The conferring of degrees is one of the most significant activities performed at Rice as an institution of higher education. Ensuring that students meet the requirements of their selected degree, major, minor, and/or certificate program is an important process performed each semester and each academic year. While there is only one commencement ceremony each year in May, students can complete degree requirements and graduate in December, May, or August of each academic year. In past academic years, the major certification (or Approval of Major) process was manual and paper-based, with each department delegating faculty to review and physically sign off on students' Approval of Major paperwork. This also included the manual notation of course substitutions and exceptions. Thanks to the implementation of Degree Works, course substitutions and exceptions, along with major certifications, can now be performed electronically.
An official certifier is a faculty advisor who has the ability to apply course substitutions and/or exceptions and certify that a student has met the requirements of their selected degree, major, minor, and/or certificate towards the completion of their degree(s). An Official Certifier generally serves in this capacity for a minimum of one full academic year. This includes the certification of degree candidates for December, May, and August degree conferrals. The Office of the Registrar requests that each academic department/program provides the name(s) of the Official Certifier in a ‘roll call’ early in the fall semester each academic year.
Students should work with their faculty advisor throughout the academic year to review their progress towards the completion of their degree(s). The faculty advisor will assist the student in understanding the courses and credit hours needed to fulfill the requirements of their major, minor, and/or certificate program. The faculty advisor will also work with the official certifier when course substitution or exception is needed. The official certifier will submit the course substitution or exception via a petition process within Degree Works. The Office of the Registrar will apply the course substitution or exception as requested. In some instances, and in certain situations, additional approvals may need to be obtained. (For example, the Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies has final approval authority over graduate-level degree/program course substitutions or exceptions, and the Office of the Registrar will coordinate with them as necessary.)
Please note that this list may change due to changes with faculty advisors. Please contact the Office of the Registrar via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) if an update is needed, or if you have questions about an Official Certifier. All Official Certifiers must have a current security agreement and complete FERPA training.
The following table lists the Official Certifier for each department and/or academic program for the current academic year: