Commencement Frequently Asked Questions From Students
- How will I receive information regarding Commencement?
- Where can I purchase my cap and gown?
- How can I order a class ring?
- What does my graduation fee cover?
- What is the Honors Convocation?
- When is Baccalaureate Mass?
- What do I do on the morning of Commencement?
- On which side of the cap does the tassle go?
- How do I wear my hood?
- Where do I get my honor cords?
- What happens if it rains?
- Do my guests need tickets?
- What if I have multiple majors?
- Will there be a rehearsal?
- Will I be recognized individually?
You will receive information regarding Commencement by both email and regular mail. It is important to make sure your address is up to date in Cardinal Station so you receive this information. Comprehensive information will be available on the Commencement website commencement.cua.edu.
If you are not able to stop by the Graduation Fair in February, fear not! There will be an active website posted in the spring that takes you directly to our regalia vendor, Oak Hall, that will have instructions about ordering regalia.
To order a class ring, visit the Class Ring website, where you will find information on how to order online as well as dates that representatives from Balfour will be in the Pryzbyla Center.
The graduation fee is used to underwrite the cost of processing candidates for graduation, commencement exercises and related activities. Participation in the University and/or school exercises is afforded at no additional cost to graduates and their guests. The fee does not cover academic regalia. It is recognized that not all students will use the benefits made available by the fee, but the services supported by the fee are available to all graduating students. The fee applies to all students who graduate from The Catholic University of America and will be applied directly to the student's account during the term they anticipate graduating.
The Honors Convocation recognizes students elected to membership in national honor societies, students that have completed at least one track in the UHP curriculum, and those who have achieved individual honors in their specific disciplines. Students in one or more of those categories and their families and friends are invited to attend the ceremony. Students should wear their gowns, but they should not wear their caps or hoods.
Baccalaureate Mass is open to both undergraduate and graduate students. The student procession for the Baccalaureate Mass will form at 3:30 p.m. in front of McMahon Hall and move promptly down "senior walk" at 3:40 p.m. Candidates for degrees will not genuflect in the aisle as they will be directed to their seats by ushers from the Division of Student Affairs. In case of inclement weather students proceed directly to Memorial Hall, lower level of the basilica, to form the procession. Students are asked to wear their academic gowns, without hoods and caps.
It should be noted that the Baccalaureate Mass is typically close to standing room only, so parents and friends who plan to attend should take their seats as soon as possible after 2:30 p.m. No seating will be allowed in the Basilica for the Mass prior to 2:30 p.m. in order to accommodate those attending the Honors Convocation for Undergraduates.
Please go to the Commencement Instructions website to find instructions on where you should be and when you should be at the designated location for the processional. Your academic school also should have emailed this information to you.
Before graduating, tassels should be on your right. After graduating, tassels should be moved to your left.
During the procession, drape your hood over your left arm. felt facing your wrist, until you get to your seat. To put your hood on, remove your cap and face the small button loop at the front center of the robe aligning it with your neck. The velvet lining should drape around your shoulders. Turn the bottom half of the hood outward so that the satin lining with CUA's colors is showing. For this last part, ask a fellow classmate sitting near you for help if you need another hand!
Honors cords are given out by the individual honor societies. You should receive information from your honor society about purchasing cords for Commencement.
The university has a plan in place in the case of inclement weather. This plan includes all the major Commencement participants. The University will make every attempt to hold the main Commencement ceremony outdoors regardless of the weather. In the case of light rain, the outdoor ceremony will be shortened appropriately. If the weather precludes the outdoor ceremony, an announcement will be made on the CUA Web site no later than 8 a.m. Click here to view the plan in case of inclement weather.
You do not need tickets for your guests. Seating is first come, first served so make sure your guests arrive early for the best seats! All guests should be seated prior to the beginning of the processional at 9:30 a.m. Once the processional starts, access to seating is very limited.
Students who have majors in different schools with degree ceremonies occurring simultaneously should choose the diploma ceremony that they wish to attend.
No, there will not be a rehearsal. It is extremeley important that you read all emails from your academic school regarding Commencement.
Each student will be recognized individually at her/his academic school's diploma ceremony.