The Catholic University of America

Instructions for Commencement

10 a.m. Saturday, May 12, 2018         

University Mall in front of the east entrance to Basilica                 


Students who are currently enrolled and expect to receive degrees in May (i.e., have completed all degree requirements ) are required to attend to Commencement Exercises. If necessary and for a significant reason, a student may request to be excused from the ceremony by the provost of the university. Students not currently enrolled at the university who earned their degrees earlier in the year are not required to be present but are most welcome to participate.

Candidates wear caps and academic gowns and carry their hoods that denote the degree to be received. The tassel should be placed to the right side of the cap until their degree is conferred. The Commencement procession will move promptly at 9:30 a.m. Commencement ushers will assist in organizing the procession. Students who have been excused by the provost or are not required to attend the Commencement Exercises may arrange to obtain their diplomas in the Office of Enrollment Services anytime after Commencement or may request that their diploma be mailed.

Candidates for degrees are asked to assemble no later than 9 a.m. (undergraduate arts and sciences graduates no later than 8:45 a.m.) in the following locations behind signage bearing their degree designation:

  • doctoral candidates gather on the east, front side of McMahon Hall;
  • candidates for master's degrees gather on the east side of McMahon Hall and
  • candidates for baccalaureate degrees gather on the north side of McMahon Hall.

Commencement programs will be placed on the seats for candidates for degrees. Programs will be distributed to guests by the ushers at the exercises.

Candidates from each school are asked to rise when their respective deans are introduced to present the candidates for degrees. After all deans have made their presentations, candidates for baccalaureate and master's degrees will rise and will don their hoods. Candidates for doctoral degrees will be ushered to the steps of the basilica behind the dais while their names are read individually. Candidates stand facing the audience as their degrees are conferred, don their hoods and remain standing for the rest of the ceremony.

In case of inclement weather precludes holding the Commencement Exercises on the mall, an announcement will be made for alternate locations. Graduates and their guests will proceed to the sites of diploma distribution where degrees will be conferred according to a special schedule.

Be advised that on- campus parking, especially for Commencement is limited.