Commencement FAQs

What’s the difference between Commencement and Degree Celebrations?


  • 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 2018 delivers address.
  • Event is televised
  • Tickets are not required for guests.
  • 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)

Order of Ceremony:

  • 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.

Back to Top

Degree Celebrations

Celebration of graduation sponsored by individual schools:

  • Individual school/college 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 selects speakers.
  • Caps and gowns are worn.

* Tickets are required for any ceremony as noted on schedule.

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

Back to Top

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.

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 6-8, 2017 from 10am – 7pm in Johnson Center Atrium, Fairfax Campus. Announcements are not invitations to the Commencement ceremony.

Back to Top

Photo Opportunities

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

Back to Top

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.

Back to Top

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.

Back to Top

Mason’s Commencement on Cable

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

Back to Top

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.

Back to Top

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

Back to Top