Students at graduation ceremony.



Graduation is an exciting time. We look forward to celebrating with you at Commencement - which is held each May and December.

To ensure that you are ready to graduate, there are a few steps you'll need to complete in your final semester at Pellissippi State. You also should be aware of some processes all graduating students undertake.

It's important to remember to frequently check myPellissippi and your campus email during your last semester of college for important information regarding graduation. We'll send you lots of updates and instructions, many of which have hard-and-fast deadlines. It's your responsibility to be aware of those deadlines and ensure you meet them.

If you need help, remember you can always call Records at 865-694-6632 or 865-694-6723.


Fall 2020 Virtual Commencement

Broadcast Date: December 18, 2020

Learn more about our Virtual Commencement!


UTK Clear Bag & Metal Detector Policies

Graduation Information for Faculty & Staff


How To Apply for Graduation

In your next-to-last semester, you need to meet with your advisor to ensure you’re ready to graduate. Your advisor will make sure you have all the credits and classes you need to earn your degree. Remember: you can schedule advising appointments in myPellissippi.

Once you have met with your advisor, you’ll be given a password to apply for graduation and will be registered for an exit exam. This will be clearance to apply for graduation. Submit your graduation application at the very beginning of your last semester of college.

Apply for graduation in myPellissippi: under “Your Records,” click “Apply to Graduate/Graduation Status.” The intent to graduate application for fall 2020 must be submitted by November 16, 2020.

The graduation application lets you identify any honors society memberships you may have, as well as place your order for a cap and gown.


Graduation Confirmation

You’ll be notified through your Pellissippi State email that your graduation application has been approved. You’ll also be notified through email if you have any possible deficiencies in your records that might prevent you from graduating. It’s your responsibility to follow up on those deficiencies.

You can check your graduation status by clicking on the "Apply to Graduate/Graduation Status" link under "Your Records" in myPellissippi. If you need help, call Records at 865-694-6632 or 865-694-6723.


Updating Your Address

After graduation, we will notify you via US Mail to let you know that your diploma is ready for pick-up. In your last semester, make sure that we have the correct mailing address for you. You can check that the address we have for you is correct in myPellissippi.

If your address needs to be updated, contact our Records office at 865-694-6400 or


How to Take Your Exit Exam

All Tennessee community college graduates are required to take an exit exam. When you meet with your advisor in your next-to-last or last semester, your advisor will register you for an exit exam.

The exit exam is not part of your grade for any class, and your score does not affect your ability to earn your degree. However, you must complete the exam in order to be eligible for graduation.

The exam, called the ETS Proficiency Profile, tests your skills in college-level reading, writing, mathematics and critical thinking. The exam consists of 36 multiple-choice questions and takes about 45 minutes to complete. If you’re interested, you can view sample questions.

The ETS Proficiency Profile helps Pellissippi State assess our courses and degree programs and make improvements as we need to. 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’re doing.


How to Settle Financial Obligations

If you have outstanding financial obligations — including library fees or parking tickets — your final transcript and diploma and/or certificate will not be released. Be sure that you settle any and all financial obligations in your last semester of school.

Some students have additional financial obligations. If you received a Federal Stafford Loan through our Financial Aid office, you’re required to complete exit loan counseling before you’re cleared to graduate. Call 865-694-6400 to schedule your exit loan counseling session.


Where to Buy Graduation Announcements, Class Rings and More

The College bookstore sells graduation announcements and other items like diploma frames and gifts.

You can order class rings from Jostens.


Where to Order Your Cap and Gown

You must order a cap and gown to participate in the commencement ceremony. Our caps and gowns are black, and we encourage you to dress nicely to complement the gowns. After commencement, you’ll own your cap and gown, so there’s no need to return them.

If you need to order a cap and gown, complete a cap and gown order form. We recommend ordering no later than November 13.


Additional Stoles, Sashes and Medallions

If you are an active member of Gamma Beta Phi, Kappa Beta Delta, Lambda Epsilon Chi, and/or Phi Theta Kappa, you should identify your membership in your graduation application. You’ll be recognized for your achievements during the commencement ceremony. If you are in an honor society or have received another commendation while at Pellissippi State, you may purchase from that society's website any stoles, sashes, medallions or other items to wear with your cap and gown.

You may also be recognized for other accomplishments — as a military veteran, a participant in our Service-Learning program or for outstanding academic accomplishments.

We provide some honorary decorations to your cap and gown, and you’ll be provided those decorations prior to commencement. However, if you are a member of Phi Theta Kappa, you should purchase your own tassel or stole.


What Happens at the Commencement Ceremony

Our Commencement ceremonies are held in May and December at Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville. Thompson-Boling has a very strict bag policy which everyone entering the building — including graduates — must comply. Additionally, entrances to the arena utilize metal detectors. These additional security measures may slow your entry into the arena, so please give yourself enough time to enter the facility. Your patience and compliance with these requirements is appreciated in advance.

UTK Clear Bag & Metal Detector Policies

We ask that all graduating students arrive at Commencement one hour before the ceremony begins. Arrive wearing your cap and gown, and have all other honorary decorations with you. You will check in and then line up for the procession. If you earned an Associate of Applied Science degree, you must also check in at the Placement Office table before the ceremony.

There is not a place to store your purse, wallet or other valuables. Leave any valuables in your car, or entrust them to family members or friends. Neither Pellissippi State nor the University of Tennessee are responsible for the loss of any of your valuables.

All graduates must stay for the entire ceremony.


Disability Accommodations

Participants in commencement who have a disability and require special accommodations should contact Disability Services at 865-539-7153 early in their last semester of college.

If a member of the audience has a disability and requires special accommodations, please ask an usher at the event for directions to special seating on the arena floor. Please note that Thompson-Boling Arena does not furnish wheelchairs.


Official Photography

During the ceremony, all graduates will be photographed. You will be photographed as you cross the stage and shake hands with the President, then once again after you exit the stage. You may also be photographed backstage, sitting during the Commencement ceremony and after the ceremony is over. Photographers may also take photos of family members and friends of graduates.

Following the ceremony, the official photographer will contact graduates using contact information supplied by graduating students during the check-in process before the ceremony. Official photographs will be available for sale through the official photographer. There is no obligation to purchase photographs.

Please arrange for other pictures or snapshots to be made after the ceremony has concluded.


How To Receive Your Diploma

You will not receive your diploma during the commencement ceremony.

Your diploma will be ready for you to pick up 4-6 weeks after graduation each semester. After you graduate, we will mail you a postcard notifying you when your diploma is ready for pick-up. We will send this postcard to the address we have on file - so check with the Records Office to make sure your address is accurate the semester before you graduate.

You may bring a photo ID to the Hardin Valley Campus Admissions or Records offices in Goins 102. Office hours are 8 am-6 pm, Monday through Thursday and 8 am-4: 30 pm, Friday. You may authorize someone else to pick up your diploma for you, but that person also must present a photo ID and bring a note, signed by you, authorizing them to pick up your diploma.