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!
Download W&M Mobile and tap W&M Grad (available April 2020) to build a custom schedule, see event updates, learn about the #wmGrad slideshow, and find your instructions, parking, shuttle and other essential information.
Main Ceremony Instructions
Graduates will pass through a security checkpoint before entering the stadium. Review the list of items that are prohibited at the ceremony venue.
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).
Masters and Law Candidates
All Masters and Law degree candidates participating in the main ceremony must wear the designated regalia.
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.
The following degree candidates are eligible to participate in the May 2019 Commencement ceremony:
January 2020, May 2020, August 2020
Graduate Degrees - 2020 Eligibility:
January 2020 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.
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. The registration takes place during mid-February to mid-March.
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:
How do I get my tickets?
You must use the Commencement Registration form. Information regarding ticket distribution will be forthcoming. We do not automatically mail tickets.
If you forgot your tickets at home or have lost them prior to the ceremony - please go to Gate 5 at the stadium for assistance.
Global Studies and International Relations, Double & Interdisciplinary Majors
Global Studies and International Relations
Graduating students in GS/IR are recognized by name at a ceremony scheduled on Saturday after the main ceremony. No diplomas are presented. GS/IR majors will pick up their diplomas at Tyler Hall on Sunday morning. WHY? GS/IR is a particularly large interdisciplinary program. It was determined years ago that the departmental ceremony could not accommodate the number of students who were both Government majors and GS/IR majors. As a result, the GS/IR department developed its own unique ceremony on Saturday, complete with full academic regalia. Diplomas are not ready for presentation on Saturday due to the timing between the end of final exams and graduation. The diplomas are picked up on Sunday morning.
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.
Undergraduate degree candidates in Interdisciplinary Programs
Students majoring in an interdisciplinary program (other than GS/IR) 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.
The W&M Bookstore is your contact for all regalia and graduation merchandise. The bookstore designates specific days when students may buy regalia and other graduation merchandise all at one time.
Grad Fair EventsLaw School Fair Event: March 18 (10-4) at the Law School Building.
Bookstore Events: March 24th (11-6) and March 25th (10-4) at the W&M Bookstore (2nd floor)
Students can purchase cap and gowns, class rings, announcements, diploma frames and other graduation merchandise. There will be a raffle and prizes include Merchandise and Bookstore Gift Cards. Groups represented at Grad Fair: Jostens, Oak Hall, Framing Success, Senior Class Gift, Grad Images Photography, Churchill Frames, and a W&M Videographer! Event will include free refreshments.
Regalia Options and Pricing: (2020)
Undergraduates and Masters Degree Candidates
Doctoral Regalia - Rental Option
Deadline for ordering Custom and Faculty Rental Regalia is March 29th
When to Wear Regalia
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
Arts (White), Business (Drab-Tan), Science (Gold), Education Masters (Light Blue), Public Policy (Peacock Blue) (color is different than Education hood)
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.
During the Commencement Ceremony registration process undergraduates are asked to designate the department where will receive their diploma. This information is then provided to the Registrar's office. Once the Registrar's office receives the information they email all undergraduates giving them a deadline (usually around the last day to withdraw from classes) to make any changes.
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
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 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 are awarded to undergraduates on their overall grade point average as follows:
3.50 - 3.64 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 may be purchased online at the Jostens website. If you have any questions about class rings, please contact Jostens at 800-854-7464.
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
The online application utilizes Captcha 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.
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.
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.
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Commencement Schedule and General Information
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Regalia and General Graduation Merchandise