Graduation vs. Commencement

What is the difference between graduation and commencement?

Graduation is the awarding of a certificate or degree once a student has satisfied all certificate or degree requirements as verified by the Admissions & Records Office.

Commencement is the ceremony for students, family and friends to celebrate in the students academic accomplishments. Participation in the ceremony does not mean the student has graduated and students do not receive their diploma that day.


Central Oregon Community College has instituted a new process which makes it easier for students to gain the certificates or degrees they have earned. Effective Fall 2014 students are automatically awarded their degree or certificate for their declared program of study as they are completed, no application is needed. When you successfully complete all of the requirements for your certificate or degree, you are automatically awarded your certificate or degree within one month, so look for notifications via your COCC email.

There may be additional certificates or degrees for which you are eligible. Please note for any additional certificates or degrees other than your declared program of study - you need to submit an Application for Certificate/Degree when you have enrolled in or completed ALL the program requirements for these certificates or degrees. 

Your declared program of study is the certificate/degree reflected on your Gradtracks audit (located in your Bobcat web account). To choose the correct catalog year, check your GradTracks audit for the planning or catalog year that appears on your audit. If you intend to graduate using a different planning/catalog year than what is on your GradTracks audit, then state the year you intend to use on the graduation application. Within 2-4 weeks of receipt, your Application for Certificate/Degree will be evaluated and a response will be sent to your COCC email account notifying you of your eligibility to graduate.

Multiple Degrees

Students applying for multiple or concurrent degrees must meet the degree requirements for each as outlined in the COCC catalog. For each additional degree students must complete at least 15 COCC, degree applicable credits that are different from those used for another degree. Multiple certificates may be awarded within a students program of study when applicable.

"When will my Certificate/Degree be awarded?"

Allow approximately 2-3 weeks after end of your final term to be awarded your certificate or degree. All communication regarding awarding of certificates and degrees will be sent to your COCC email account. Once your certificate or degree is awarded, your transcript is the official record and may be ordered immediately. Certificates/Diplomas will be mailed within approximately 1-2 months after the end of the completion term. COCC sends certificates/diplomas to the mailing address active on your Bobcat web account. Please verify your mailing address is current on your Bobcat web account.

  • Official transcripts must be on file in the Admissions & Records office to earn a certificate/degree using transfer coursework.
  • COCC reserves the right to withhold transcripts and diplomas from students who are in debt to the institution. If you have a financial hold on your account, your diploma will not be mailed until you notify the Transcript and Degree evaluation department the hold has been cleared.

Contact if you have any questions.