Academic Recognition

Academic degrees date from the second half of the twelfth century. The present ceremony recognizing scholarly achievement retains all the essential features of its ancient predecessors.

It is a university tradition and honor for a student soloist and student signer, selected by the Departments of Music and Deaf Studies, to sing and sign the National Anthem and TU Alma Mater at Commencement. 

Commencement is a traditional and formal academic ceremony celebrating the academic accomplishments of all of our degree candidates. During Commencement, there are several ways we honor degree candidates who have demonstrated an especially deep commitment to their field of study and achieved a record of excellence during their academic career at Towson University. The following symbols of academic achievement recognize the accomplishments of our graduates.

Academic Degrees

Towson University awards academic degrees at the bachelor's, master and doctoral levels. The university also awards post-baccalureate certificates and certificates of advanced study.

  • The doctoral degree is the most advanced earned degree conferred by American institutions. There are two distinct types: the practitioner's degree and the research degree. 
  • The master's degree is an academic honor bestowed upon candidates who have successfully completed work beyond the bachelor's degree. A thesis and an oral examination are usually required. 
  • The bachelor's degree represents the completion of a four-year course of college-level study and is the oldest academic degree awarded by American institutions of higher learning. The Maryland State Normal School, which later became Towson University, awarded its first bachelor's degrees in 1866.

Latin Honors

Latin Honors is awarded by college to the top ten percent of the undergraduate students. Eligibility is determined based on the calculated grade point average of students' final 60 units completed at Towson University. If earned after the calculation of final grades, the Latin Honors designation will appear on the diploma and transcript.

University Scholar Medallion

The Honors College at Towson University provides an enhanced undergraduate experience for highly-motivated and intellectually-curious students. Graduates of the Honors College have pursued scholarly opportunities such as interdisciplinary seminars and research. Upon the completion of 24 Honors credits, graduates earn the designation of 'University Scholar.' This appears on each graduates’ transcript and diploma.

Tiger Athletics Scholar/Chi Alpha Sigma Medallion

Towson Athletics and Chi Alpha Sigma, the National College Athlete Honor Society, recognize outstanding academic achievement by intercollegiate varsity letter winners.  The Towson University Tiger Athletics Scholar/Chi Alpha Sigma Athletics Scholar Medallions are awarded to graduating Towson student-athletes who earn a varsity letter in at least one sport while maintaining a 3.4 or higher cumulative GPA.  We honor these students not only for their achievements in their sport, but also for excellence in the classroom.  

Commissioning Students

Below is a list of students receiving a commission after graduation:

Winter 2017

  • Sharon Ashe - Texas ARNG, Adjutant General

Spring 2018

  • Mitchell Burns - Active Duty, Nursing
  • Geena Cantalupo - North Carolina ARNG, Ordnance
  • Rebecca Gillespie - Active Duty, Nursing
  • Joseph Knott - Maryland ARNG, Field Artillery
  • Erin Lewis - USAR, Medical Service
  • Karly Nesta - US Air Force
  • Ryan Olsson - Active Duty, Cyber
  • Samuel Scheiner - Maryland ARNG, Aviation
  • Victoria Wolsh - Active Duty, Military Police

Academic Cords

Academic cords signify the achievement of a specific academic honor. These braided cords are worn underneath the hood of the regalia and serve as visual markers specific academic achievements these students have earned. University organizations, departments or student groups are not permitted to distribute cords for graduates to wear during commencement without the approval of the Office of the Provost.

  • Braided cords may only recognize university-approved academic honors. The list of organizations approved to distribute academic cords has been determined by the Office of the Provost in consultation with academic colleges.  
  • Academic programs and registered student organizations wishing to provide members or participants with an academic cord to be worn at Commencement must obtain prior approval from the Office of the Provost. The Academic Cord Approval Form must be submitted by October 15 for use at Winter Commencement or by March 15 for use at Spring Commencement. 

Banner Carriers

Banner carriers are selected by their college associate deans and department chairs to represent their respective academic college, graduate studies, and the Honors College. They are selected based on their academic achievements and extracurricular involvements during their time at TU and lead the degree candidate procession at the beginning of each ceremony.

Soloists and Signers

Soloists and signers are selected by the Departments of Music and Audiology – Speech Language-Pathology and Deaf Studies. They are selected for this honor based on their significant skill sets and/or their contributions to the university.

Commencement Programs

Commencement programs present as complete and accurate a record of candidates for degrees as is possible as of the publication date two months prior to the ceremonies. The following list of commencement programs is available for reference only. You may also contact  for past commencement programs.