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Northwestern University considers the diploma to be a ceremonial document. As such, the University recommends that alumni or those seeking to verify alumni credentials, request official transcripts or degree verifications to verify a degree completion.

Diplomas are distributed according to the practice of the school awarding the degree, either issued at ceremonies or mailed.

Diploma Names

Students are free to choose alternate names, such as shortened names or nicknames, to be printed on diplomas.

In many other countries, diplomas are considered evidence of a completed degree, so students should consider this when choosing a diploma name. Alternate names make it difficult to match a diploma to a student's university and state records and thus verify the degree. To simplify this connection, students who come from or plan to work in countries where the diploma is used for verification should include their first and last primary names (as they appear on their Northwestern student record) as their diploma name, when appropriate.

The diploma name is also the name used for Commencement and Convocation programs.

Examples are for reference under each category.


Diploma names in CAESAR must be in sentence/title case

John S. McDoe
John Sample de Doe


Hyphens, apostrophes and accent marks

John Sample O'Doe-Roe
Jöhn Sámple Doe

Not allowed:

Quotation marks, parentheses, commas, prefixes/titles (Dr., Mr., Mrs., etc.), all caps

John "Skip" Doe
John (Skip) Doe
Dr. John Doe

Common formatting:

John Sample Doe
John S. Doe
John Doe
John Doe Jr.
John Doe IV
J. Doe

Students with One Name:

Students who have only one name should provide that name in the Last Name field and add a single space in the First Name field.

( _) Doe

Diploma Name submission and changes

Students in programs supported by the Office of the Registrar must supply a diploma name no later than the end of the fourth week of classes in the graduation term.  Students will receive an email confirming the diploma name on file for them and must reply within one week with any updates.  Diploma name  changes are not permitted after the fifth week of the term of graduation.   Students may choose to order another diploma at their own expense (minimum cost, depending upon delivery and shipping, is $50) with a different name after this deadline.

Primary name changes (i.e. changing the primary or legal name on the student record due to error or name change) must be requested through the student's registrar.