will capture the exact moment each candidate receives their certificate of congratulations alongside the Dean or President.

Within five days of commencement, you will be mailed and/or emailed proof images with the opportunity to select from a variety of photo packages, with no obligation to purchase.

For more information, contact our photography vendors:

GradImages (Undergraduate, Law, and Graduate ceremonies)

Telephone: 800-261-2576

Werner Kahn Studios (May and August HPD ceremonies)

Telephone: (305) 531-1872 / (305) 794-3342

Because of the busy nature of commencement, personal photographs may be taken only before and after the ceremony. 

Anyone entering the Rick Case Arena will be subject to a physical search and metal detection. No purses, guests, or food and drink will be allowed in the candidate staging area (Recreational Complex). 

The following are not permitted at commencement:

  • Air horns and noisemakers
  • Alcohol
  • Backpacks, backpack-style purses, diaper bags, duffle bags, waist packs, and purses larger than 12" x 6" or 12" in size
  • Balloons
  • Bottles, cans, coolers, and thermoses
  • Chains or spikes
  • Drugs
  • Fireworks
  • Food
  • Laser pointers
  • Strollers
  • Weapons
  • Wrapped gifts
  • Other items deemed dangerous to public safety

Please also observe the following rules and notices:

  • There are no facilities available in the arena or at the University Center for storing personal items, so please leave these items at home or with your guests. The University Center, Rick Case Arena or NSU is not responsible for items left unattended.
  • Wear comfortable shoes (no tennis shoes or sneakers).
  • No animals, except certified service animals, will be admitted.
  • Smoking is not permitted.

Alumni Services

Stay in touch with your NSU community via NSUConnect! Build your global network, learn from other Sharks, find a mentor, and more at NSUConnect. You can also tell us your NSU story and become a featured student on our grad page.

Share Your NSU Story 

Contact Us

Have additional questions? Email or call (954) 262-7255 or 800-541-6682 ext. 27255. Please provide your NSU ID number in all email correspondence.
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