Selecting a New Name

In addition to your legal name, Emerson maintains an optional preferred first name (also known as your updated name). Students are welcome to change their preferred name under General Self Service > Personal Information.

Faculty and Staff must update their names in Workday.

Legal Name and Gender

Your legal name would still be used where legally required or by business necessity, including but not limited to transcripts, insurance claims, medical records, immigration information, passport/visa/immigration documents, tax forms and loan documents. For a detailed list of cross-campus name update supported systems, visit this table to learn where you should still expect to see your legal name.

Students who wish to change their legal name on file with the college you must provide documentation of your new legal name to the Registrar’s Office. This includes a court order, marriage certificate, social security card, passport or driver’s license. Upon receipt and verification of this documentation, the Registrar’s Office will change your legal name in the central database and notify other offices. The College will keep an internal record of your former name. If you have changed your legal name or legal sex and wish to update it with the College please complete the Change of Legal Name or Sex Form, available on the Registrar's Office's Instructions & Forms for Students page.

If you are unable to submit necessary documentation in hard copy (by bringing a copy in person or sending it by mail) and your documentation includes sensitive information or information protected by privacy law (e.g., a Social Security number), you should email it to registrar [at] (registrar[at]emerson[dot]edu) using Gmail’s confidential mode or a similar service.

Diploma Name

Use of your legal name on your diploma is recommended, especially for international students, but it is not required. Using your legal name will help you in the event that an employer or government wants to match your diploma to your academic record.

To request a new diploma, complete the diploma replacement request form, available on the Registrar's Office Transcripts & Certifications webpage.

Email and Google Apps

Your email address will update to your  preferred first name. Emails sent to your previous email address will forward to your new email address. 

College Directory

Your preferred name will show up in search results, class rosters in LMS and most college correspondence. 

Once you have updated your name, mail sent to your home address will typically use your preferred name. However, mail may be sent in your legal name, dependent upon the purpose of the mailing.

ID Card

You can request a new identification card which can display your preferred name. To receive an updated Emerson Identification (EID) at no cost, you will have to turn in your current EID. The ID Office is located on the first floor of Piano Row. 

Note: Your first reprint of an ID Card, requesting a name update, will be free of charge for Students, Faculty and Staff. There will be a $25.00 reprint fee associated with any additional name update requests. Legal name changes will continue to be free of charge.

Name Standards for International Students

There are several considerations for international students regarding names as they relate to your legal documents. 

If you are an international student in the U.S. it is important that your “legal name” at Emerson match your current and complete passport name (including all last names). This is true even if you have legally changed your name and have a valid marriage certificate or court document. All other U.S. government documents should be consistent with your passport (including your visa, I-94 admission record, I-20 document and SEVIS record for F-1 students, DS-2019 document and SEVIS record for J-1 exchange visitors, Social Security Number, State Driver’s License, etc.). 

If you wish to begin changing your name on other government documents, you should begin by first updating the name on your passport - either in your home country, or at your home country consulate or embassy in the U.S.

For students in F-1 status (and visiting J-1 exchange visitors) the way your name appears on U.S. government documents is also subject to US Department of Homeland Security name standards that reflect the record-keeping requirements in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS).

Please note that although SEVIS allows for entry of a “preferred name” in your immigration record, Emerson College Office of International Student Affairs (OISA) will not automatically update your Emerson “preferred name” into your SEVIS record. The SEVIS “preferred name” field, may be appropriate, for instance for a new married or changed name that is not yet reflected on your passport, but which exists on other legal documents.  

International Student Considerations about name changes: 

  • Changes to your Emerson “legal” name: If you are an F-1 international student, your “legal” name in Emerson systems must match your current passport (including all last names) in order to ensure correct reporting by OISA to SEVIS. See discussion above.
  • Changes to Emerson “preferred” name: Your preferred name should reflect your proper name, the name that correctly identifies you. This field is commonly used for transgender and non-binary students to update their name in college records. This name field may also be used by international or other students who identify under another name.
  • Changes to SEVIS “preferred” name: Emerson OISA will not automatically update your Emerson “preferred” name to the “preferred” name field in SEVIS as this becomes a part of your immigration record. However, at your request, we may use this field to reflect an alternate legal name (such as a married name or legally changed name) that does not match your current passport. 
  • Changes to Emerson “diploma” name: Keep in mind that U.S. diplomas are often required as part of the process to apply for work visas in the U.S. While this name field does not legally have to match other government documents, it may be pragmatic to use a consistent legal name.

Please contact the Office for International Student Affairs if you have questions about name considerations regarding your SEVIS record, visa status or diploma.