Welcome! These pages are a comprehensive resource for graduates, guests, and faculty who will be attending the two principal graduation events for GSAS degree candidates: GSAS Convocation and University Commencement. For questions not addressed here, visit the FAQs or email

Ceremony Dates

Click here to access the live webcast during the ceremonies.

Six-Step Guide for Graduates

1. Verify Your Eligibility

Ph.D. students: You are eligible to participate in the May 2016 ceremonies if

  • your degree was already conferred in October 2015 or February 2016
  • you expect your degree to be conferred in May 2016 or October 2016

M.A. students: You are eligible to participate in the May 2016 ceremonies if

  • your degree was already conferred in October 2015 or February 2016
  • you expect your degree to be conferred in May 2016 AND you have already filed an application for the M.A. with the Registrar
  • you expect your degree to be conferred in October 2016 AND you have already submitted a program-approved Participation Petition form to the GSAS Office of Student Affairs by April 15, 2016. (Note: This petition form does NOT substitute for the mandatory application for the M.A. degree, which you must still file with the Registrar by their deadline for October degree conferral.)

Note: Participating in Convocation and Commencement does NOT constitute conferral of a Columbia degree. (See degree requirements.)

2. Register for GSAS Convocation

GSAS uses this registration information to send you important details regarding GSAS Convocation, to grant you access to the University Commencement ticketing system (see Step 4), and to prepare materials for the event such as your required name card (see Step 5). Students were asked to register online by March 9. If you missed the March 9 deadline, register online immediately to minimize delays in accommodating you for graduation events.

Note: M.A. students who expect their degree to be conferred in October 2016 do not need to register for GSAS Convocation; for these students, GSAS will use the Participation Petition form (see Step 1) to collect the necessary information.

3. Order Regalia

Academic regalia is required to participate in the Convocation and Commencement ceremonies. Regalia may be obtained through the Columbia University Bookstore in Lerner Hall, 2922 Broadway, New York, NY 10027. For more information, click here or call the Bookstore’s Regalia Hotline at (212) 854-6145.

Ph.D. students: Doctoral regalia consists of a gown, hood, and velvet tam (cap). You should order your regalia by March 30 and pick up your order starting May 7 at the Bookstore.  There is a late fee for orders received after March 30. If you prefer to have your regalia shipped to you, you must pay a shipping fee and place your order by April 29.

M.A. students: Master’s regalia consists of a cap, gown, and tassel. You may purchase regalia in the Bookstore up until the day of the Convocation ceremony. If you prefer to have your regalia shipped to you, you should place your order by March 31 to avoid a late fee, and you must also pay a shipping fee.

Military Honor Cords: Active-duty members or veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces are invited to wear a red, white, and blue honor cord in recognition of their service to our country. These cords will be provided by the University to any eligible graduate who requests one. To request a cord, please contact by May 1.

4. Register for University Commencement

All students who wish to participate in University Commencement must register online at this link by Thursday, May 12. Although tickets are not required for graduates wearing academic regalia, tickets are required for guests. GSAS students may reserve up to three guest tickets if they register by the deadline; you may either print your tickets or send them electronically to your guests. View a step-by-step guide for the Commencement ticketing system.

Note: You can only access the ticketing system once; consequently, you may wish to ensure that your guests' plans are finalized before reserving tickets. Please be considerate to your fellow graduates and reserve only the number of guest tickets that you intend to use.

If you have difficulty registering through the online system, email Please note that it may take some time to verify your eligibility. Completing Step 2 (see above) well in advance will minimize the possibility of delays in accessing the Commencement ticketing system.

5. Pick Up Your Name Card

Name cards are required for GSAS Convocation; the reader will use your name card to announce your name as you cross the stage. If you wish, you may spell your name phonetically on the card to guide the reader’s pronunciation. Professional photographers will also use these name cards to correctly identify the student in each photograph.

You may pick up your name card in person in 107 Low Library from May 11-15, 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. If you are unable to pick it up in advance, or have forgotten or lost your name card, you may pick up a copy at the designated table in Lerner Hall on the day of Convocation.

6. Arrive at the Designated Location and Time on the Day of the Ceremony

GSAS Convocation: Remember to bring your regalia and name card. If you do not have your name card, arrive early to pick up a copy at the designated table in Lerner Hall. No tickets are required for graduates or guests to attend Convocation. See the detailed schedule for M.A. Convocation and Ph.D. Convocation.

University Commencement: Remember to bring your regalia and Columbia ID card. Remind your guests to bring their tickets. See the detailed schedule for University Commencement.

Optional Steps

Apply to be a Student Speaker

Any student who is eligible to participate in GSAS Convocation may apply for selection as the student speaker at the ceremony. To be considered, you must submit a draft of your proposed speech to by April 15. Please indicate whether you are an M.A. or a Ph.D. candidate. The text should be no more than 1,250 words, and should reflect on your experience as a student and your perspective on the future.

Invite Faculty Members to GSAS Convocation

Students are encouraged to send a personal note to their faculty mentors inviting them to GSAS Convocation. See this reference sheet for important information to include in your note.

Additional Information


Following the graduation ceremonies, diplomas for May graduates will be mailed to the address on file in the "Diploma Address" section of the "Addresses: View and Update" page in SSOL. It will take several weeks to complete the mailing of all diplomas; consequently, please provide an address that will be valid for the duration of the summer. If no address is on file, your diploma will not be mailed out.

You may update your "Diploma Address" in SSOL until Monday, May 16, 2016 at 5:00 p.m.; after that date, you may email with your updated address.


A professional photo of each degree recipient will be available for purchase. Official event photographers Island Photography will contact graduates via email in the days following Convocation using information on the student's name card. If you wish to receive your proofs faster, you may pre-register with Island Photography.