Commencement FAQs

What’s the difference between Commencement and Convocation ceremonies?


  • Degrees are officially conferred by the University President
  • Entire university community is invited.
  • Ceremony begins with graduates processing through campus
  • Official university guest speaker delivers Commencement address.
  • Selected student speaker representing the class of 2016 delivers address.
  • Event is televised
  • Tickets are required for guests. Each graduate may obtain four guest tickets.
  • Ph.D. graduates are individually recognized and photographed on stage receiving their degrees. All graduates are acknowledged, and degrees are conferred by deans/directors and university president.
  • Caps and gowns are worn.
(Duration – approximately two hours)
  • Prelude Music
  • Processional followed by the National Anthem (please stand).
  • Greeting and introductions by President Cabrera.
  • Presentation of Honorary Degrees
  • Commencement Address
  • Student Commencement Address
  • Conferral of Degrees: Bachelors, Masters, Juris Doctorate, and Doctoral
    Each dean will ask his/her college, school, or institute candidates to rise by degree program, until the entire body has been called. President Cabrera will confer degrees. Students will move the tassels on their caps from right to left.
  • Recessional
    During the recessional, faculty marshals direct your exit from the EagleBank Arena. Students exit from the front to the back. Please meet your family outside the EagleBank Arena.  A sign language interpreter interprets the ceremony for the hearing impaired.

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Convocation Ceremonies

Celebration of graduation sponsored by individual schools:

  • Individual school/college/institute graduates only
  • All guests are welcome; tickets are not required except where noted*
  • All graduates are individually recognized and photographed on stage receiving their degrees.
  • Each school/college/institute selects speakers.
  • Caps and gowns are worn.

* Tickets are required for any convocation taking place at the Hylton Performing Arts Center (Rec. Health & Tourism) and other venues as noted on schedule.

Graduates are encouraged to attend both the university-wide Commencement ceremony, and their specific convocation ceremony.

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Ticket Information for Commencement Ceremony

Because more than 7,000 students will graduate this year, seating at Commencement is limited, and guest tickets are required. All graduates will be permitted a maximum of six(6) guest tickets. Graduating students do not need a ticket. All tickets are free and are general admission. Handicapped and special-assistance seating is available at the door. Guests requiring special assistance may be seated with one other guest in their party in easy-access sections of the EagleBank Arena.

Tickets and detailed instructions may be picked up at the March Commencement Fair or the EagleBank Arena box office with a Mason ID or valid driver’s license as follows:
Tuesday, April 19, 2016 – Wednesday, May 11, 2016
Monday – Thursday, 10am – 7pm
Friday – Saturday, 10am – 5:30pm

Wednesday MAY 11, 10 A.M. – 5:30 P.M.

Doctoral students will receive information by email on how to order tickets no later than April 1, 2016.  Tickets will be mailed to address provided by May 4, 2016.  Any Doctoral students who have not received information should contact Rachel Lubar at

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Additional Tickets

Neither Events Management nor the Office of the Registrar has additional tickets. Additional tickets will be available only if students turn in unneeded tickets. Unneeded tickets may be turned in at the EagleBank Arena box office at any time during box office hours listed previously.

Tickets that are turned in or not picked up by 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, May 11, 2016 will be redistributed as follows:

EagleBank Arena, Box Office, West Entrance, Will Call Window, First come, first served Wednesday, May 11, 6:00 to 7:00 p.m. With George Mason ID

And again, if tickets are still available the day of the ceremony you may pick up additional tickets. No ID required.

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Caps and Gowns

Commencement at Mason is a traditional ceremony where caps and gowns are worn by graduates and faculty. Master’s candidates must also wear a master’s hood. Please state your field of study when purchasing your hood as different colors denote different fields of study (for example, economics, copper; sciences, golden yellow; arts and humanities, white). Bachelor’s and master’s candidates may purchase caps and gowns at the University Bookstore.

Doctoral candidates and faculty should order regalia through the University Bookstore as soon as possible and no later than March 27th to avoid late delivery fees. Contact number is 993-2666.

School of Law graduates should order caps, gowns, tassels, and announcements through the Arlington Campus Bookstore at 703-993-8170. Commencement announcements may also be ordered at the Commencement Fair, March 1-3, 2016 from 11am – 7pm in Dewberry Hall, Johnson Center, Fairfax Campus. Announcements are not invitations to the Commencement ceremony.

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Photo Opportunities

A photographer will be on hand for cap and gown photos before the Commencement ceremony, starting at  8 a.m. on the North Plaza. Photographers will be present at all convocation events to photograph the ceremonies.

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Guest Parking

All campus parking lots are available for guest parking. Handicapped and special assistance parking is available in Lot A, adjacent to the EagleBank Arena’s South Entrance. DO NOT park at University Mall; cars parked at the shopping center may be towed.

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Diploma Information

Your diploma will be mailed to you as soon as completion of all degree requirements is confirmed. Most diplomas will be mailed to the student’s “diploma address” which is specified during the online graduation application process. Diplomas are mailed within five to seven weeks following degree conferral.

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Mason’s Commencement on Cable

Click this link to view the GMU-TV Commencement air schedule.

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Commencement Videos

Commencement and convocation videos will be available online from GMU-TV.

Commencement Photos

Make sure to look for all the great photos from the graduation ceremony captured by GradImages.

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Commencement Information

School of Law, (703) 993-8043
GMU Bookstore, (703) 993-2666, Caps and Gowns, Announcements, Commencent Fair
Office of the Registrar, (703) 993-2441: Change of Address and Degree Application Status, Master’s and Doctoral
Events Management, (703) 993-2853 or 703-993-8844: Ceremonies and Guest Arrangements

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Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Commencement Tickets for Masters and Bachelors

Who needs a ticket?
“All guests, except infants sitting on a lap. Graduating seniors do not need a ticket.”

How many tickets can I get?

Do I need to reserve tickets ahead of time?

What is the price of tickets?
Tickets are free

Can I pick the section I want the tickets to be in?
All tickets are General Admission

Where do I get tickets?
1. The Commencement Fair taking place Spring 2016 (March 1, 2, & 3, 2016)
2. The EagleBank Arena Box Office (April 19-May 11, 2016)

Where is the EagleBank Arena box office?
West Side of the EagleBank Arena

What date are tickets available?
Tickets are available at the Commencement Fair starting March 1st.

Tickets are available at the EagleBank Arena  Box Office starting April 19th.

What times can I pick up the tickets at the EagleBank Arena?
Monday – Thursday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Friday & Saturday 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

What is the Commencement Fair?
An event where you can buy your cap and gown, announcements, rings, and other items; have photos taken in regalia;. and get Commencement tickets

When is the Commencement Fair?
March 1-3, from 11am – 7pm

How do I get tickets?
Bring your Mason ID or valid Driver’s license to the EagleBank Arena Box Office or the Commencement Fair

What if my guests need special assistance or are handicapped?
Special assistance/handicapped seating is available. Please ask any EagleBank Arena usher at the Portal entrances when you arrive.

Where are the special assistance or handicapped seating?
In an easy access section of the EagleBank Arena near the Portal entrances

Can someone sit with my special needs guest?
One other guest may sit with handicapped persons or those needing special assistance

What if I need more than 6 tickets?
Extra tickets will be available only if students turn in unneeded tickets to the EagleBank Arena box office

When can we get extra tickets?
May 11th from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., and the morning of the ceremony from 9 a.m. until the start of the Commencement ceremony

Where can we get the extra tickets that have been returned?
EagleBank Arena Box Office, West Entrance

How do Doctoral students obtain tickets?
Information about ordering tickets will be sent to them in the mail. Tickets will be mailed to Doctoral students.

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