Graduation Information


Degrees and Certificates will be awarded with Honors to graduating students having a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0.  Students with a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or higher will graduate with Honors and Distinction.  Students graduating with a cumulative GPA of 4.0 will graduate with Honors and Distinction along with earning the Mu Sigma Alpha Award.


There are important differences between commencement and graduation with which you should be familiar. Commencement refers to the ceremony, officiated by the President of Commonwealth Institute of Funeral Service, where you share the excitement and importance of your academic accomplishments with peers, family, and friends.  It is also a time for the CIFS administrators and faculty to pay special tribute to you for the outstanding efforts you have shown.  In general, the CIFS commencement ceremony is approximately one to two hours in length. There is no limit for the number of guests a student may invite, and there are no tickets issued.  Seating is on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Participating in a commencement ceremony does not certify graduation nor confer a degree.  Students who are eligible to participate in commencement are those who complete their degree requirements by the end of the current quarter. Commonwealth may consider other eligible students as those who lack no more than six credit hours to be completed next quarter and maintain a GPA of 2.0 or greater at the time of commencement.

Graduation is the certifying of degrees. The Associate of Applied Science Degree or the Certificate in Funeral Directing becomes official after all graduation requirements have been completed and verified by the CIFS registrar’s office and it is posted to the official transcript.

All candidates participating in the Commencement ceremony will be required to wear the academic regalia significant to CIFS.  Students do not wear regalia, academic/honor cords, and/or sashes from previously attended colleges or universities.

  • Traditional black regalia will be worn by all graduates and may not be altered, modified, or decorated in any way. In keeping with the dignity of the ceremony, no additions to the regalia will be allowed.  Candidates with altered regalia will not be allowed to participate in the ceremony.
  • The ONLY exception to the above policy is the top of the mortar board (cap). This may be decorated, but please practice discretion.
  • Only CIFS issued caps and gowns, academic and veteran cords, and/or stoles may be worn at the Commencement ceremony. 
  • Use CAUTION in selecting your graduation footwear. You will be required to stand for long periods of time, walk long distances, and use stairs/ramps.
  • Information on purchasing caps, gowns, and tassels will be provided. Honor cords and other regalia for applicable candidates will be issued at the Commencement ceremony.


ROBERT L. WALTRIP CHAIRMAN’S AWARD – Outstanding Achievement

This award is named in honor of the Founder and Chairman Emeritus of Service Corporation International and Chairman Emeritus for the CIFS Board of Regents.  This award is selected by the class and presented to the graduate whom the class feels demonstrates the greatest professionalism and greatest promise in funeral service. 



The scholarship is awarded to the student who has exhibited the highest proficiency in the courses of Embalming and Restorative Art.  The award is named in honor of a previous CIFS president.



This award is presented to the student whose lab project and overall academic achievement in the area of Restorative Art demonstrates knowledge of facial expression, manual dexterity, and attention to detail.  The award is named in honor of a previous faculty member, funeral service educator, and author.



This award is presented to the student who has exhibited the greatest proficiency in embalming from a practical aspect.  The award is named in memory of a CIFS graduate, CIFS Alumni Association member, and longtime sales representative for the Dodge Company.


  1. Students are recognized with Honors for maintaining a 3.0-3.49 Cumulative GPA.
  2. Students are recognized with Honors and Distinction for maintaining a 3.5 or higher Cumulative GPA.
  3. Students are recognized with the Mu Sigma Alpha Award for maintaining a 4.0 Cumulative GPA.

Request Information

Commonwealth Institute of Funeral Service

415 Barren Springs Drive
Houston, Texas 77090

Office Telephone: (281) 873-0262
Toll Free: (800) 628-1580
Fax: (281) 873-5232
Email: [email protected]

Campus Hours

Mon-Fri 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM

Lecture Classes
Mon-Thu 8:00 AM – 8:50 AM
Mon-Thu 9:00 AM – 9:50 AM
Mon-Thu 10:00 AM – 10:50 AM
Mon-Thu 11:00 AM – 11:50 AM
Mon-Thu 12:00 PM – 12:50 PM

Embalming Labs
Mon-Thu 1:00 PM – 4:30 PM
Fri – 8:00 AM – 4:30 PM

The dates and times of laboratory sessions are scheduled at the beginning of each quarter.

2024-2025 CATALOG

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