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Graduation Requirements and Honors Distinctions Procedure - 10.04.01

College Policy Number/Title:

10.04 Graduation Requirements Policy

At Howard Community College (HCC), the associate of arts, associate of applied science, associate of arts in teaching, and associate of science in engineering degree requirements include:

  • completion of at least 60 credit hours, depending on the major selected, with a minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 2.0;
  • completion of a minimum of 15 of the 60 required credit hours at HCC. In order to ensure the quality of its programs, the college reserves the right to determine the courses students must take to successfully complete a specific degree program;
  • completion of the requirements of an approved curriculum in the college catalog; and
  • approval by the board of trustees.

The associate of arts, associate of arts in teaching, and associate of science in engineering degrees require the completion of a minimum of 30 credits of general education core courses and the associate of applied science degree includes a minimum of 20 credits of general education core courses.


A certificate is awarded to students who have concentrated study in a specialized subject matter area and have satisfied the following requirements for the certificate program:

  • completion of the approved curriculum in the college catalog;
  • achievement of a minimum of a 2.0 cumulative GPA;
  • completion of a minimum of 25 percent of the credit hours at HCC; and
  • approval by the board of trustees.

Letter of Recognition

A letter of recognition is awarded to students who have completed a designated group of courses as outlined in the college catalog totaling fewer than 12 credit hours.

Graduation Applications

Students who anticipate completing the requirements for an associate of arts degree, associate of applied science degree, associate of arts in teaching degree, associate of science in engineering degree, or certificate must submit a graduation application. The application to graduate is available in Self Service, the office of records, registration, and veterans’ affairs (RRVA) web page, the RRVA office, and in the office of admissions and advising. Students may meet with an academic advisor to preliminarily review an audit of the student’s completion of degree requirements and to complete an application to graduate, if needed. Upon the receipt of a completed application to graduate from the student, the office of admissions and advising submits the application to graduate to the RRVA office. RRVA completes final review and graduation clearance of all graduation applications.

Commencement is held in May each year. Students who complete degree or certificate requirements and all other requirements listed below prior to the May ceremony, as well as those who will have competed all graduation requirements by the end of the subsequent summer term, may participate in the spring ceremony. Students must complete a graduation application for each degree or certificate requested.

The college has three degree and certificate graduation dates and one commencement. The deadlines for submitting graduation applications are:

Degree Date

Graduation Application Deadline*


March 15


June 15**


October 15


*Graduation application deadlines are subject to change. Students are encouraged to consult with the RRVA office or the office of admissions and advising at the start of each academic term for the application deadlines.

**Students who will graduate in the summer, but would like to participate in the May commencement, must submit graduation applications by April 15.

To be awarded a degree or certificate from HCC, students must:

  • achieve the minimum of a 2.0 or greater GPA for all coursework taken at HCC;
  • complete all the requirements of an approved area of study in the college catalog;
  • be in good academic standing with the college; and
  • submit a graduation application(s) in Self Service or have their graduation application(s) initially cleared by an academic advisor and submitted by the advisor to the RRVA office.

During the final clearance process, students are notified of the status of their graduation through HCC student email. Diplomas and certificates are mailed to all candidates who have fulfilled the requirements of their programs and who are in good financial standing with the college.

Students who do not complete area of study requirements for the term may apply for graduation in a future term.

Graduation with Honors

Students who have a cumulative grade point average of 3.50-3.74 will graduate cum laude. Students with a cumulative grade point average of 3.75-3.99 will graduate magna cum laude. Students who have a cumulative grade point average of 4.0 will graduate summa cum laude.

Academic Honors and Transcripts

Howard Community College limits honors and distinctions on the academic transcript to graduation honors: cum laude, magna cum laude, and summa cum laude. The college does not include membership in special programs, such as learning communities, honorary organizations, or other distinctions and awards on student transcripts.

Other Graduation Distinctions

Students who successfully complete all requirements of the following special programs and honor societies will have that distinction recognized in the commencement program: the Frederick K. Schoenbrodt Scholars Program, Silas Craft Collegians Program, James W. Rouse Scholars Program, Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Scholars Program, Alpha Eta Honor Society, Lambda Nu Honor Society, Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, Alpha Delta Nu Honor Society, and the Sigma Chi Eta Honor Society. While not recognized in the commencement program, students in the Howard P.R.I.D.E. Program, the Global Distinction Program, the STEM Learning Community, the STEM Undergraduate Research Program, the Ambiciones Program, and student veterans are honored with distinctions; Howard P.R.I.D.E. Program and Ambiciones Program students wear a stole, and the others wear cords.

Effective Date: 11/13/20

President's Office Use: VPAA/VPSS - CAT

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