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Commencement

Every May, Yale honors all the students who have completed degrees that academic year at University Commencement, a festive graduation ceremony held on Old Campus. The Dean of each school presents his or her candidates to the University President, who officially confers the degrees. All M.A., M.S., M.A.S., M.Phil., and Ph.D. degrees are granted at that time. Immediately following the University Commencement, GSAS holds a ceremony in Woolsey Hall to award each graduating individual with his or her diploma. 

University Commencement 2020 and the Graduate School's diploma ceremony will be held on Monday, May 18. The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS) will hold its Commencement Convocation award ceremony for prize winners one day earlier, on Sunday, May 17. 

GSAS students who are earning degrees are welcome to participate in the university-wide commencement exercises, the Graduate School's diploma ceremony, and the GSAS Commencement Convocation. 

Guests are welcome at all Graduate School commencement events, and no tickets are necessary. For safety reasons, children and other guests are not permitted on stage during any commencement exercises.

GSAS Commencement Schedule

Please refer to the Graduate School's schedule for an overview of events specific to GSAS.

Please refer to the Yale Secretary's Office Commencement website, which contains a great deal of useful information.

Checklist for Graduating Students:

  1. Complete Academic Requirements and File Necessary Forms - March deadlines 
    • If you are a Ph.D student, be sure to submit your dissertation by the appropriate deadline in March to be eligible to graduate in May.
    • If you are receiving a terminal Masters, or if you are receiving an en route Master's degree but have not yet advanced to Ph.D. candidacy, you need to submit a Degree Petition form. If you have advanced to candidacy, you will be automatically included in the petition for your en route Master's degree.
  2. Order Academic Attire - by April 1
    • Order your academic attire (cap, gown, and hood). You may either rent attire or purchase official “Yale blue” gowns.  If you miss pre-order deadlines, last-minute late orders are available in person at the gym in May during Commencement weekend (cash only; a late fee will apply). 
  3. Complete the Graduate School Diploma Ceremony Response Form - by April 15
    • All students who will receive their degree in a given academic year (December or May) must complete the Graduate School’s online Graduate School Diploma Ceremony Response Form to indicate whether you plan to attend the diploma ceremony. If you will not attend, please fill out the form to indicate where your diploma should be sent. 

A few days before Commencement, you will receive an email with additional details, including seating assignments and instructions for receiving your diploma at the diploma ceremony.

Photography & Video

  • Professional: Photos of the Graduate School's diploma ceremony are taken by a professional photography company, Commencement Photos, Inc., which takes a photo of each student receiving a diploma on stage at Woolsey Hall. These photos will be available for graduates and their families to purchase directly from the company after the event. 
  • Personal: Family members and guests of graduates may take their own photos, so long as they do not interrupt or disturb the ceremony. Parents and guests have a special seating area and are not allowed in student seating sections, in the aisles, or on stage. Outside professional photographers and videographers are discouraged.
  • Video LiveStream: Last year's live stream is available on the Yale YouTube page, and next year's video will be posted as the event happens.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Who is entitled to march onto Old Campus at the University Commencement?  

  • All GSAS students receiving a Ph.D., M.Phil. or a terminal Masters degree (M.S., M.A., M.A.S.) are welcome to process onto Old Campus. 
  • If you are a Ph.D. candidate who wants to participate in Commencement, you must submit your dissertation by the March deadline. The Graduate School does not permit students to walk “early” if they have not submitted their degree petitions and/or completed dissertations by the deadline. Students who submit dissertations after the spring deadline are awarded degrees the following December and may participate in the following year’s Commencement exercises in May.

Who attends the GSAS diploma ceremony in Woolsey Hall?

  • All GSAS students receiving a degree are encouraged to attend the diploma ceremony, along with their guests.

What happens if I'm unable to attend in person?  

  • If you cannot attend the ceremonies the year you receive your degree, the Graduate School may allow you to participate in the ceremony the following year. Please email the GSAS Commencement team to inquire.
  • If your degree was awarded in December and you are NOT participating in Commencement exercises the following May, the University Diploma office will mail your diploma during the spring term.

Can Yale provide a letter of invitation for guests who need to obtain a visa to attend Commencement?

  • If you are a graduating international student whose family members require a formal invitation to Commencement for the purpose of obtaining a visa, please request an invitation letter using the online request form from the Office of International Students and Scholars (OISS).

After Graduation - Yale Email, IT, Library, and Health Care

As you transition to the next phase of your life, the services that Yale has provided will gradually come to an end. 
Here's the schedule: 

  • Yale Library privileges are extended for three months following graduation in May - see Library information details. Once your student library privileges expire, you may purchase Alumni library privileges for yourself and/or your spouse.
  • yale.edu email & IT services - see the IT at Yale page for graduating students for information on email, CAS login, NetID, VPN access and other IT services. If you are receiving your final Yale degree, your Yale student email address “first.last@yale.edu”  is extended to the first week in June of the year following your graduation in May. Contact Yale ITS Help Desk for more information.
  • Alumni YaleMail - You are welcome sign up for a free lifetime @aya.yale.edu forwarding account, referred to as YaleMail, hosted by Google. To request an account, log in to your profile in the Online Alumni Directory, scroll down and click the YaleMail tab. Your Google activation link will be sent to the email address you provide.
  • Yale Health - If you are graduating in May and are enrolled in Yale Health at the time of University Commencement, your coverage will continue until July 31. If you are completing your degree or leaving the University at another time of year, please contact Yale Health Member Services to determine when your coverage ends. See the Yale Health Student Handbook for more information. 

Join the Yale Alumni Community

Once you have earned a degree from Yale, we hope you will become involved in Yale’s active alumni community. The Yale Alumni Association (YAA) and the Graduate School Alumni Association (GSAA) sponsor many opportunities for alumni to remain connected to the University through learning and service, including a career network, alumni groups throughout the world, social and cultural events, and occasions to volunteer and provide leadership. And in addition:

  • Yale Alumni Magazine - All GSAS alumni are eligible for a free lifetime subscription to this outstanding publication.
  • Online Alumni Directory -  For news and other alumni communications from YAA and GSAS, remember to update your directory listing whenever you move.
  • Yale Career Network - This database is comprised of Yale graduates from all schools who are interested in networking and assisting you with your career. 

Archive: Commencement 2019

Questions? 

If you have question, please feel free to contact the GSAS Commencement team at gscommencement@yale.edu.