- Date: 1594
- 1 : a mark on an instrument or vessel indicating degrees or quantity; also : these marks
- 2 a : the award or acceptance of an academic degree or diploma b : commencement
- 3 : arrangement in degrees or ranks
Graduation is the action of receiving or conferring an academic degree or the ceremony that is sometimes associated, where students become Graduates. Before the graduation, candidates are referred to as Graduands. The date of graduation is often called degree day. The graduation itself is also called commencement, convocation or invocation. At the University of Cambridge, the occasion on which most graduands receive their BA degree is known as general admission. After degree completion, graduates can be referred to by their graduating year. In the United States and Canada, it is also used to refer to the advancement from a primary or secondary school level.
When ceremonies are associated, they usually include a procession of the academic staff and candidates. Beginning at the secondary school level in the United States, the candidates will almost always wear academic dress, and increasingly faculty will do the same. At the college and university level, the faculty will usually wear academic dress at the formal ceremonies, as will the trustees and degree candidates. "Graduation" at the college and university level occurs when the presiding officer confers degrees upon candidates, either individually or en masse, even if graduates physically receive their diploma later at a smaller college or departmental ceremony.