Information for Graduating Students

Commencement Weekend is an exciting time for everyone to celebrate YOUR achievements. We encourage you to attend and participate in weekend traditions. We look forward to celebrating with you!

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Main Ceremony Instructions 
Security
Graduates will pass through a security checkpoint before entering the stadium. Review the list of items that are prohibited at the ceremony venue.  

Undergraduates 

All undergraduate degree candidates participating in the main ceremony must wear the designated regalia, including cap, gown, hood, and tassel (positioned on right side of cap).

  • Walk Across Campus - Degree candidates gather on Saturday in the Wren Courtyard at 8:20 a.m. in full regalia for a final walk together to the Commencement Ceremony site at Zable Stadium.  For those who want to watch the walk we ask that you plan accordingly as guests should be seated in the stadium no later than 8:50 a.m. Walk Across Campus (pdf). Undergraduates who do not wish to participate in the walk, should plan to be at Sadler Terrace no later than 8:30 a.m.
Masters and Law Candidates

All Masters and Law degree candidates participating in the main ceremony must wear the designated regalia.

  • Walk Across Campus - If you wish to participate in the Walk Across Campus meet at the Wren Courtyard no later than 8:20 a.m.
Doctoral (PHD, EDD) Candidates

Doctoral candidates must wear the appropriate regalia to participate in the main ceremony.   Please wear a white shirt/blouse with black slacks/skirt under the robe.

  • Arrival Time - Arrive no later than 8:30 a.m. (we will provide directions prior to Commencement). It is crucial that you are not late so we can line you up in alphabetical order according to degree.
  • Check-in - It is imperative that you check-in with the staff overseeing doctoral candidate line-up. Since your name is part of the script and will be read by the Dean of your school we must confirm that you have arrived well in advance of the start of the Academic Procession.
  • Academic Procession- Faculty Marshals will form the academic procession with the doctoral candidates and will lead the procession at the appointed time. 
  • Walking across the stage - After the student speaker has completed his/her remarks (approximately 1 hour into the ceremony), it will be time for the doctoral candidates to be recognized by name and walk across the stage in the following order: (PhD - Arts & Sciences), (PhD - Marine Science), (PhD or EdD- Education).
  • Getting ready to walk on stage - Remain in alphabetical order at the foot of the stairs on the (audience's) right side of the stage - the first candidate will proceed to the top of the stairs.
  • As your Dean calls the first candidate's name, proceed to the center of the stage to receive a substitute diploma from the President. The next candidate moves to the top of the stairs while the previous candidate is walking center stage and then should begin walking toward the center immediately after the previous candidate has received the substitute diploma.
  • After receiving the substitute diploma, each candidate should continue across the stage, exit by the stairs on the (audience's) left side, and return to his/her seat. 
  • This process will be repeated for each group of doctoral recipients.
Eligibility

The following degree candidates are eligible to participate in the May 2018 Commencement ceremony:

Undergraduate Degrees

January 2018*, May 2018, August 2018

Graduate Degrees

Arts & Sciences: August 2017, January 2018*, May 2018

Business: January 2018*, May 2018, August 2018

Education: August 2017, January 2018*, May 2018, August 2018 (MAED in Curriculum Instruction only)

Law: January 2018*, May 2018, August 2018

Marine Science:  Please check with the VIMS graduate registrar.

*January 2018 Graduates

We will send communication via your W&M email account only. If you use another email address, be sure to forward your W&M email to your new address. If you are returning for the May ceremony, notify your department in advance so they can include you in their ceremony. If you request guest tickets to the main ceremony, you can arrange to either have them mailed to you or pick them up on-campus the week before Commencement.

Registration for Commencement and Guest Tickets for the Main Ceremony 

Graduating students who plan to dress in regalia and participate in the main ceremony are required to register for the ceremony and request guest tickets online. 

Registration is open as follows:
Undergraduates - February 1, 2018 - February 16, 2018 Undergraduate Ceremony Registration
Graduate Students - March 1, 2018 - March 23, 2018

Because the ceremony is scheduled to be held in Zable Stadium (larger seating capacity) the number of guest tickets is 6.  Please note: in the case of inclement weather and the ceremony must move indoors to Kaplan Arena only 4 guest tickets may be used due to the smaller seating capacity.

Only graduating students who participate in the Commencement Ceremony may request guest tickets. 

 Additional important info:

  • Registrar's Office: you must file a Notice of Candidacy with the University Registrar in order to graduate.  Only those who have completed this form will receive information about the Commencement Ceremony.  You must also complete the Commencement Ceremony Registration in order to attend the main ceremony. Filing your Notice of Candidacy with the Registrar does not register you for the ceremony. 
  • During the registration process undergraduate students will be asked to designate the department where they wish to receive their diploma. 
  • Due to the size of our classes, we do not provide tickets to graduating students who do not participate in the main ceremony.
  • We cannot guarantee that students who do not follow the registration procedure and/or meet the appropriate deadlines will be eligible to receive guest tickets.
  • Tickets are free and may not be purchased or sold. Selling tickets is considered a violation of the Student Code of Conduct and may result in conduct charges leading to the inability to participate in Commencement and/or receive a diploma.
  • Live streaming of the ceremony is available for those who are unable to obtain tickets.
How do I get my tickets?
You must use the registration form to request your guest tickets.

When to pick up your tickets:

  • Saturday, April 21 (9 a.m. to 1p.m.)
  • Tuesday-Thursday, April 24-26 (9 a.m. to 4 p.m.)
  • Friday, April 27th - Absolutely no tickets will be distributed on the Last Day of Classes
  • Saturday, April 28 (9 a.m. to 1 p.m.)

Where to pick up your tickets:

  • Campus Center, 104 Jamestown Road – Second Floor Room 219. 
  • You will need to present a photo ID to pick-up your tickets. 
  • Please do not ask friends to pick up your tickets – we only release them to you.
  • There is a parking lot at the back of the Campus Center. 

 Other:

  • We do not automatically mail tickets to families.
  • What if I am no longer in the area?  We will mail tickets to those who are no longer in the area but you must make a request using this form: Mail My Tickets.  We do not mail tickets to addresses in the local area of Williamsburg - James City County.
Double & Interdisciplinary Majors
Undergraduate degree candidates in Interdisciplinary Programs

Students majoring in an interdisciplinary program may choose any department’s ceremony to attend on Sunday to receive their diploma. Typically, it will be the program in which you have taken the most classes or have connected with the most. Students must indicate their departmental ceremony preference when they register for the main ceremony. This information will be passed on to the Registrar's Office for diploma distribution and they will ensure your diploma is delivered to the appropriate department for you to receive it. You should also notify the department of your intention to attend so they can include you in the program.

Undergraduate degree candidates with Double Majors

Undergraduates who have two majors may choose only one departmental ceremony to attend on Sunday. Double-majors must indicate their ceremony preference when they register for the Commencement ceremony.  This information will be passed on to the Registrar's Office for diploma distribution - they will ensure your diploma is delivered to the appropriate ceremony for you to receive it. 

Global Studies and International Relations
Graduating students in GS/IR are recognized by name at a ceremony scheduled on Saturday after the main ceremony. However, no diplomas are presented. Instead, GS/IR majors will pick up their diplomas at Tyler Hall on Sunday morning.
Regalia

REGALIA PRICE LIST

GRAD FAIR FOR LAW DEGREES:

March 14 (10 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.) at the Law School 

GENERAL GRAD FAIR INFORMATION
March 20, 2018 (11 a.m. to 6 p.m.) at the W&M Bookstore
March 21, 2018 (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.)
at the W&M Bookstore

The bookstore designates specific days when students may buy regalia and other graduation merchandise all at one time.  Representatives from Jostens, Oak Hall, Framing Success, Senior Class Gift, Grad Images Photography, Churchill Frames/Carolina Sewn Leather Products, Career Services and Alumni Association will be on hand! Available for purchase at the bookstore fair are cap and gowns, class rings, announcements, diploma frames and other graduation merchandise.  Speciality Bundle Packages will be available at this event.  Raffle prizes including merchandise, deluxe personalized announcement sets, bookstore gift cards.  Event will include free refreshments.  

Regalia Options:

Undergraduates and Masters Degree Candidates - Regalia is available for purchase only there is no rental option.  The W&M Bookstore will be your contact for all regalia.  You can purchase regalia by the set (cap, gown, hood and tassel).  Items will be sold separately as well. Even after the Grad Fair undergraduate and masters regalia will be available for general purchase in the store (second floor) starting Monday, March 26th

JD, EDD, PHD and LLM Degree Candidates - Regalia is available for purchase or there is a rental option. The W&M Bookstore will be your contact for the purchase of regalia beginning in mid-March. Doctoral candidates who want to rent regalia can now order online Doctoral Regalia RentalsDeadline for ordering custom purchased regalia is March 25, 2018.
Deadline for ordering custom rental regalia is April 3, 2018.

When to Wear Full Regalia (caps, gowns, hoods)

 Walk Across Campus, Main Commencement Ceremony, Departmental Diploma Ceremony

  • Graduates participating in the main ceremony and departmental ceremonies must wear the College-approved regalia. Regalia consist of a robe, a cap, a tassel, and a hood with colors indicating the graduate's degree. 
  • The tassel is worn on the right side of the mortar board until the degree is awarded, at which time it is moved to the left.  Mortar boards may not have inappropriate messages attached.
  • Type of dress for underneath the robe is up to the graduating student however, it should be tasteful and appropriate. We suggest business or business casual attire.

Wear Caps/Gowns Only (no hoods)

Candlelight Ceremony (tassel on the right side of the mortar board)

No Regalia Worn

Baccalaureate Service, Saturday Departmental Receptions (unless otherwise noted by your department), Alumni Induction Ceremony

Hood Colors

Arts (White), Business (Drab-Tan), Science (Gold), Education Masters (Light Blue), Public Policy (Peacock Blue) (color is different than Education hood)

 

Diplomas

The University Registrar’s Office is responsible for preparing diplomas and ensuring they are delivered to the correct department to be distributed to graduates. Diplomas indicate the degree a student is receiving (e.g. Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science), but not specific majors and minors. Students must inform the Registrar’s Office by the last day of classes if they plan to receive their diploma from a department that is not their primary major. The University Registrar’s Office will contact students who do not attend their departmental ceremony to arrange for delivery of their diploma. 

Helpful things to know about diplomas
  • Graduating students must fulfill all degree requirements in order to receive a diploma.
  • Diplomas are issued at departmental ceremonies, not at the main college ceremony.
  • Graduate A&S diplomas are mailed separately later in the summer.
  • Diplomas are written in Latin.
Honors
Honor Cords

William & Mary does not issue honor cords. Honors are determined by a graduating student’s final GPA. Due to the timing of final grades in May, grades cannot be certified until just before Commencement. As a result, it is not possible to ensure the distribution of cords to all eligible students in time for the main ceremony.

Departmental Honors

Departmental Honors are granted by individual departments and programs to recognize achievement in independent study and research projects. These student projects may receive their degree with "Honors," "High Honors," "Highest Honors," or "Honor in Research," depending on the department and the quality of the work.

Latin Honors

Latin Honors are awarded to undergraduates on their overall grade point average as follows:

3.50 - 3.64 cum laude
3.65 - 3.79 magna cum laude
3.80 or higher summa cum laude

Latin Honors are indicated on the diploma but not in the Commencement program because grades are not certified until after the program has gone to print.

Class Rings

Class rings may be purchased online at the Jostens website. If you have any questions about class rings, please contact the Bookstore at 757-221-1669 or Jostens at 800-854-7464. The Alumni Association also sells William & Mary rings.

Graduation Announcements
  • Generic William & Mary graduation announcements may be purchased at the Bookstore, usually beginning March 20, 2018 at the Grad Fair.
  • Personalized William & Mary graduation announcements imprinted with an individual's name and degree may be purchased online at the Jostens website. Basic packages start at $95.98.

If you have any questions about announcements, please contact the Bookstore at 757-221-1669 or Jostens at 800-854-7464.

Student Speaker Competition

Do you have something to say? Each year a graduating student is selected to deliver an address at the college-wide Commencement ceremony. Anyone undergraduate and graduate student participating in the May ceremony is eligible to apply for this honor. The only stipulation is that the topic must be a theme to which any graduate could relate. The competition is generally announced in December, with application materials due in January.

 How to Apply
  • Complete the online application. Deadlines for submission will be posted in the fall.
  • Late applications will not be accepted.
  • Please email studentaffairs@wm.edu or call 757-221-1236 if you have any questions.

The online application utilizes "ReCaptcha" as a security measure. We STRONGLY recommend you save your work before submitting the application through ReCaptcha. If you incorrectly type your ReCaptcha phrase, you might lose the contents of your application and will need to start your application over.

Moving out 

Graduating seniors who live in on-campus housing must turn in their residence hall keys by 10:00 a.m. on the Monday after Commencement. If you have additional questions about move-out, speak to your RA or contact the Office of Residence Life at 757-221-4314.

Questions

Graduating students will automatically receive email announcements/instructions beginning in the fall and continuing to the days before Commencement. All emails are sent to the student's W&M account.

Graduation/Academic Requirements/Diplomas
Office of the University Registrar

757-221-2800
[[wendy.urbano, Wendy Urbano]]

Commencement Schedule and General Information
Office of Student Affairs

757-221-1236
[[commencement, Commencement Planning Team]]

Regalia and General Graduation Merchandise

W&M Bookstore
 757-221-1669

Main Ceremony Instructions
Undergraduates

All undergraduate degree candidates participating in the main ceremony must wear the designated regalia, including cap, gown, hood, and tassel (positioned on right side of cap). The W&M Bookstore will have regalia available for purchase beginning in mid-March.

  • Walk Across Campus - Meet at the Wren Courtyard no later than 8:20 a.m. if you wish to participate in the Walk.
  • Line-up - Staff will guide you to the proper location to begin forming the Academic Procession.
  • Seating - Keep in mind that will be seated next to the individuals on either side of you in line. In other words, line up with the people with whom you wish to sit. It’s possible you may not be able to sit next to your best friend IF the row fills and you are required to start a new row.
  • Guest Admittance - Your family/guests must use the entrances designated for guests.
  • Conferral of Degrees - Your name is not called at this ceremony nor do you receive a diploma at the main ceremony. You will be asked to stand in groups according to your degree and the College President will confer the degree. 
Masters and Law Degree Candidates

All undergraduate degree candidates participating in the main ceremony must wear the designated regalia, including cap, gown, hood, and tassel (positioned on right side of cap). The W&M Bookstore will have regalia available for purchase beginning in mid-March.

  • Walk Across Campus - If you wish to participate in the Walk Across Campus meet at the Wren Courtyard no later than 8:20 a.m. otherwise arrive at Zable Stadium no later than 8:30 a.m.
  • Security - Graduates will pass through a security checkpoint before entering Zable Stadium. Review the list of items that are prohibited in Kaplan Arena.        

  • Line-up - Staff members will help to organize candidates into the proper order for the academic procession.
  • Conferral of Degrees - Your name is not called at this ceremony nor do you receive a diploma at this ceremony. You will be asked to stand in groups according to your degree and the university's President will confer the degree. 
Doctoral Degree Candidates (PHD, EDD)

Doctoral candidates must wear the appropriate regalia to participate in the main ceremony. Wear a white shirt/blouse with black slacks/skirt under the robe. The W&M Bookstore will have regalia available for purchase/rent beginning in mid-March.

  • Arrival time - Arrive at Zable Stadium no later than 8:30 a.m. It is crucial that you are not late so we can line you up in alphabetical order according to degree.
  • Check-in - It is imperative that you check-in with the staff overseeing doctoral candidate line-up. Since your name will be read by the Dean of your school we must confirm that you have arrived well in advance of the start of the Academic Procession.
  • Academic Procession- Faculty Marshals will form the academic procession with the doctoral candidates and will lead the procession at the appointed time. 
  • Walking across the stage - After the student speaker has completed his/her remarks (approximately 1 hour into the ceremony), it will be time for the doctoral candidates to be recognized by name and walk across the stage in the following order: (PhD - Arts & Sciences), (PhD - Marine Science), (PhD or EdD- Education).
  • Getting ready to walk on stage - Remain in alphabetical order at the foot of the stairs on the (audience's) right side of the stage - the first candidate will proceed to the top of the stairs.
  • As your Dean calls the first candidate's name, proceed to the center of the stage to receive a substitute diploma from the President. The next candidate moves to the top of the stairs while the previous candidate is walking center stage and then should begin walking toward the center immediately after the previous candidate has received the substitute diploma.
  • After receiving the substitute diploma, each candidate should continue across the stage, exit by the stairs on the (audience's) left side, and return to his/her seat. 
  • This process will be repeated for each group of doctoral recipients.