Graduate Life

Resources and events to enhance your student experience

Convocation

Convocation

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-studentaffairs [at] columbia.edu.

Ceremony Dates

2018 GSAS Convocation 2018 University Commencement
Sunday, May 13 Wednesday, May 16

PhD Convocation Ceremony: 4:30 p.m.
MA Convocation Ceremony: 7:00 p.m.

10:30 a.m.
More information

Six-Step Guide for Graduates

1. Verify Your Eligibility

PhD students: You are eligible to participate in the May 2018 ceremonies if

  • your degree was already conferred in October 2017 or February 2018
  • you expect your degree to be conferred in May 2018 or October 2018

MA students: You are eligible to participate in the May 2018 ceremonies if

  • your degree was already conferred in October 2017 or February 2018
  • you expect your degree to be conferred in May 2018 and you have already filed an application for the MA with the Registrar
  • you expect your degree to be conferred in October 2018 and you have already submitted a program-approved Participation Petition form to the GSAS Office of Student Affairs by April 13, 2018. (Note: This petition form does not substitute for the mandatory application for the MA degree, which you must still file with the Registrar by its deadline for October degree conferral.)

Note: Participating in Convocation and Commencement does not constitute conferral of a Columbia degree.

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 are asked to register for GSAS Convocation by Friday, April 27.

3. Order Regalia and Visit the Grad Fair

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) or online. For more information, please see here.

Students are highly encouraged to order their regalia at the Grad Fair, which will take place at the Bookstore on Wednesday, April 11 and Thursday, April 12 from 12:00 to 6:00 p.m. Vendors will be on hand to assist with regalia, diploma frames, and other items.

Master's Degree Candidate Souvenir Regalia (For Purchase)

  • Master’s degree candidates purchase souvenir student regalia, which consists of a cap, gown, and tassel, for $64.
  • MA graduates may purchase regalia in the bookstore up until the day of the Convocation ceremony.
  • MA candidates who prefer to have their regalia shipped to them should place their order online by May 2.

Doctoral Candidate Regalia (Rental):

  • Doctoral candidates may rent their regalia, which consists of a gown, hood, and velvet tam (cap), for $179 plus tax. They may also purchase doctoral regalia for $893 plus tax.
  • PhD graduates should order their regalia by April 9 and may pick up their order at the bookstore starting May 3. There is a late fee for orders received after April 9.

Military Honor Cords: Active-duty members or veterans of the US 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 [at] columbia.edu by May 1.

4. Register for University Commencement

All students who wish to participate in University Commencement must register online after the ticketing system becomes available on March 19, 2018. Although tickets are not required for graduates wearing academic regalia, tickets are required for guests. GSAS students may reserve up to two guest tickets if they register by the deadline; you may either print your tickets or send them electronically to your guests. 

Please note that it will take some time for GSAS to verify your eligibility. You will receive an email from the GSAS Office of Student Affairs when you are eligible to register for University Commencement. Completing Step 2 (see above) well in advance will minimize the possibility of delays in accessing the Commencement ticketing system.

Note: You can access the ticketing system only 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-studentaffairs [at] columbia.edu.

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 on weekdays from May 3 to 11, between 9:00 a.m. and 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 MA Convocation and PhD 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 gsas-dean [at] columbia.edu by April 16. Please indicate whether you are an MA or a PhD candidate. Your text should be no more than 1,250 words, and should reflect on both your experiences as a student and your perspectives for 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.

Diplomas and Photographs

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 Tuesday, May 15, 2018 at 5:00 p.m.; after that date, you may email diplomas [at] 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. To receive proofs faster, you may pre-register yourself, family members, and friends with Island Photography. The PIN for GSAS is 573037.