Students

Convocation

 

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 gsas-convocation@columbia.edu.

Ceremony Dates

  • 2015 GSAS Convocation - Sunday, May 17
    • M.A. Convocation Ceremony - 3:30 p.m.
    • Ph.D. Convocation Ceremony - 6:30 p.m.
  • 2015 University Commencement - Wednesday, May 20, 10:15 a.m.

Six-Step Guide for Graduates

1. Verify Your Eligibility

Ph.D. students: You are eligible to participate in the May 2015 ceremonies if

  • your degree was already conferred in October 2014 or February 2015
  • you expect your degree to be conferred in May 2015 or October 2015, AND you have successfully passed your dissertation defense by May 1, 2015.

M.A. students: You are eligible to participate in the May 2015 ceremonies if

  • your degree was already conferred in October 2014 or February 2015
  • you expect your degree to be conferred in May 2015 AND you have already filed an application for the M.A. by the Registrar’s deadline of December 1, 2014
  • you expect your degree to be conferred in October 2015 AND you have already submitted a program-approved Participation Petition form to the GSAS Office of Student Affairs by April 15, 2015. (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 and to prepare materials for the event, including your required name card (see Step 5). Please register online by March 9, 2015.

Note: M.A. students who expect their degree to be conferred in October 2015 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, 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 late March (date TBD) and pick up your order in early May (date TBD) at the Bookstore.  There is an extra fee for orders received after the March deadline. If you prefer to have your regalia shipped to you, you must pay a shipping fee and place your order by late April (date TBD).

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 late March (date TBD) 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 veterans@columbia.edu by May 1.

4. Register for University Commencement

All students who wish to participate in University Commencement must register online by early May (date and link TBD). 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.

Note: You can only access the online ticket-reservation 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 gsas-convocation@columbia.edu. Please note that it may take some time to verify your eligibility.

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 Low Library (room TBD) starting May 1, Monday-Friday from 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. 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 gsas-dean@columbia.edu 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

Columbia faculty will receive an invitation to attend GSAS Convocation. However, students are also encouraged to send a personal note to their faculty mentors inviting them to the ceremony. See this reference sheet for important information to include in your note.

Additional Information

Diplomas

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 18, 2015 at 5:00 p.m.; after that date, you may email diplomas@columbia.edu with your updated address.

Photographs

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 (link TBD).