How to Graduate

Graduation is a process confirming that you've met the requirements for your program of study and officially awarding your degree or certificate.

To graduate in...         Apply by...         Pick up diploma...         Ceremony         
SpringSeptember JuneMay 
Summer February September May 
Fall June January May


*Fall 2019 diplomas will be available for pickup beginning January 8, 2020

Graduation FAQs

How do I graduate?

To officially be awarded your degree or certificate you must submit an Application for Graduation.

How do I know if I'm eligible for graduation?

Check your Degree Works audit. Degree Works easily identifies the courses you've already completed, along with the courses you still need to take in order to graduate. If you have questions about your eligibility or your Degree Works audit please contact the Graduation Specialist.

What are the requirements for graduation? 

Associate degree seeking students must meet the following requirements:

  • Fulfill all courses required for the program as outlined in the college catalog
  • Complete a minimum of 60 college level semester hours
  • Earn at least a GPA of 2.0 (C average in all collegiate level courses)
  • Complete at least 25% of the credit hours for an associate's degree here at Northeast State
  • Students may also complete the requirements for more than one degree (AA, AS, AST, AAS). A minimum of 16 credit hours beyond the requirements for the first degree must be completed
  • Submit an Application for Graduation the semester before you intend on completing the above named requirements

Certificate seeking students must meet the following requirements:

  • Fulfill all courses required for the program as outlined in the college catalog
  • Complete the appropriate number of credit hours required for the certificate
  • Earn at least a GPA of 2.0 (C average in all collegiate level courses)
  • Complete at least 25% of the credit hours for the certificate here at Northeast State
  • Submit an Application for Graduation the semester before you intend on completing the above named requirements

I am completing two concentrations in the same major. Will I receive two diplomas? 

You will receive separate diplomas, one for each concentration you complete. You only need to fill out one graduation application, as you can indicate multiple concentrations on the application. 

What happens after I submit an Application for Graduation? 

Once you submit your graduation application it is sent to the Graduation Specialist for review. Your record will be checked for graduation and you will receive an email to your student email account notifying you of either your preliminary approval or of possible deficiencies preventing graduation. When you receive your email it will indicate one of the following:

Approved- What you are currently enrolled in satisfies the last requirements for your program of study. You must successfully complete all courses and maintain the minimum required GPA.

Pending- You have outstanding requirements that can still be completed during the term you have applied for. A list of the outstanding requirements will be included in the email. This list will also be available to view on your Degree Works audit or your My.Northeast account under View Holds.

Denied- You have outstanding requirements that can not be completed during the term you have applied for. A list of the outstanding requirements will be included in the email. This list will also be available to view on your Degree Works audit or your My.Northeast account under View Holds. 

***It is imperative that you regularly check your student email account for information from the Graduation Specialist regarding your graduation status, graduation requirements, and the commencement ceremony.

Do I need to take any graduation exams?

Students receiving associate degrees are required to take the exit exam. There is no fee for completing this exam and no minimum score or level of achievement is required to graduate. However, you still need to complete the exam in order to be eligible for graduation. The purpose of the exam is to measure how well the College is performing in providing general education to its students. Therefore, we encourage you to try your best on the exam. If you try your best we get the proper results to help us determine how well we are doing. Also, students must complete required competency exams in specific academic majors. Students in these majors will be notified about specific testing requirements. 

How/when are graduation honors calculated?

Students receiving associate degrees with the following final cumulative grade point averages will have institutional honors notated on their diploma and transcript: 

  • Summa Cum Laude      3.90-4.0
  • Magna Cum Laude       3.75-3.89 
  • Cum Laude                     3.50-3.74    

Only collegiate level grade point averages will count toward the calculation of graduation honors. Northeast State has one commencement ceremony per calendar year, held in the spring term. Therefore, graduation honors for listing in the graduation program and commencement recognition are determined by the overall grade point average at the conclusion of the fall semester. The official honors notation on the diploma and transcript is determined by the overall grade point average at the end of the final semester.

When can I pick up my cap and gown? 

Your first opportunity to pick up our cap, gown, and honors medallion (if applicable) is at Grad Kickoff. At this event you will have the opportunity to order invitations, class rings, meet with admissions representatives from area colleges and universities as well as offices here at Northeast State including Admissions and Records, Career Services, and Disability Services. Graduating students will receive a notification by email in early spring as to when the Grad Kickoff event will take place. Caps and gowns are available for pickup in the Admissions and Records office the day following Grad Kickoff. There is no charge for a graduating student to receive a cap and gown.

When and where is the commencement ceremony?  

Northeast State has one commencement ceremony per calendar year, held in the spring term. All fall, spring, and summer graduates of the academic year are invited to participate in the ceremony. The spring commencement exercises are held in early May at East Tennessee State University's Mountain States Health Alliance Athletic Center (Mini-Dome).

If I still have classes left to take during the summer semester, can I participate in spring commencement?

Students who plan to complete requirements for graduation by the end of the summer term may participate in the spring commencement ceremony. You must complete the application for graduation by the spring deadline as published in the academic calendar.

When will I receive my diploma? 

Diplomas are not distributed at the commencement ceremony. Diplomas for fall, spring, and summer will be available for pick up in the Admissions and Records office approximately 4-6 weeks following each graduation semester. You will receive an email notification with the specific dates diplomas will be available.

If my diploma has been lost or destroyed, can I receive a replacement diploma?  

Yes. Please fill out the Replacement Diploma Request Form. Diploma requests will be processed within two (2) working days after the request is received.

What if I need to postpone my graduation? 

If you do not graduate during the semester that is indicated on your graduation application you should reapply for graduation during the semester in which you now intend to graduate. You can also contact the Graduation Specialist to request your graduation term be changed.

How do I update the information on my graduation application after I have already submitted it? 

After a graduation application has already been submitted you must contact the Graduation Specialist in order to change any information pertaining to your major, concentration, graduation term, and diploma name. 

Exit Exam Information

Exit Exam Testing 
Graduates who will earn an A.A.S., A.S. or A.A. degree are requested to take the Proficiency Profile. This exam should be taken during the last semester of coursework. Students receiving a Certificate are not required to take the exam.

The exam focuses on the overall academic skills students have developed through the general education curriculum rather than measuring knowledge in specific subjects. The exam is divided into three components: humanities, social sciences and natural sciences. Each area will test your college-level writing, college-level, reading, critical thinking and mathematics skills.

This online exam consists of two 60-minute tests with multiple-choice questions.
You may review sample questions, in preparation for the test, by going to online sample questions.

Contact Testing Services for questions about the test or testing dates. Call 423.323.0211 or 423.282.0800, ext. 3211. Office Hours: 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Financial and/or Library Obligations

Pursuant to 49-3364 Tennessee Code Annotated, no transcripts, diplomas, certificates or grade reports will be issued to any student who has not satisfied all debts, obligations or fines owed to the college, including but not limited to parking fines, returned checks, financial aid encumbrances or LBR (Library) encumbrances.

Career Services

Career Services provides job-seeking assistance and job referrals to enrolled students and alumni. Assistance is available on topics such as writing resumes, cover letters, interviewing techniques and dressing for success.

The Career Services Office maintains files for two-year Associate of Applied Science graduates who will be seeking employment upon completion of a degree and/or certificate from Northeast State. Please print, complete and submit the  Graduate Information Form to the Career Services Office in room C2418 on the Blountville campus. You may visit the Career Services Office located in the General Studies Building, Room C2418. The office hours are Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.

Contact List for Graduation Information

Alpha Sigma Lambda
Email Virginia Salmon or call 423.354.2423

Application, requirements, caps and gowns, honors and the ceremony
Email Samantha Rowlett or call 423.354.2419

Career Services
Email Jennifer Kendrick or call 423.354.5167

Leadership Programs 
Email Student Life or call 423.354.2474

Major Field Test (Computer Information Technology, Business, and Administrative Professional Technology)
Email Linda McNutt or call 423.354.2420 

Major Field Test (Electrical)
Email Kimberly Tipton or call 423.279.7639

Northeast State Honors Program
Email Jane Honeycutt or call 423.354.2427

Phi Theta Kappa
Email Jane Honeycutt or call 423.354.2562

Proficiency Profile 
Email Denise Walker or call 423.323.0211 

Students with Disabilities
Email Center for Students with Disabilities or call 423.279.7640

Who’s Who Students
Email Greg Walters or call 423.354.5120