Graduation Resources

Graduation is an exciting time! Here you will find the steps on how to obtain your degree/diploma and participate in the commencement ceremony.

The 2019 Midyear Commencement ceremony will be be held on Thursday, December 19, 2019 at the Alliant Energy Center, 1919 Alliant Energy Center Way, Madison, Wisconsin at 6:30 P.M.  This ceremony includes all Summer 2019 and Fall 2019 graduates!

Please review each step below to make sure you have completed all the necessary requirements before the commencement ceremony.

If you are looking for information on the GED/HSED graduation ceremony please contact the School of Academic Advancement.

messages on graduate's hats


  • 1. Graduation Status

    If your Degree Progress report indicates all requirements for your degree will be completed by the end of the semester, you are eligible for graduation and the system will apply for you.

    If you are finishing, and your records still do not indicate a graduation applied status by mid-term, please contact Advising Services to evaluate your situation.

    Graduation Steps

    1. Log into your myMadisonCollege student account
    2. Check Degree Progress report to be sure all requirements have been met for your program
    3. Mid-term, check to see if you have an applied graduation status under Academic Record in your student center
    4. Pay the $20 graduation fee (beginning Monday, November 11 , 2019)
    5. Complete the Graduate Card, which you will receive when you pay the graduation fee
    6. Check your name for accuracy - if it should appear differently on your diploma, complete a Name Change Form
    7. Verify your address in your myMadisonCollege student account to ensure receipt of your diploma
    8. Bring your Graduate Card to the Student Life office or regional campus office (beginning Monday, November 11, 2019). If you will be participating in the ceremony you will obtain your cap, gown, announcements and graduation instructions. If you are NOT attending you will receive your Madison College diploma cover and tassel.

    Once grades are posted at the end of the term, your course and program requirement completion will be verified by the college. If all requirements are fulfilled, your degree will be marked complete and your graduation status will be assigned to your record. You will then be eligible to receive your diploma by mail, if your $20 graduation fee has been paid.

    If you are completing your degree in summer, you are automatically included in the following semester's midyear ceremony (held in December). However, you may participate in the spring ceremony (held in May) by a request to Advising Services.


  • 2. Pay the Graduation Fee

    The $20 graduation fee is an administrative fee that all graduates pay regardless of whether they will be attending the ceremony. This fee covers cost of processing your diploma as well as the diploma cover, tassel, cap and gown if attending the ceremony. 

    If you want to participate in the ceremony, you must pay your graduation fee between Monday, November 11 and Thursday, December 18, 2019 (the day before the ceremony).

    Otherwise, the fee is accepted year round for all terms. If you pay the fee after the end of your final term, you will need to send an email to EnrollmentServices to prompt the mailing of your diploma.

    Graduates can pay the fee at the Payment Center in the Gateway on the Truax campus, main office of Goodman South and West campus or at your regional campus office.

    Out-of-State/Online Students

    Graduates who are unable to pay in person can send a check to Madison College, with student ID number and "Graduation Fee" noted on the check, mail it to:

    Madison College
    Attn: Student Financials
    1701 Wright Street
    Madison, WI 53704 

    If you are not near one of the Madison College campuses or are an out-of-state graduate and plan on attending the ceremony, please call (608) 243-4164 to have the graduate card filled out over the phone.

  • 3. Attend the Commencement Ceremony

    If you show as applied for graduation in your Student Center or are a 2019 Summer graduate and would like to participate in the commencement ceremony in December, pay your graduation fee (beginning Monday, November 11, 2019) and then turn in your Graduate Card to the Student Life office or regional campus office. By doing so you will obtain your:

    • Cap, gown and tassel (see Graduation Dress Policy below)
    • Announcements
    • Ceremony participation instructions

    If you have a FERPA hold on your student record, but would like your name displayed in the commencement program, you will need to request to have the FERPA hold removed.

    If you are not near one of the Madison College campuses or are an out-of-state graduate and plan to attend the ceremony, but are unable to pick up your graduation items in person, contact the Student Life office at (608) 243-4164 for further details.

    If you are not completing your degree this term, but would like to participate in the ceremony (walk only), please contact an Academic Advisor. As a WALK ONLY, if you would like to have your name printed in the program, you must notify an advisor no later than November 27, 2019!

    Graduates who will be 100 percent finished at the end of the term and have an "Applied Status" for the current term in their Student Center will have their names printed in the program regardless of whether they will or will not be attending.

    If the ceremony needs to be canceled for any reason, a WolfPack Alert will be sent. Please be sure to sign up for these alerts prior to the ceremony. You can also check the Madison College website for information.

    Graduation Dress Policy

    Academic regalia (cap and gown) are required to participate in the commencement ceremony.


    Only academic-related additions to the regalia will be allowed as follows:

    • White cord: A cumulative GPA of 3.75 or higher within program of study
    • Gold cord: Exceptional Service to the college and community nominated by Madison College faculty or staff
    • Red, white and blue cord: Students who have served in the armed services
    • Blue and white cord: TOPS College Success Program
    • Pins awarded to Nursing
    • Medallions awarded to Honors Program students
    • The gold stole of Phi Theta Kappa as well as the silver stole for Sigma Alpha Pi Society of Leadership and Success
    • Other items signifying Phi Theta Kappa Membership, including ceremonial tassel, cord, or medallion
    • Stoles distributed by TRIO and by Center for International Education for International Students representing their country of origin
    • Yellow and blue tassel: Delta Alpha Pi International Honor Society
    • Other college distributed adornments approved by Madison College
    • Tasteful adornments to the cap limited to the representation of the degree being granted

    *Madison College reserves the right to deny, change, modify, add or withdraw the above dress policy


    Pictures at the Ceremony

    Empire Photography has been photographing our commencement ceremonies for many years. Each graduate is photographed as they receive their diploma and a solo portrait is also taken after they exit the stage. You can pre-register for proofs or you can scan the QR code below. Proofs will also be sent via mail to graduates within 48 hours of the ceremony. If you have any questions, please email Empire Photography.

    2019 Midyear Commencement QR Code for Empire Photography pre-registratoin


    Pictures may be taken by guests from the designated photo areas while graduates are receiving their diploma or following the ceremony.

    Honors and Awards

    Academic Honor Awards

    • Candidates for Academic High Honor Awards must attain an overall major grade point average of 3.75.
    • Graduating students become eligible in two-year programs by achieving a 3.75 GPA after completing 75 percent of the total program credit requirements.
    • Graduating students in one-year programs become eligible by achieving a 3.75 GPA after completing 50 percent of the total program requirements.

    Candidates are designated on the graduation program and wear a white cord at the graduation ceremony. Final determination for awarding of Graduation Academic Honors is made at the time of program completion and includes the graduates maintaining a 3.75 GPA in the program. Students who achieve this program GPA will have a special designation included on their diploma.

    Special Service Awards

    Students demonstrating extraordinary service to fellow students and the college are nominated for the Special Service Award. These nominees will have demonstrated leadership in student government, clubs and/or participated voluntarily in college-sponsored educational or recreational activities. Selected students will be designated on the graduation program and will wear a gold cord at the graduation ceremony.

    Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society

    Graduating students who are members of the Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society for two-year colleges wear gold stoles and tassels at the graduation ceremony. Membership is by invitation only and students must maintain a cumulative 3.5 grade point average.

    Military Veterans Service Awards

    Madison College honors its graduating military veterans by presenting them with special red, white and blue cords to wear during the commencement ceremony. Please join us in thanking them for their dedicated service to our country.

    Commencement Ceremony Live Broadcast

    Anyone who is unable to attend the commencement ceremony can watch the live broadcast (available Thursday, December 19 @ 6:30 p.m.). If you have a slow internet connection or have problems viewing the primary link, please use the backup video broadcast link (available Thursday, December 19 @ 6:30 p.m.). After choosing the link, you will be presented with either the video page or a page recommending you download software. Note that this will only be live on a computer and not on any mobile device or in the Chrome browser.

    If you are not able to watch the commencement ceremony live, an on-demand video will be posted approximately one hour after the end of the ceremony.

    If you prefer to own a copy of the video, a DVD of the ceremony can be purchased for $15. Come to the Student Life office to fill out the order form. Cash only.


    2019 Spring Commencement Video

    2018 Midyear Commencement Video

    2018 Spring Commencement Video

    2017 Midyear Commencement Video

    2017 Spring Commencement Video

    2016 Spring Commencement video

    2016 Midyear Commencement video

  • Graduate Speaker/Special Service Award

    Nominating a Graduate Speaker (NOMINATIONS CLOSED FOR DECEMBER 2019)

    The 2019 Midyear Commencement ceremony will be held on Thursday, December 19, 2019, at 6:30 p.m. in the Veterans Memorial Coliseum at the Alliant Energy Center.

    Staff, faculty and administrators who wish to nominate a graduate to speak at the commencement can do so by going to Madison Matters or nominate a graduate here. Student graduates who wish to speak at the ceremony should speak to one of their instructors or mentors at the college and ask them to consider nominating them.

    Nominating a Student for the Special Service Award

    Special recognition will be given to graduating students on the basis of exceptional service (non-academic) to the school and fellow students. A gold cord will be worn at the commencement and recipients will receive special recognition in the commencement program. 

    Recognize a graduating student by going to Madison Matters or by nominating a student here. Please do so by Friday, November 22, 2019 to assure the student is recognized in the program.

  • Requirements to Obtain a Degree/Diploma or Certificate

    Associate degrees or diplomas are issued when you:

    • Complete the required curriculum both in hours of attendance and in terms of achievement
    • Have obtained satisfactory achievement (C or 2.0 grade point average) in their major field subjects
    • Have maintained an overall C or 2.0 grade point average in the program and;
    • Are recommended by the department instructors and the dean/chairperson of the division

    Twenty-five percent requirement: At least 25 percent of the credit requirements necessary for obtaining a diploma/degree in any program must be taken at Madison College. In some situations, a higher percentage of core courses are required to be taken in residence. Check with the division office for information.

    Verify Your Status

    You should run your Degree Progress report (previously called an advisement report), to verify you have completed, are in progress with, or are registered for all course requirements. You can view your Degree Progress report by logging into your myMadisonCollege student center, navigate to Academic Record, select Degree Progress and then click on your degree career. If all courses are satisfied or in progress, you can apply for graduation.


    Associate degrees/diplomas are mailed six to eight weeks after the semester or summer session ends and graduation is confirmed by your school office. If you receive incompletes or have other deficiencies on your records, your associate degree, diploma or certificate will be sent at the end of the semester during which all obligations have been satisfied. If you had terminated your attendance for a semester or more, you may be required to meet the current graduation requirements of the program in which you re-enrolled.

    Additional Degree/Diploma

    Only one diploma/degree may be awarded at a semester commencement. To obtain an additional diploma/degree, you must:

    • Meet all of the requirements of the second diploma/degree
    • Meet Madison College graduation requirements
    • Acquire a minimum of 25 percent of the second degree/diploma credit requirements of new, additional credits in residence (for example, if the second program has 64 credits, a minimum of 16 credits must be taken in residency while meeting the requirements above.

    Any exceptions to these policies shall be approved in writing by the dean of the school in which the program or second degree/diploma is offered (refer to the Credit for Prior Learning page).


    Certificates are not included in the commencement ceremony, with some exceptions. The certificate credential is not a degree, therefore, you complete a certificate, not graduate from it. 

    You must apply and be admitted to a certificate in order to be awarded a certificate. At least 50 percent of the credit requirements necessary for obtaining a certificate must be taken at Madison College. Certificates are mailed six to eight weeks after the semester or summer session ends (either after the course work has been completed, or the term admitted if courses were completed prior to application/admission to the certificate).

    If you have terminated your attendance and have been discontinued, you will be required to re-apply to the certificate, and must meet the current requirements of the certificate.

As family or guests of future graduates, your presence and support is important. There is no limit to how many guests a graduate can invite and there is no charge for admission or parking. Please plan ahead for traffic and construction. 

Family and guests should arrive at the Alliant Energy Center, 1919 Alliant Energy Center Way and be seated no later than 6:25 p.m. The processional will start promptly at 6:30 p.m. and the ceremony will last approximately one hour.

Empire Photography has been photographing our commencement ceremonies for many years. Each graduate is photographed as they receive their diploma and a solo portrait is also taken after they exit the stage. Family and guests can pre-register to view these photos. Family and guests may also take pictures from the designated photo areas while graduates are receiving their diploma or after the ceremony.

If the ceremony needs to be canceled for any reason, information will be posted on the Madison College website.

Graduation Rates/Student Right-to-Know Information 

Graduation rates for Madison College are available from Institutional Research and Effectiveness, 1701 Wright Street, Madison, WI 53704 or phone (608) 246-6408. These rates are calculated and made available as required by the Student Right-to-Know and Campus Security Act.

Guaranteed Retraining

As a graduate, you may be eligible for up to six additional credits of free retraining if your employer certifies that you lack certain skills or if you have been unable to secure employment. Details of retraining available under this policy can be found in the Policy and Procedures Manual located in the office of the executive dean for Learning Programs.

Graduate Feedback

Every year, Madison College surveys recent graduates to find out how they are doing in the labor market and how Madison College helped prepare them for their careers. Please help the college by returning this survey promptly after your graduation. Future graduates will benefit from your willingness to share.