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Information for Graduating Students

A single column table for formatting purposes.
Main Ceremony Instructions 
Security

Graduates will pass through a security checkpoint before the academic procession begins. 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 before the main ceremony in Wren Courtyard in full regalia for a final walk together to the Commencement Ceremony site.  For guests who want to watch the walk we ask that they plan accordingly - guests should be seated 15 minutes before the academic procession begins.
  • Undergraduates who do not wish to participate in the walk should plan to meet at the processional line-up location (you will receive instructions)
  • Processional Line-up -  Follow instructions of faculty marshals and staff
Masters and Law Candidates

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

  • Walk Across Campus - Degree candidates who wish to walk across campus gather before the main ceremony in Wren Courtyard in full regalia for a final walk together to the Commencement Ceremony site.
  • Graduate students who do not wish to participate in the walk will receive instructions.
  • Processional Line-up - Graduate students gather in a different location than undergrads for the processional line-up. You will receive additional instructions in the weeks leading up to Commencement.
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.

  • Walk Across Campus - Degree candidates who wish to walk across campus gather before the main ceremony in Wren Courtyard in full regalia for a final walk together to the Commencement Ceremony site. Doctoral students will need to be toward the front in order to get to their line-up area in time (more info to come).
  • Arrival Time - It is crucial that you are not late so we can line you up in alphabetical order according to degree. We will send additional instructions about where to be and when.
  • Check-in - It is imperative that you check-in with the staff overseeing doctoral candidate line-up. 
  • 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 1.5 hours 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.
2020 Eligibility

The following degree candidates are eligible to participate in the Class of 2020 Commencement ceremony scheduled for May 15, 2021:

Undergraduate Degrees

January 2020, May 2020, August 2020

Graduate Degrees - 2020 Eligibility:
  • Arts & Sciences: August 2019, January 2020, May 2020
  • Business: January 2020, May 2020, August 2020
  • Education: August 2019 (excluding MAED in CI), January 2020, May 2020, August 2020 (All Masters Candidates ONLY).  
  • Law: January 2020, May 2020, August 2020
  • Marine Science:  Please check with the VIMS graduate registrar.
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.

2021 Eligibility

The following degree candidates are eligible to participate in the Class of 2021 Commencement ceremony scheduled for May 22, 2021:

Undergraduate Degrees

January 2021, May 2021, August 2021

Graduate Degrees - 2020 Eligibility:
  • Arts & Sciences: August 2020, January 2021, May 2021
  • Business: January 2021, May 2021, August 2021
  • Education: August 2020 (excluding MAED in CI), January 2021, May 2021, August 2021 (All Masters Candidates ONLY).  
  • Law: January 2021, May 2021, August 2021
  • Marine Science:  Please check with the VIMS graduate registrar.
January 2021 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 in May are required to register for the ceremony and request guest tickets. We will send separate communication with the registration link. 

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

Additional important info:

  • Registrar's Office: you must complete the graduation application in order to graduate. Only those who have completed this process will receive information about the Commencement Ceremony.  You must also complete the Commencement Ceremony Registration in order to attend the main ceremony.  Applying for graduation does not register you for the ceremony.
  • During the registration process undergraduate students will be asked to designate the departmental ceremony they wish to attend after the main ceremony.
  • Due to the size of our classes, we do not provide tickets to graduating students who do not participate in the main ceremony.
  • Tickets are free and may not be purchased or sold. 
  • Live streaming of the ceremony will be available for those who are unable to obtain tickets.
How do I get my tickets?

We will send separate communication to registered students about how you can receive your tickets. 

Double Majors

Undergraduates who have two majors may dress in regalia for only one departmental ceremony.

Regalia

You may purchase your regalia online and it will be shipped to you at no chargeThe W&M Bookstore is your contact for all regalia and graduation merchandise. You may also purchase class rings, announcements, diploma frames and other graduation merchandise (shipping charges may apply). 

Regalia Options and Pricing: (2020*)

*We have not yet received prices for Class of 2021 regalia. Figures below represent 2020 pricing.

Undergraduates and Masters Degree Candidates

  • Regalia is available for purchase only there is no rental option.
  • You can purchase regalia by the set (cap, gown, hood and tassel). 
  • Items will be sold separately as well (inquire with the Bookstore).
  • Cap, Gown, Hood and Tassel $98.98

Doctoral Regalia - Rental Option

Updated Rental Doctorial Regalia Information (PHD, EDD, JD and LLM) (as of 4.30.2020)
  • If you do not plan on attending the October ceremony you may return your rental regalia at any time using the shipping call tag included with your rental.
  • If you plan on attending the October ceremony you may keep your rented regalia to wear to the ceremony.
  • Rented regalia will be due back to the W&M Bookstore up until Wednesday, October 14th, following the October ceremony.  You may also return your rented regalia by mail using the shipping call tag included with your rental.
  • Please note if you do not return your rented regalia by OCTOBER 31st you will forfeit the $300 deposit.

Doctoral Regalia - Custom Purchase Option

  • William & Mary Custom Gown Purchase: $779.00 + shipping
  • Deadline for ordering Custom Purchased Regalia: 8 weeks before scheduled ceremony
  • Measurements are needed for custom regalia and can be done at the Bookstore by appointment.
  • Doctoral purchase regalia will take from 4-6 weeks to ship.
Contact Marissa Risk by email or at 757-221-1669.

Deadline for ordering Custom and Faculty Rental Regalia for the October ceremony is mid-August. Contact the bookstore for additional information.

When to Wear Regalia

Walk Across Campus, Main Commencement Ceremony, Departmental Diploma Ceremony
  • Active duty or retired members of the U.S. armed services may have the option to wear a military uniform appropriate for the occasion at commencement ceremonies.

  • Graduates participating in the main ceremony and departmental ceremonies must wear the university 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, Receptions (unless otherwise noted by your department)

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. Diplomas indicate the degree a student is receiving (e.g. Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science), but not specific majors and minors

Helpful things to know about diplomas
  • Graduating students must fulfill all degree requirements in order to receive a diploma.
  • Graduate A&S diplomas are mailed later in the summer.
  • Arts & Sciences and VIMS diplomas are in Latin (exception MPP).  Education, Business and Law are in English.
Honors
Honor Cords

Honors are determined by a graduating student’s final GPA. William & Mary does not issue honor cords. 

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.

Class Rings

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.

Graduation Announcements
  • Generic William & Mary graduation announcements may be purchased through the Bookstore. 
  • Personalized William & Mary graduation announcements imprinted with an individual's name and degree may be purchased online at the Jostens website.

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

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