- General Questions
- Cap and Gown/Attire
- University Commencement Ceremony
- Commencement Mass
How do I get on the graduation list?
When you fill out ND Roll Call at the beginning of each semester (if you are within the credit hour range) a question will pop up asking if you plan to graduate at the end of the semester. If you state yes, you will then be asked a few questions. This process initiates the graduation list for a given semester. Once we have the completed list, after ND Roll Call is completed on the 6th class day, it then goes to the deans and major departments for a few rounds of reviews, taking degree candidates on and off the list, before it is somewhat official by the end of February. The first week of March, those who are on the graduation list will be sent information regarding May Commencement. See next question.
When will I receive specific information regarding May Commencement?
Information concerning May 2020 Commencement is provided throughout the Commencement website. May 2020 degree candidates and August 2019 and January 2020 graduates received an official email with “to do action items” the first week of March. This included information for cap and gown ordering, name and hometown verification for the diploma and the program, Commencement announcements, any updated information concerning Commencement weekend events. May undergraduate degree candidates also receive directions concerning a required Senior Survey.
Will my parents also receive information?
You can direct your guests to the Commencement website for up-to-date information about the May Commencement celebrations. A Weekend Guide is mailed to all undergraduate home addresses. Information will also be available from the Notre Dame Conference Center (574-631-7640) on this website. They manage the reserving of residence hall rooms on campus for guests. Also, Food Services will provide tickets for various weekend meals.
When should my family and guests arrive?
All graduate and professional diploma ceremonies occur on Saturday and all undergraduate diploma ceremonies occur on Sunday. Please visit the Schedule of Events website for detailed dates and times of events.
Will my final grade point average affect my eligibility for Latin Honors?
All Latin Honors are based off of the final semester cumulative G.P.A. standings. However, the Commencement Program/books are printed before May degree candidate’s final semester grades have been received from the faculty. Hence, the Latin Honor status for the Commencement Program is based on the cumulative grade point average at the end of the last Fall semester. Diplomas are printed in-house; therefore, all diplomas received during the diploma ceremonies on Commencement Weekend will have your correct Latin Honors listed, based on your final cumulative G.P.A. No Latin Honors or degree information will be posted to your academic transcript until final grades are reported and posted for the Spring semester. Those who have Latin Honors changes in the final semester will be sent a new Commencement Program in August.
What events do I need to attend?
All graduates are encouraged to take part in all departmental and college/school ceremonies and events. In addition, most graduates traditionally participate in the Commencement Mass and the University Commencement Ceremony. Please visit the Schedule of Events page.
Where can I purchase announcements?
If you wish to send graduation announcements to friends and family, the University has contracted with Balfour/CB Announcements for this purpose. All the key information concerning your degree will be provided to Balfour; however, you can still personalize your announcements. Balfour/CB Announcement representatives will be available at the Grad Fair in March. Please visit your Action Items page for further details.
When will I receive my diploma?
You will receive your diploma at your college/school/department Commencement Ceremony*. For the Graduate School and the Graduate Division of the Mendoza College of Business, that will be Saturday. All undergraduate ceremonies are Sunday afternoon. Information regarding the diploma ceremonies will be communicated by your department or dean.
*Law School will be emailed their diplomas a few weeks after commencement.
Cap and Gown/Attire
What is the proper dress for the weekend for graduates?
Your cap and gown are required for many events including the Commencement Mass, the University Commencement Ceremony, and your diploma ceremony in your college/school or department. We ask that you dress comfortably. For women, this typically means a dress or a blouse and skirt that is shorter than the gown so it does not hang below the gown. Men generally choose to wear dress pants and shirt (tie optional).
Where do I get my cap and gown?
Oak Hall is our vendor for caps and gowns. Undergraduate and Master's students can purchase their caps and gowns at the Graduation Fair in March, or order through the website, or through the bookstore after that date. Ph.D. and Law students can rent their regalia through the same options. Please visit the cap and gown page for further details.
What color is my tassel?
Tassel colors indicate your affiliation with a college and discipline. See Commencement Traditions for a list of tassel colors.
Before my degree is conferred or I receive my diploma, how should my tassel be worn?
Tassels are worn on the right side and shifted to the left after your degree has been conferred or you have received your diploma. An easy reminder... "left is for later".
University Commencement Ceremony
What time should my guests arrive for the University Commencement Ceremony on Sunday morning?
The Stadium will open at 8:00 a.m. and guests with a University Commencement Ceremony ticket may select their unassigned seats (at the direction of the stadium ushers). Seating is not limited for this ceremony.
Graduates will begin to assemble at an announced time via future instructions (~8:45 a.m.). The academic procession will begin entering the Stadium at 9:30 a.m. Student cap and gown are required for this event, even in the event of rain. If rain is expected during the procession or the ceremony, a rain poncho will be issued to each graduate at the assembly location.
How long does the University Commencement Ceremony last?
The student and faculty academic procession begins at 9:30 a.m. on Sunday, with the ceremony beginning at approximately 10:00 a.m. The ceremony will last until approximately 11:40 a.m.
Can I be seated with my friends at the University Commencement Ceremony?
Graduates and degree candidates are seated by college/school. There is no designated order of march nor seating assignments within each college and school. Marshals and Commencement staff will be available in your designated assembly area to assist you should you have questions.
It is stated that the University Commencement Ceremony will be held in Notre Dame Stadium on Sunday morning “rain or shine”. What does that mean?
It is the intent to conduct the University Ceremony in the stadium even if it is raining. Also, the event could be delayed for up to an hour while a storm passes through the area. Only if there is severe weather (lightning, high winds, heavy and persistent rain, etc.) will the event be moved indoors to the Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center and the Severe Weather Plan will be implemented.
If the University Commencement Ceremony is moved indoors because of severe weather, who will be allowed to attend, given the more limited seating capacity in the Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center?
Each graduate who has stated that he/she will attend the University Commencement Ceremony will be allotted “severe weather” tickets, due to limited seating. Undergraduate students receive three tickets and Graduate students receive two. Students and faculty will be admitted to the Purcell Pavilion without a ticket. Only guests with a severe weather ticket will be seated in the Purcell Pavilion. The event will be broadcast live to the Joyce Center North Dome, auditoriums in the DeBartolo classroom building, and to other large auditoriums in nearby buildings, as announced. This will allow guests without a severe weather ticket to the Pavilion to view the event live.
When will the decision be made to move the event from the stadium in the event of severe weather?
In the case of severe weather, the decision to declare and implement the Severe Weather Plan and to move the event indoors will be made and announced by 7:30 a.m. on Sunday. If the ceremony is moved to the Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center or delayed, a message will be sent to graduates and faculty members using cell phones registered with the ND Emergency Alert system. A notice will also be posted on the Commencement website and announced on the local television stations. It is expected that graduates will notify their guests.
How will the decision to move the University Commencement Ceremony indoors, due to severe weather, affect the undergraduate diploma ceremonies that are held that afternoon?
The college/school and department undergraduate diploma ceremonies are conducted in covered areas, so they will go forward unless there is a severe weather emergency. If the University Commencement Ceremony is delayed by as much as an hour, the undergraduate diploma ceremonies should not be delayed with their afternoon start time. If severe weather has affected the Sunday morning ceremony, an announcement will be made at the University Commencement Ceremony concerning any changes to the times or locations of the college/school and department undergraduate diploma ceremonies.
If it is raining for the University Commencement Ceremony in the Stadium, can guests, graduates, or faculty use umbrellas?
Umbrellas are permitted, although discouraged. Faculty and graduates will be issued rain ponchos at their assembly location if rain is expected during the Procession or the Ceremony. It is also acceptable for each participant to wear their personal rain gear. Guests should come prepared should rain be in the forecast and to use personal rain gear. For those guests who wish to view a live broadcast of the ceremony indoors, seating will be available in DeBartolo classroom building, and also in other classroom buildings as announced.
When should I arrive for the Commencement Mass on Saturday?
You are asked to arrive no later than 4:20 (enter through your designated gates) to allow time for the assembly for the Academic Procession. Your cap and gown are required at the Commencement Mass. The Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center will be open for guest seating at 3:30 p.m. When the Purcell Pavilion seating is full, guests will be directed to the overflow Mass site in the North Dome. Communion will also take place in the North Dome.
When will the Commencement Mass dismiss?
The Commencement Mass begins at 5:00 on Saturday and will last approximately 90 minutes.
Can I be seated with my friends?
Degree candidates are seated by college. When you arrive, Commencement Marshals and Commencement staff will be available to assist with the procession and can answer your seating questions.
Can my guests park on campus?
Parking is available in any of the perimeter campus lots. Central campus lots are available for loading and unloading as space permits.
Will a state issued disability hang tag be honored to allow parking on campus and in designated disabled parking areas?
Yes. State issued permits and license plates authorizing use of accessible spaces for people with disabilities are honored on campus. Please make sure it is displayed properly. Spaces are available on a first come, first served basis.
What if I have guests who are unable to walk across campus?
A number of golf carts and a van will operate from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday, and Saturday and from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday to provide assistance for those with mobility limitations. Shuttles will also be available for guests during the weekend. Contact NDSP (574-XXX-XXXX) for golf cart service during Commencement Weekend. Do not call the number until you need it, as it is a first-come, first-serve basis.
Some students have rented a wheel chair for a family member who has difficulty walking long distances on campus or for someone who might have difficulty walking after a long day. They reported using the wheel chair to travel about the campus such as the Joyce Center and the Grotto, securing the chair once they arrived at their destination. Rentals wheel chairs are available from local vendors.
Can my family and/or guests stay on campus that weekend?
Guest accommodations in some residence halls are available. Information concerning these accommodations will be available on this website in mid March by the Notre Dame Conference Center.
If guests stay on campus, do they need to bring their own linen?
Linens are provided as part of your housing services. This includes bedding and basic towel service; however, you may want to bring extra towels with you.
Where can my family and/or guests purchase meal tickets?
Meal tickets for Commencement weekend may be purchased separately from the weekend housing. Information for housing and meals will be available through the Notre Dame Food Services in March. Information regarding on-campus dining options can be found on the Meals and Housing page.
Do I need to purchase meal tickets?
The last meal provided to graduating students with valid on-campus meal plan is lunch on Thursday prior to Commencement. You must purchase tickets for any meals after Thursday at lunch. Information regarding on-campus dining options can be found on the Meals and Housing page.
Are guest tickets required for the University Commencement Ceremony on Sunday morning?
Guest tickets are required for all guests. Guest seating in the Notre Dame Stadium will be unlimited for the guests of graduates and each graduate will be provided the number of University Commencement tickets he/she requires. A guest ticket is required for entry into the Stadium. Student and faculty, who are part of the academic procession, may or may not require a ticket based on honored guests. Should the “Severe Weather Plan” be declared, each graduate will be provided Severe Weather guest tickets for seating in the Joyce Center Purcell Pavilion, and will be responsible for distributing those. Undergraduates receive up to three and Graduate students receive up to two severe weather tickets.
What happens if the University implements the Severe Weather Plan and I have more guests who would like to attend the University Commencement Ceremony?
The Sunday morning University Commencement Ceremony will be broadcast live to the Joyce Center North Dome, and classroom auditoriums in DeBartolo Hall. If the Severe Weather Plan is implemented, additional indoor viewing locations will be added and announced.
Can I arrange for special needs seating for guests at the University Commencement Ceremony?
When you are provided information concerning Commencement guest tickets using an on-line application, you will be able to indicate the needed seating for your special needs and disabled guests, with the ability to give details as to what may be needed to make your guest more comfortable. This information will be of assistance to Commencement planners so that sufficient spaces are provided. As a graduate, if you have special needs concerning the Academic Procession or any Commencement ceremony, please bring this need to the attention of staff in the Office of the Registrar.
Do my guests need tickets for the Saturday Mass?
No. All guests are welcome to the Saturday evening Commencement Mass in the Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center regardless of their faith preference. However, it is expected that when seating in the Pavilion is filled, guests will be directed to the overflow location, the Joyce Center North Dome, where they can view the Mass live on screens and fully participate, including Communion. The Pavilion will seat approximately 10,500 guests, students, and faculty and the North Dome will seat approximately 7,000 guests.