Information for Graduating Seniors

Graduation is not an automatic process. Please read the details below to ensure a smooth path to graduation, earning your degree, and celebrating the occasion.

What is a Senior Meeting?

A Senior Meeting is a drop-in appointment completed about 2.5 quarters before you plan to graduate. (For example, if you plan to graduate at the end of spring quarter, it will be most appropriate to come in for your Senior Meeting in the first half of the preceding autumn quarter.) Senior Meetings may be done up to one year in advance, and are typically 30 minutes or less. The absolute deadline to submit a Graduation Application is the third Friday of the intended quarter of graduation.

To submit a Graduation Application, a Senior Meeting will be required.
In a Senior Meeting with an adviser, we will cover:

  • Graduation Application
  • Graduating Senior Priority
  • Verify your remaining degree requirements, using DARS
  • Verify requirements for any minors (if applicable)
  • Important details to know about your final few quarters
  • Recommendations for “next steps” (e.g. graduate school and career/internship exploration, etc.)
  • Any questions you may have

To have your Senior Meeting, please make an appointment on our Advising Page (

Please come to your Meeting with the following:

  • Name
  • Student Number
  • Intended/Projected Quarter of Graduation

A Graduation Application must be verified with an adviser during your Senior Appointment, and is the department’s recommendation to the University for you to earn your degree. Your degree is ultimately granted by the UW Office of Graduation & Academic Records (UW Office of the Registrar). If you will graduate with a double major or a double degree, you must submit a second Graduation Application with your other department(s) as well.

Graduation Applications must be submitted by the 3rd Friday of the quarter you plan to graduate. However, if you want Graduating Senior Priority registration, you must apply earlier (see below).

Once a Graduation Application has been submitted with an COM Adviser during your Senior Appointment, be sure and check your email for a message from the Graduation & Academic Records Office (Office of the University Registrar). Please read this email carefully for important details, and make sure to “Confirm” your Graduation Application.

Not sure if you’ve already applied to graduate? Check DARS to see if there is a “Graduation Date” listed for you (e.g. AUT/2018, WIN/2019, etc.). If the “Graduation Date” says “Not Found”, then you likely have yet to submit a Graduation Application. If you have a graduation date listed, then you have successfully submitted your Graduation Application.

Students who are double majors or pursuing double degrees will need to apply to graduate with BOTH departments they are studying in to graduate with both majors.

Graduating Senior Priority (GSP) allows students to register for classes on the first day of Period I. Students are eligible for a maximum of two quarters of GSP. By submitting your Graduation Application early (2.5 quarters in advance recommended), you can receive up to two quarters of GSP. For instance, if you are planning to graduate in June, you should meet with an adviser in early Autumn Quarter so that you can have GSP for Winter and Spring Quarters.

See the Academic Calendar for dates of registration.

When you have used your GSP for two quarters, and if you are still attending classes, then you will revert to regular senior priority. You can “save” your GSP by simply not using it and registering during regular senior registration. In this regard, GSP does not necessarily need to be used in consecutive quarters.

The UW requires that students complete 45 of their last 60 credits while “in residence” at the UW. Read more about the UW Residence Credit policy.

For additional resources regarding this policy, see here.

You can visit the UW Commencement website for information regarding the Commencement Ceremony that occurs each June. On this site, you will find event information, including guest tickets, eligibility, ordering announcements & photos, purchasing parking permits, etc.

You may complete your degree any quarter of your choice, however, you may “walk” in the June ceremony if you complete your degree in the previous December or March, June or the following August. See this helpful checklist for more information.

Department of Communication students and their families and friends are invited to the Communication Department Graduation Celebration each June. This celebration will include a ceremony, keynote speaker, department awards, presentation of the graduates, and will be followed by a reception. Details about the Department celebration will be shared via email and on the website in March or April.

Registration for both the UW Commencements and the Communication Department Graduation Celebration will begin in April.

The first indication of your earned degree will appear on your transcript. Degrees are posted to your transcript by the UW Office of Graduation & Academic Records, approximately 2-3 weeks after the end of the quarter, upon verification that you have completed all requirements for the UW, College of Arts & Sciences, and Department of Communication.

It takes 3-4 months for diplomas to arrive in the mail. Diplomas are sent by the Office of the University Registrar. Please be sure to check your MyUW address settings to ensure that your diploma will arrive to the correct address.

Prospective employers, graduate programs, and others who require verification that you’ve earned your degree can access this information through a UW Degree Validation website.

Baccalaureate Honors are: Cum Laude, Magna Cum Laude, and Summa Cum Laude. These honors are awarded upon graduation to undergraduates who are earning their first bachelor’s degree with at least 90 credits taken at UW. Of these 90 credits, 60 must be numerically graded (extension credits do not count toward these 60 credits). These honors awards are not directly related to the Departmental or College Honors Programs. They also represent the top 10% of students in each of the UW’s schools and colleges.

Students graduating with Baccalaureate Honors are given a gold honor cord to wear for the UW Commencement Ceremony. For students graduating in the spring, the honors listed in the Commencement Program (and honor cord distribution), are based on the student’s cumulative GPA through the preceding Winter Quarter. Spring Quarter grades are ultimately included in the credit totals and GPA calculations, determining whether the honors are posted to the student’s final record. You can find more information about baccalaureate honors, the Dean’s list, and other honors societies on the UW Baccalaureate Honors site.

Take advantage of the Career & Internship Center! While you are a current student, most of their services are free to students. The Career & Internship Center offers help in job-hunting skills, career planning, and more!

Students may also consider the COM 395: Internships (1-2 credits, 4 max) course, which is facilitated by a Department of Communication Adviser. Also, sign up for Handshake, which will allow you to post your resume online as well as search for jobs and internships.

Completing an internship is a good idea for students with limited work experience. The Carlson Center maintains postings of internships and volunteer opportunities.

The Career Center is also a great place to start your exploration for graduate schools and programs.
Regarding Letters of Recommendation and any future references that you may need down the road for jobs and graduate schools:

The UW Department of Communication Alumni Professional Development Board is a vibrant and engaged group of alumni who are dedicated to mentoring students, providing lifelong learning experiences for alumni and friends, and contributing to the community. It is the key to creating enduring relationships between the Department and its alumni. Join us in celebrating the incredible impact of our community!

The UW Alumni Association is a network of over 50,000 alumni Huskies, with chapters and regional groups all over the country and the world! The UWAA offers a complimentary one-year membership to its most-recent alumni, numerous opportunities to network with fellow Huskies, and alumni services such as library access and a UW alumni email account.

International students are highly encouraged to attend a Final Year Workshop at International Student Services, which will provide helpful information and important things to think about for your final year at the UW.

Naomi Ishisaka is the Assistant Managing Editor for Diversity, Inclusion and Staff Development and the Social Justice Columnist for The Seattle Times. She is a journalist and photographer who focuses on racial equity and social justice. In 2020, she was awarded first place in the Best in the West competition for Special Topics Column Writing for her work in The Seattle Times and in 2021 she won second place for social justice columns from the National Society of Newspaper Columnists. Her writing and photography have appeared in The Seattle Times, Seattle Magazine, City Arts, ColorsNW Magazine, Seattle Globalist, South Seattle Emerald and other publications. Read more on her website.