College of Arts & Sciences

Graduation Requirements

Students may qualify for the bachelor’s degree by completing successfully:
  • the university studies requirements
  • the residency requirement (in detail below)
  • an approved course of study in an academic major
  • minimum of 124 semester hours of credit
  • a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.00

Graduation will be certified at the end of the term in which all academic requirements are complete. Upon completion of all requirements, the student will receive either the Bachelor of Arts, the Bachelor of Fine Arts in creative writing, the Bachelor of Music, the Bachelor of Science, or the Bachelor of Social Work degree.

  • Residency Requirement

    To qualify for the bachelor’s degree, students must be enrolled in a degree program at UNCW and must have completed: (1) a minimum of 25 percent of the credit hours required for graduation through courses offered at UNCW and (2) 15 semester hours in the major at the 300-400 level. Exceptions to requirement (2) may be made only with the approval of the department chair or school director, and the appropriate dean. Requirement (1) may not be waived.

  • Degrees with Distinction

    Three degrees with distinction are granted to graduating students based on all work attempted in meeting requirements for the degree as follows:

    Cum Laude for an overall average of 3.50
    Magna Cum Laude for an overall average of 3.70
    Summa Cum Laude for an overall average of 3.90

    If transfer students first have a UNCW GPA of 3.5 or higher, degrees with distinction are granted to transfer students under the following conditions:

    1. The student must have the required overall average on all work attempted (including all transfer courses attempted).
    2. The student must have the required average on work attempted at the University of North Carolina Wilmington.

    Grades issued by a foreign institution are not calculated into the UNCW grade point average in determining degrees with distinction.

    For the purposes of the commencement ceremony, including the distribution of honor cords and the printing of the commencement program, distinctions are calculated based on the grades up to, but not including, the student’s final term.

    Students who complete the Departmental Honors Program satisfactorily will be graduated “With Honors” in the discipline in which the special work is undertaken. Students who complete the University Honors Program will have the additional designation “University Honors.”

  • Request to Walk in a Graduation Ceremony
    • Students may be allowed to participate in the graduation ceremony if they are expected to meet requirements with the completion of one course of up to four (4) hours during the term immediately following the graduation ceremony.
    • Students approved to walk will not have their names appear in the commencement program.
    • Students approved to walk will not receive any recognition of university honors and/or distinctions (no distinction cords issued) until all graduation requirements have been met.
    • Students will fill out the online graduation application for their appropriate term of graduation.
    • In addition to the online graduation application, students will be required to complete a Request to Walk in a Graduation Ceremony acknowledging the criteria and responsibilities of walking in a ceremony, prior to meeting graduation requirements. The course still required will be noted on this form along with a copy of their degree audit.
    • Each department will be responsible for maintaining a list within their department, as they are notified by the individual students. A list is maintained by the graduation specialist for cap and gown distribution, which is sent to the bookstore and transition programs for record-keeping purposes.
    • Any student not meeting the criteria for early participation in graduation, as set forth by the UNCW Faculty Senate, will be denied to participate by the Office of the Registrar. Appeals must go through the student's respective College/School Dean.

In advising and registering students, the deans, the Office of the Registrar and faculty advisors try to make certain that every student who intends to graduate from the university registers for those courses that are required for a degree. The student, however, must assume the final responsibility for meeting the graduation requirements set forth in the university catalogue. The degree audit is a recommended tool to track your progress towards degree completion.

A continuing student or a student returning from “on-leave” status who enrolls at the University of North Carolina Wilmington during any academic year and who earns credit for work done during the year may graduate under the provisions of the entering catalogue or under any subsequent catalogue, provided all graduation requirements are completed within six years of the expiration date of the catalogue chosen.

  • Re-enrolling students who were academically eligible or had earned at least 89 credit hours when they left UNCW may choose to enroll under the catalogue in place when they return, or they may enroll under a previous catalogue from a year in which they earned credit, provided all graduation requirements are completed within six years of the expiration date of the catalogue chosen.
  • Re-enrolling students who have been academically dismissed or were academically ineligible and had earned 88 or fewer credit hours when they left UNCW must enroll under the catalogue in effect when they re-enroll at UNCW.
  • Catalogues are effective for one academic year, beginning with the fall term and expiring at the end of the summer term.

Students may be allowed to participate in the graduation ceremony if they have completed requirements for graduation or if they are expected to meet the graduation requirements with the completion of one course of up to four hours during the term immediately following the graduation ceremony. Students who are one course short must notify the Office of the Registrar by the end of the seventh week of the semester of their intent to participate in the ceremony. Their names will not be published in the Commencement Program.