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Graduation and Commencement

Graduates at commencement celebrating

Watch HCC's 2021 Virtual Commencement

Howard Community College's 51st Commencement will be held on Friday, May 27, 2022 at 10:00 a.m. at UMBC’s Chesapeake Employers Insurance Arena. Graduate line-up is at 9:00 a.m. All students participating in Commencement must wear the provided cap and gown. Cap and gown orders are overdue. Students who have not yet ordered should visit the bookstore in RCF 113 to pick up regalia.

There are no tickets required for this event.  Guests will be subject to bag checks.  No balloons are permitted in the UMBC Arena. Masks are not required in the arena but are welcome.

HCC is continually evaluating local, state and federal recommendations to make the health and safety of students, faculty and staff our top priority during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Howard Community College is committed to helping you reach your goal. If you’re enrolled in a degree or certificate program, keep the following information on hand.

The deadlines to apply to graduate are March 15 for spring, June 15 for summer (April 15 if participating in May commencement), and October 15 for fall.

  • Apply to Graduate
    1. If you are in your final semester, visit Self Service to complete a free graduation application online to request your degree or certificate. The deadlines to apply to graduate are March 15 for spring, June 15 for summer, and October 15 for fall. Summer graduates are invited to participate in the May commencement ceremony before their final summer term; the graduation application deadline for students who plan to participate in commencement is April 15.
    2. If you are unsure if you are eligible to graduate or are unable to apply via your Self Service, you should contact the Office of Admissions and Advising to determine if you are ready to apply for graduation. An academic advisor can also answer your questions regarding transfer to a four-year college or university. If you have completed the requirements for more than one program, make sure you complete an application for each degree and/or certificate that you plan to receive.
    3. If you are planning to move before or after graduation, make sure you submit a Change of Information form to the Office of Records, Registration, and Veterans' Affairs or email from your HCC email account to update your contact information.
  • Graduation FAQ

    Don’t I just graduate automatically when I have finished my requirements?
    No. To graduate from Howard Community College, you need to complete the Application to Graduate with your academic advisor. If you completed the requirements for more than one program (degree or certificate), fill out an Application to Graduate for each program.

    When should I apply to graduate?
    The best time to apply to graduate is when you’ve completed 75% of your program requirements and will finish up next term.

    Do I have to pay to apply to graduate?
    There is no fee to apply to graduate.

    How do I know if I am close to completing my requirements?
    Meet with your advisor and ask. Your advisor will review your record with you and help you decide if you are ready to apply. Your advisor can also help you update your area of study or transfer in coursework completed at another college or university may accelerate your graduation.

    Who is my advisor?
    The Office of Admissions & Advising offers virtual and in person services; you may see any advisor who is available. 

    Commencement takes place in May, but I won't complete my requirements until the end of summer. May I still attend the ceremony?
    Yes, if you are completing your requirements in the summer following the May ceremony. If you plan to attend your application must be received by April 15 to guarantee your participation in the ceremony. 

    Do I have to take all my credits at HCC?
    You must take at least a minimum of 25% of your program at HCC to be eligible to graduate from HCC.

    What requirements do I need to graduate with honors?
    You must have an overall GPA of 3.5 to graduate with honors.

    What happens if I do not successfully complete all the credits I need for my degree after I apply to graduate?
    You will be notified that you did not satisfy the requirements, and you may apply again as soon as you register for your remaining classes.

    Do I have to attend the ceremony in order to receive my diploma?
    No. While we encourage you to attend this momentous event, you do not have to attend in order to receive your diploma.

    What should I do to be sure my diploma information is correct?
    Carefully and legibly print your name exactly as you want it to appear on the diploma when you fill out the Application to Graduate.

    If I have applied to graduate and my degree is not yet posted, what can I use to verify my anticipated graduation?
    Sometimes an employer or school will request proof of your graduation before your degree/certificate is posted or before you have received your diploma/certificate. Submit a verification of enrollment form to RRVA and select "pending graduation" from the options on the form.

  • Diplomas and Transcripts

    Your degree will be posted to your transcript after final grades are issued and clearance procedures have been completed. You will receive an email at your HCC email address when your credential is posted to your record. Place a transcript request once you receive this email.

    Diplomas and certificates are mailed after the final evaluation of academic records. This process usually takes four to six weeks following the graduation date. Your diploma or certificate will be mailed to the address listed on your graduation application. Diplomas will be mailed by mid-July for spring graduates, mid-September for summer graduates, and mid-February for fall graduates.

    Find out how to request a duplicate copy of your diploma.

    For more information, contact


  • 2022 Commencement Instructions
    Friday, May 27, 2022 at 10:00 a.m.

    Commencement will be held at the UMBC Chesapeake Employers Insurance Arena (formerly the UMBC Event Center) on Friday, May 27 at 10:00 a.m. Doors will open to guests at 9:00 a.m.


    Please see your academic advisor if you have not yet applied to graduate.


    There are no tickets for this event.  Guests will be subject to bag checks.  No balloons, airhorns or outside food and beverages are permitted in the arena.


    Masks are not required to attend commencement, however, guests and graduates are welcome to wear them.


    Howard Community College will follow all local, state and federal guidelines at the time of the ceremony. At this time, there are no restrictions for social distancing, masks, testing and vaccination status.


    Cap and gown orders are now overdue. Students who have not yet ordered regalia should visit the bookstore. 

    All students participating in Commencement must wear the cap and gown provided. Caps are worn with the front point in the center of the forehead. The top of the cap is parallel to the floor, and the tassels are worn on the right until the awards are conferred during the ceremony.


    Graduates should arrive by 9 a.m. for line-up.

    You will receive an index card at check in. Hold on to this index card! You are required to bring the index card to the stage and present it to the announcer; you will not be able to interact with the announcer, so please ensure that all information is correct at the check-in table.

    Only graduates are permitted at graduate check-in. Family members, friends and guests must arrive through the guest entrance.

    You will be handed a white tube containing a congratulatory letter as you cross the stage. Your diploma will be issued after the final evaluation of your academic record; expect to receive your diploma in the mail 6-8 weeks following the ceremony. Check Self-Service: Student Planning to ensure your unofficial transcript has your degree/certificate posted before ordering official transcripts.


    Students may collect honor cords in the Office of Records, Registration, and Veterans' Affairs (RCF 233) during regular business hours.   In order to qualify for honors, a student must have a 3.500 or higher cumulative GPA. Students have been notified if they are qualified for this special regalia.

    Students who served in the U.S. Armed Forces are provided a cord of red, white, and blue to wear at Commencement. Qualified students have been contacted if they are a recipient of this special regalia. Students may collect military cords in the Office of Records, Registration, and Veterans' Affairs (RCF 233) during regular business hours

    Stoles for other honors programs and learning communities are provided by the directors of these programs; please direct questions to the appropriate program.


    Classic Photography is the official Commencement photographer. Your photos will be available to view and order by visiting their website at, then clicking "Order My Graduation Photos." Photos will be posted within 72 hours of Commencement. If you need additional help locating your photos, call Classic Photography at 800-869-9515.


    Dress according to the weather forecast. While Commencement will take place indoors, graduate check-in will be outside. You will need to walk a short distance and be prepared to stand in line for some time. Wear comfortable shoes!

    Leave your personal belongings at home or lock them in your car. You cannot carry a purse or other personal items. Your hands need to remain free for handshakes and receipt of the white tube on stage. Selfie sticks are not permitted.

    Concessions will be available for purchase for guests at the arena.


    Parking meters will be enforced but parking on surface lots is available and free. If you choose to park in a parking garage or metered space, be prepared to pay and make sure you put enough time on the meter. Drivers will be held responsible by UMBC for any parking fines.

    Parking is available in any open lot; we recommend parking in any area designated "A."

    Parking map


    Designated accessible parking may not be in immediate proximity to the facility; please ensure your guests are informed. When parking in an accessible space, the vehicle must display official tags or placard. Drivers will be held responsible by UMBC for any parking fines. (Parking map)

    Accessible seating is available. Upon arrival, arena ushers will guide your guests to accessible seating. Note: Your entire guest party may not be able to sit together. 

    ASL Interpreters will be available for graduates or guests.  Please contact to arrange for services or call 443-518-3348.

    Have questions? Email us at!
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