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Undergraduate Catalog

Graduation and Commencement


Students must complete all requirements and at least 34 credits to receive the bachelor of arts (BA) or bachelor of science (BS) degree, or 17 credits to receive their nursing certificate. Mills College confers degrees three times per year.

Graduation Date

Requirements Completed  Graduation Date 
Summer Term September 1
Fall Semester January 2
Spring Semester Date of Commencement

Students completing the degree or certificate requirements "In Absentia" must provide the M Center with an official transcript of their completed remaining requirements. The graduation date will be the final term in which the work was completed.

Degree Completion Options
Undergraduate seniors who have no more than 2 credits outstanding to complete the degree may be eligible for two degree completion options. Students may choose to complete the degree requirements "In Absentia" (see Graduation "In Absentia" below) or may choose to utilize the Reduced Tuition Program (see Reduced Tuition Program below).   

Graduation "In Absentia"
In exceptional circumstances, bachelor's degree candidates may complete up to their final 2 semester course credits of work at another institution, provided they have completed at least 32 credits before leaving Mills, have not reached the transfer credit limit, and have no more than 2 credits which must be outside the major remaining to fulfill the degree. The same policy applies to nursing students with no more than 1 remaining credit.

Students must petition for "In Absentia" status by completing and submitting a Degree Completion Options Petition, which specifies when and where the credits will be completed. Payment of the "In Absentia" fee ($300) can be submitted with the petition or charged to the student's account. This non-refundable fee for "In Absentia" status will only be charged if the petition is approved.  This fee is subject to change. The petition is reviewed by the Academic Standing Committee (ASC). If approved, the student's status will be changed to "In Absentia." Students may be "In Absentia" for a maximum of four semesters. A student who does not complete the degree or certificate within two years must apply for readmission to the College. In no case will the degree or certificate be granted unless the student has completed all requirements.  "In Absentia" students are eligible to participate in Commencement. 

Financial obligations to the College must be satisfied for the student to be eligible to apply for "In Absentia" status.

Reduced Tuition Program
Seniors needing no more than 2 credits to fulfill all remaining requirements (1 credit for nursing students) may be eligible for the Reduced Tuition Program. The credits may fulfill any requirement such as elective, major, minor, general education or overall credits.  Students may not cross-register under the Reduced Tuition Program.

To qualify, students must be no more than 2 credits from fulfilling all requirements to graduate including major, general education, elective and 34-credit requirements.  A maximum of 2 credits may be completed through the Reduced Tuition Program. Students who have utilized the Reduced Tuition Program, who wish to take additional credits, can take them only for audit, and will be charged the part-timr auditor fee.

Students petition for the Reduced Tuition Program by completing the Degree Completions Options Petition. Mark the “Reduced Tuition Program” checkbox and submit the form to M Center. Please allow 10 business days for processing.  The reduced tuition is $1500 per credit (maximum of 2 credits).  The same policy applies to nursing students with no more than 1 remaining credit.

Students utilizing the Reduced Tuition Program will be charged regular student fees including ASMC, AC Transit, health insurance (as applicable) and Campus Comprehensive. 

Students who choose the Reduced Tuition option will not be eligible to receive institutional financial aid, i.e., Mills College scholarships, grants and/or loans. Students are advised to meet with a financial aid counselor regarding eligibility for federal and/or state aid. To be considered for federal and/or state aid students typically must be enrolled at least half time and be making satisfactory academic progress for financial aid. Students also must not have exceeded the maximum number of semesters of financial aid eligibility.

Students utilizing the Reduced Tuition Program are eligible to participate in Commencement. In no case will the degree or certificate be granted unless the student has completed all requirements.

Financial obligations to the College must be satsified for the student to be eligible to apply for Reduced Tuition Program.

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Graduation Application
An Undergraduate Application for Graduation is required of all undergraduate students who anticipate completing their requirements, or who will be within 1 (nursing certificate) or 2 (BA or BS) credits of completing their requirements and wish to participate in the Commencement ceremony. The application must be submitted to the M Center by the deadline listed in the table below. For the 2015-16 academic year, including summer 2016, the deadlines are below. The application, available online, requires the student's and advisor's signatures. Incomplete or late graduation applications may result in the student not being included in Commencement. For further information, contact records@mills.edu.

Expected Term of Graduation  Graduation Application Due Date
Fall 2015 May 1, 2015
Spring 2016 December 1, 2015
Summer 2016 May 2, 2016
Fall 2016  May 2, 2016

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The Commencement ceremony, which takes place each May, includes formal conferral of the degree for students who have completed all requirements either in the previous summer, fall, or spring. Conferral of the degree is symblized by the awarding of the bachelor of arts or bachelor of science hood and presentation of the diploma.

Students who have completed at least 32 credits toward their bachelor of arts or bachelor of science degree and who have no more than 2 credits remaining to fulfill all major and minor requirements are also eligible to participate in the Commencement ceremony. This same policy applies to nursing students who have no more than 1 credit remaining. Students who wish to participate must submit a graduation application. It is expected that these students will complete their remaining requirements at Mills, either during summer or fall immediately following Commencement, or petition the ASC to complete their degree “In Absentia” provided the remaining credits are not major requirements, and the student has not already reached the transfer credit maximum.

Students enrolled in the 3+2 Engineering program are eligible to walk in Commencement if all the requirements for the Mills degree are met.

Seniors who are not eligible to participate in Commencement are encouraged to join other activities planned during the Commencement weekend. Contact the Division of Student Life for additional information.

Formal academic regalia are required of all students participating in the Commencement ceremony.

Diplomas for students who have completed their requirements in the summer are mailed October 1st. Diplomas for students who have completed their requirements in the fall are mailed February 1st. Diplomas for spring graduates are mailed in late June. The diploma bears the student's full name as it appears in myMILLS (unless requested otherwise, in writing to the M Center), major, and the actual date of graduation. Minors and major concentrations are not recorded on the diploma. Latin honors, if applicable, are noted on the Mills College diploma.

The student must notify Academic Records of non-receipt of the diploma by:

  • November 15 if degree requirements are completed by September 1;
  • April 15 if degree requirements are completed by January 2, and;
  • August 15 if degree requirements are completed by the last day of the spring term.

The student will need to order a replacement diploma and pay the replacement fee if notification is received later.

Diplomas are mailed to the permanent address on file. To ensure the diploma is mailed to the correct address, the student must update their permanent address via the Mills Portal prior to their graduation date.

Diplomas will not be released under the following conditions:

  • If a student is in financial default, the College may withhold the diploma until the financial obligations are met.
  • If a student has any outstanding grades, the diploma will be held until all grades are received and recorded.
  • If a student attended another institution through cross-registration during the final semester, the diploma will be held until an official transcript from the institution is received and reviewed and credit is granted.
  • Diplomas for doctoral students will be released only upon receipt of the School of Education Diploma Release Form.

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Undergraduate Catalog
Table of Contents

About Mills

Academic Requirements

Academic Regulations

Transfer Credit


Advising and Registration

Course Descriptions

Majors and Minors

Graduate Degree and Certifcate Programs

Student Life



Financial Aid

Last Updated: 9/30/15