Graduation & Commencement

Graduation Image

Graduation & Degree Planning

At Kapi‘olani Community College, students are eligible for graduation upon successful completion of the academic requirements of their declared program of study. In other words, Graduation is the technical obtainment of credits to receive a degree.

Commencement Exercises

Commencement is the annual ceremony for students who have or are expected to graduate in the current or next semester. It is an opportunity for you, your family, friends, and the KCC ‘Ohana to celebrate your accomplishment.

All students who have completed their degree requirements are eligible to “walk” in the Commencement Exercises. Check with your academic counselor if you have questions regarding your graduation eligibility. To participate in the ceremony, students will need to submit an application for graduation by the deadline stated each year. Students who have applied for Spring or Fall Graduation will be invited to participate in the ceremony and will be included in the Commencement Program. Participants will be required to purchase caps and gowns for graduation. There is no additional charge for the graduate or their guests to attend the Commencement ceremony.

Eligibility For Graduation

  • Students should consult with their Academic Counselor for a graduation evaluation prior to registering for their final semester. Candidates for all Certificate and Associate degrees must file an application for graduation with the Graduation Office in the Kekaulike Information Service Center.
  • Applications received after the announced deadline will be processed for graduation in the following semester.
  • A $15.00 graduation fee ($15 extra for a Hawaiian Language diploma) is payable at the time the student submits an Application for Graduation. This covers the cost of ordering and printing the diploma* and its cover. If the student does not graduate in the semester they apply for, the fee will be applied to the semester he or she graduates. However, another Application for Graduation must be filed with KISC by the deadline.
  • Graduation requirements are based on approved program requirements. In determining graduation eligibility, the terms “Major Courses”, “Courses in the Major”, and “Credits in the Major” refer to the following:
    • Courses which are trade specific, i.e., the course title or the course description indicates that the course is specifically for students in the major (e.g., HWST 100 for Hospitality Majors),
    • Courses which satisfy program requirements and have the alpha associated with the major.
  • To graduate with a degree (AA, AS) from a University of Hawai‘i Community College, a student must have earned a minimum of 12 credits of program courses in the degree/major from that college and maintain a 2.0 institutional GPA.

Degrees and Certificates

The college offers the Associate in Arts degree (AA), the Associate in Science degree (AS), Certificate of Achievement (CA), Certificate of Competence (CO), Advanced Professional Certificate (APC) and Academic Subject Certificate (ASC). These degrees and certificates differ in the numbers and types of courses required to fulfill all requirements.

A “degree” is an academic credential awarded in accordance with University of Hawai‘i Board of Regents’ approval and consists of the components of general education core requirements; college/program requirements; major requirements, if any; electives, if any; and additional degree requirements, such as total credit requirements, minimum overall cumulative grade point ratio (GPR), which is 2.0, minimum GPR or grades for courses applied to the “major or program requirements,” and other related requirements such as writing-intensive, Hawaiian Asian and Pacific emphasis courses, a speech/oral communication course and foreign language.

Please see Academic Programs for the majors offered and the degree requirements per specific major.

Graduation Options

Enrolled Students: (students maintaining continuous enrollment at Kapi‘olani Community College) may graduate according to:

  • The requirements in effect at the time they enrolled; or,
  • The requirements in effect at the time of graduation.

Students who change their major while enrolled may graduate according to:

  • The requirements of their major in effect at the time they changed their major; or,
  • The requirements in effect at the time of graduation.

IMPORTANT: Students who have a break in enrollment and apply for graduation will graduate according to the requirements in effect at the time of graduation. Students must also have a declared major in order to be awarded a degree.

Time Within Which Work Must Be Completed

The normal expectation is that students will complete their academic work in a 10-year period. Credits earned more than 10 years ago in courses which have materially changed content or standards will not fulfill graduation requirements.

Reverse Transfer and Automatic Notification of Credentials

Students who have successfully completed all program requirements for a degree or certificate will be made aware of the earning of the degree or certificate. Once verified, the earned degree or certificate will be noted on the academic record unless requested not to do so by the student. The notation will be at no cost to the student.

Applying for Graduation

To be awarded a diploma from the College, you must submit an “Application for Graduation”. We strongly recommended that you schedule a “Degree/Certificate Check” appointment with a counselor before applying. Send an email to your counselor to set up a Degree/Certificate Check now.

Apply for Graduation


A non-refundable $15 fee is required for an Associate Degree or Certificate of Achievement. If you are denied graduation, the fee may be applied to subsequent degree/certificate applications. Proof of payment is required for the fee to be waived for subsequent semesters.

Applications for a degree/certificate will be denied if all requirements, including incompletes, have not been met by the end of the graduating semester. An “I” grade, regardless of the contingency grade assigned, is considered non-completion of a course. You will be eligible for graduation in the semester that the “I” grade has been changed and will be required to reapply for graduation.

Application Deadlines

  • October 15 for Fall graduation
  • March 15 for Spring graduation
  • June 15 for Summer graduation


Step 1 : See your program counselor for a graduation check.

Make an appointment with your program counselor for an official graduation check before the graduation application deadline.

Step 2 : Submit a graduation application form.

Complete and submit a graduation application form by the application deadline*.

(*NOTE: You will need to log in with your email address to gain access to this form. Please make sure you are signed in with your own UH username.)

Please fill out all of the required information. A $15.00 fee is assessed upon submission of the form and will post on your student account. You may pay this fee via your student account or at the Cashier’s office. The deadline to apply for graduation (notation of credentials) is the last day of instruction in the semester or summer session that you are completing your program graduation requirements.  If you would like to order a diploma, you will need to submit your Application for Graduation by the deadlines stated above. If your Application for Graduation is submitted after the deadline, your diploma will not arrive until the end of the following semester.

Students applying for multiple degrees must submit multiple application forms with fees.

Students who do not submit their applications by these deadlines will not may not have their names printed in the KCC Commencement Program. However, you are still eligible to participate in the Ceremony.

Step 3 : Purchase cap and gown.

The KCC Bookstore will have your monarch blue cap, gown, tassel, collar (for women) available for purchase the second week of April. Cost for cap and gown is approximately $36.00 (subject to change).

Step 4 : Commencement Pre-Ceremony Preparation

Commencement Ceremony at Kapi’olani Community College will be held on the last Friday of the Spring semester at 6:00 p.m on the Great Lawn on the KCC campus. You must REGISTER to participate in the Commencement Exercises.

Follow the Commencement Day Procedures for Graduates for more information.

Step 5 : Pick up your diploma.

Diplomas are available at KISC in Ilima 102 approximately two months after the end of the semester. KISC will contact you via email or regular mail indicating when diplomas are available.

Commencement Registration

Congratulations! Graduation is one of the most rewarding experiences in your academic journey. The Commencement Ceremony is held once a year in mid-May. If you obtain your degree at the end of the Fall semester, we encourage you to participate in May.

Kapi‘olani Community College traditionally holds its commencement ceremonies on the last day of the spring term. This year, the Commencement Exercises will be held at the Hawai‘i Convention Center Exhibition Hall III. Ceremony start time is 6:00pm.

Register for Commencement


All graduates MUST register to participate in the ceremony. Please refer to the deadlines below.

Things you need to know

Commencement “Walk” Policy To participate in the annual Commencement Ceremony, you must meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • Candidates for any Associate Degree must be in your final semester in order to petition to graduate. If you are completing your final classes in the Summer term but would like to “walk” in the Spring Commencement Exercises, you must first check with your counselor for clearance and they will notify the Graduation Office that you will be walking early.
  • Candidates for any Certificate must have earned, or be enrolled in, all of the requirements for the certificate.
  • “Walking” is the term used to indicate student participation in Commencement exercises. Walking in KCC’s Commencement exercises, however, does not necessarily indicate degree completion or a guarantee thereof. Only when all requirements are completed will a student’s degree be awarded.
  • Eligibility to Walk: Students who have completed all degree and or certificate requirements are eligible to Walk in the Commencement ceremonies.
  • Conditions: “Walkers” who have not completed all degree requirements will not have their names printed in the Commencement program.

Things “TO DO” Prior to Commencement

  • If you have not done so yet, please fill out and submit a “Commencement Application” form. We will use the information submitted to create your name card, which will be read to introduce you during the ceremony. Make sure to select “Send me a copy of my response” before you submit your application. This will serve as your “receipt” and confirmation to participate in the Commencement Exercises. You will need to bring this to KISC in order to pick up your name card.
  • Pick up your name card. Be sure to hold on to this card since it will be your “ticket” to enter the cafeteria on Commencement Day. Name cards will be available for pick up until 4:00 p.m. the day BEFORE Commencement Exercises. (See deadlines below)
  • Purchase your tassel, cap, and gown from the KCC Bookstore. Cap and gowns usually go on sale the 2nd week of April. The cost is approximately $36.00. Each graduate will receive 10 complimentary graduation announcements; additional announcements will also be available for purchase.
  • Register to attend Commencement Orientation. Announcements will be sent to all students who have registered to participate in the commencement ceremony.

Deadlines to Remember

Cap and Gowns available for purchase at the Bookstore Monday, April 13-Thursday, May 14, 2015
Last day to apply to participate in the Commencement Exercises Friday, May 1, 2015
Deadline to request disability accommodations Friday, May 1, 2015
Deadline to request “do not share” contact information with photographer Friday, May 1, 2015
Commencement Exercises (Students MUST report by 4:30 p.m.; Ceremony begins promptly at 6 p.m.) Friday, May 15, 2015

Commencement Day Procedures

Before You Arrive

  • You must wear your cap and gown in order to participate in the ceremony.
    • Please come dressed in your cap and gown. Once you check in, you will NOT have time to to your car to retrieve these items. Tassels on your caps should hang on the right of your cap until after the symbolic conferring of degrees. The front of the cap, which has the shorter point, should be centered directly over your nose. The cap should be worn squarely on the top of the head. Women, it helps to secure your cap with bobby pins. Please refrain from decorating your caps with any items that may obstruct the view of your fellow candidates seated behind you.
  • Dress Code: It is HIGHLY recommended that you dress appropriately and professionally for such an auspicious occasion.
    • For Women: Do not wear stiletto heels as you will be going up and down stairs.
    • For Men: It is recommended that you wear solid-colored shirts with a collar (ties optional, but a nice touch), dark trousers, socks, and dress shoes.
  • Note: Large bags (purses, backpacks, etc.), placards or signage, beach balls, and pets (service animals excluded) will not be allowed. Plan to have your guests keep your personal belongings until after the ceremony.
  • Note to Parents: Children (including infants) will not be allowed to accompany graduates in the ceremony. Please plan to have your guests watch your children during the ceremony.
  • Weather: The commencement ceremony will be held outdoors on the Great Lawn, rain or shine. Graduates and guests are advised to dress appropriately… and for guests, to come prepared.
  • Seating: General seating will be available on a first-come, first serve basis. We strongly recommend that your guests arrive early to avoid the last minute crush right before the ceremonies are to begin. Also, advise your guests that photographs and videos may be taken from their seats only.

What To Expect (Day of)

  • Check-in: Report promptly at 4:30 PM sharp to check-in. Check-in will be separated by schools (i.e. AA Liberal Arts & AS Liberal Arts, all others)
    • Be sure you have your tassel, cap, gown and name card with you. Please note that some of the procedures have changed.
    • You must show your name card to enter the cafeteria.
  •  Upon arrival at the Convention Center:
    • Once check-in, you will not be allowed to exit until the ceremony begins. No family, children, or visitors will be allowed.  Do not bring handbags, backpacks, etc. Once we leave the pre-ceremony location, we will not have anyone attending the room, therefore we will not be responsible if your items are stolen or lost.
    • You will be directed to your designated area and must remain with your respective “schools” until after the ceremony.
  • Processional (Ceremony Begins):
    • The Processional will begin promptly at 6:00 PM under the direction of your college marshals.
    • Caps should be worn at all times except during the playing of Hawaiʻi Ponoʻi, the Alma Mater and the National Anthem, when men should remove their caps.
    • Rise with your school when instructed to do so by your dean. Marshals will direct candidates to the stage.
    • Present your printed name card to the name reader as you cross the stage. As your name is read, move to stage center to receive diploma cover and congratulations, exit the stage and return to your original seat. Remain standing until you are instructed to be seated.
    • When all candidates have returned to their original seats, the Chancellor will direct you to shift your tassels to the left as a symbol of graduation and then instruct you to be seated.
    • Please honor your fellow candidates, who have also worked hard for this moment, by treating them with dignity and respect.
  • Recessional (Ceremony Concludes):
    • Following the completion of the ceremony, the recessional of graduates will flow out to the perimeter of the The Great Lawn. Please meet your guests by the appropriate alphabetical (surname-alpha) signs.
  • Diplomas
    • Because semester records will not be available by the date of commencement, the conferring of degrees at the ceremony is provisional, pending verification that degree requirements have been met. Diplomas can be picked up at KISC in ‘Ilima 102 approximately 12 weeks after the end of the semester. All graduating students will be notified through email when their diploma is ready for pick up. To receive your diploma by mail, complete a “Request to Mail Diploma” form (be sure to check on postal costs for mailing outside the United States). For further information, email:
  • Photographs
    • Audience members MUST take photographs from their seats only. A photographer will take a photograph of each candidate receiving his/her diploma. After commencement, you will receive an email message from the photographer with a link to view your proof online. You may order additional photographs at that time.
    • If you do not wish to have your contact information forwarded to the photographer so that he may send your proof, please submit your request in writing NO LATER THAN TWO WEEKS before the Commencement Exercises, to Please be advised that last minute requests may not be accommodated.
  • Questions?
    • Please call the Graduation Office at KISC or email:, if you have any questions about the KCC commencement exercises. Graduation eligibility inquiries should be directed to your academic advisor.

Commencement Information

Commencement Ceremony at Kapi‘olani Community College will be held on the last Friday of the Spring term at 6:00 p.m. at the Hawai‘i Convention Center.

Parking is available on a first come, first served basis. A parking fee of $10.00 can be paid at the parking kiosk machines at the entrance to the parking garage.

Cap and Gown Information

Mid-April, report to the KCC Bookstore to purchase your monarch blue cap, gown, tassel, collar (for women), and pick up formal graduation invitations. Cost for cap and gown is $36.00 (subject to change).

Diploma Information

Diplomas are available at Kekaulike Information and Service Center (KISC) in ‘Ilima 102 approximately 12 weeks after the end of the semester. Your diploma will not be released if you have oustanding financial obligation.

Please check your myUHportal for academic records and holds. KISC will contact you via email indicating when diplomas are available to pick-up.

Mailing of Diplomas: If you are leaving the island of O‘ahu and will be unable to pick up your diploma in person, you may request that it be mailed to you. You may:

  • Complete a “Request To Mail Diploma” form available at KISC ‘Ilima 102 or
  • Email us using your account or
  • Fax a request at 808.734.9896. Please include your name, username/UH ID, mailing address and your signature. Please email if you have any question regarding diploma or graduation application.

Disability Accommodation

For disability accommodations, advance notice requested: Contact the Graduation Office at or 808.734.9532 at least two weeks prior to the event.