Frequently Asked Questions

Here you will find answers to some commonly asked questions about Commencement. If your question is not answered below, please contact the Commencement Office at


Ceremony Information

The Commencement ceremony will be held on Thursday, May 25 at the Louis Armstrong Stadium, Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, Flushing Meadows, Queens, NY, starting at 11 am.

Can't make it in person? There is an option to attend the Virtual Ceremony instead. The Virtual ceremony will be held Wednesday, May 31, 6:00 pm, Eastern, online.

The Commencement ceremony will be approximately 2.5 hours long, but the day will be longer as graduating students are expected to arrive by 9:00 am. Gates will also open for guests at 9:00 am. 

Commencement is a festive and ceremonial occasion celebrating the accomplishments of students. Graduates and their guests are expected to remain for the duration of the entire ceremony. If you need special accommodations, please reach out to

Led by a procession of faculty members and the platform party, graduating students will process in amidst cheers from families and friends to the seats specifically reserved for them. The program will include remarks by leadership and select speakers, the individual procession across the stage, and at the end, the official conferral of degrees and turning of the tassel.

Graduating student names will be read aloud individually as they cross the stage. Graduates will also will have the opportunity to take a photo as they exit the stage.

All candidates for graduation will have the opportunity to hear their name announced and cross the stage individually.

Due to safety reasons, children are not permitted on stage for the crossing nor can they be seated amongst the members of the graduating class. If you are a nursing parent, or if you need access to your child during the ceremony for another reason, please contact the Commencement Office to discuss accommodations.

Your academic achievement and other distinguished scholarship and military service may qualify you to be recognized with an honors designation at Commencement. Recipients of these honors will receive a cord to wear with their Commencement attire.

The City University of New York recognizes academic honors at the bachelor's degree level only, with the honors of cum laude (with honor), magna cum laude (with great honor), and summa cum laude (with greatest honor).

The printed programs for the ceremony will include a full listing of all members of the graduating class who submit their application to graduate by the March 1, 2023 deadline. Late applicants may not be included, based on production deadlines.

A official list of the full Class of 2023 graduating class will be made available via a digital file in the fall of 2023. This file can be printed by those who wish to do so.

Yes! The Commencement ceremony will be available for live, online viewing on the day of the Commencement. American Sign Language and closed captions are available. A video recording of the ceremony will also be posted to the Commencement webpage, as well as the School's YouTube channel, following the ceremony


Eligibility to participate in the Commencement ceremony for the Class of 2023 is limited to students who have graduated or will graduate during the 2022-2023 academic year. This includes those who have earned Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees or certificates of study in

  • August 2022
  • January 2023
  • February 2023
  • June 2023

If you haven't already done so, please submit an Application to Graduate by the March 1, 2023 deadline. This step begins the audit process that must be completed before your degree can be issued. It also begins the process that permits you to be invited to the graduation ceremony.

If you expect to complete your academic program in the summer of 2023, you may also be able to participate in the 2023 ceremony. Please review the Application to Graduate website for additional details.

Yes, all June 2023 degree candidates need to apply for graduation, regardless of whether they intend to participate in the Commencement ceremony. The deadline to submit the Application for Graduation is March 1, 2023.

In addition, all requirements associated with your graduation status must be satisfied by the end of the Spring 2023 semester. If grades are not posted, students are advised to contact the Office of the Registrar at

Students who have no more than two remaining courses to complete their degree requirements at the end of the Spring semester are permitted to participate in Commencement. To do so, the student must be registered for the final course(s) in the Summer 2023 term.

If you have questions about your Commencement eligibility, please contact the Office of the Registrar at

RSVP & Tickets

Yes. All graduating students who would like to participate in Commencement are required to register online for themselves and their guests.

Invitation to Commencement were sent out students who have submitted an Application to Graduate to their CUNY SPS email address. If you shared a second email address in your Application to Graduate, the invitation will also be sent to that address.

Registration is open until April 17.

If you haven't received the email to either email address or missed the deadline, please contact for further assistance.

If you have trouble accessing your CUNY SPS email address, please reach out to the School's Help Desk (


Each graduate participating the in-person ceremony, may request up to 6 guest tickets during registration. Children under the age of 5 do not need a ticket.

Graduates may also indicate if they would like to be granted additional guest tickets, and how many they would like. Once the RSVP deadline has passed, the School will determine if additional guest tickets are available and will notify all graduates in early May on the status of their request.

Tickets for the in-person ceremony are issued electronically via TicketMaster site specific to the venue. Instructions on accessing the e-tickets will be provided in early May. It is the responsibility of the graduate to make sure that their guests are provided with their tickets in advance of the ceremony.

Yes, children aged 5 and over do need a ticket.

Children younger than the age of 5 do not need a ticket.

Additional tickets may only be granted based on space availability. When you register to attend the ceremony, you will have the option to request additional tickets, pending their availability. Once the RSVP deadline has passed, the Commencement Office will determine if any additional tickets will be granted. All students requesting additional tickets will receive an email in early May updating them about the status of their additional ticket request. 

It is essential that students make every effort to RSVP for the ceremony by the stated deadline.

If it is past the RSVP deadline, students may still be able to participate, but tickets for guests may no longer be available. Please contact right away.


The Commencement ceremony will be held in a covered stadium, however members of the graduating class may have the opportunity to gather outside, weather permitting. 

Yes. The Commencement venue has both elevators and escalators available for guests.

Yes. Graduates will be seated in a dedicated area on the lower floor of the stadium. Guests will be seated in general audience seating on the lower bowl of the stadium. Guests using wheelchairs, scooters, or other mobility devices may utilize the dedicated spaces on the lower bowl. Companion seating is available next to these spaces, as well.

ADA Accommodations

As a graduate, you will have the opportunity to request accommodations, both for your and your guests, when you RSVP to attend. Please remember that you may request accommodations for temporary disabilities, such as pregnancy, as well as long term or permanent disabilities. A member of the School's Commencement team may follow up with you directly to discuss your needs.

American sign language and live captioning will be available.

Guest seating will be stadium style, and there will be designated seating areas for guests in wheelchairs. The venue has escalators/elevators for any guests who are unable to walk up the stairs. Guests with special needs are advised to arrive 1 hour prior to the start of the ceremony. If your guests need ADA seating accommodations, please denote that during the RSVP process for guest tickets. 

American sign language and live captioning will be available. 

For any other inquiries regarding accommodations for guests, please email

Regalia and Memorabilia

Bachelor’s degree and certificates candidates must wear a black cap and gown (regalia) to participate in Commencement. Master’s degree candidates must wear a black cap and gown plus an academic hood in colors that signify their academic discipline and the institution at which they earned their graduate degree.

Business or business casual clothing and comfortable shoes are recommended to be worn with regalia. Please keep in mind that over the course of the day, graduates will be standing and walking for over 90 minutes (arrival, line up, processional, stage crossing, recessional, pictures), and will cross a variety of different flooring types, so comfortable footwear is essential (you can always change footwear after the ceremony).

Regalia can be purchased through Jostens. The CUNY SPS store with Jostens is ordering. Please visit the store here to place an order today! Orders should be placed by mid-April to ensure on time delivery.

Missed the deadline? Please look into purchasing through the following sources:

  • (Best option for Master's Degree students; see below for more details)

For Master's Degree students, you will want to purchase a hood with a velvet that ties into your academic major. allows this; the other options may offer it, depending on when you order. When customizing a hood, you will be asked to provide the Lining, Chevron, and Velvet colors. The Lining color to use is Dark Blue. The Chevron color to use is White. Find your master programs Velvet here.

A standard regalia package includes the essential items: cap with tassel and gown for Bachelor’s and Certificate program graduates, and cap with tassel, gown, and hood for Master’s graduates.

Students have the option of selecting from a basic package with a black gown, or a custom package, where the black gown has as a School logo on the sleeve and a customized zipper pull. 

Additional items are also available for purchase a la carte: Stoles (including custom designs), souvenir tassels, keychain tassels, diploma frames, announcements, rings, and more.

CUNY SPS maintains a Commencement Closet with a limited supply of (gently used) regalia donated from alumni. Please contact if you are in need.

No. We strongly encourage you to order your regalia well in advance of Commencement. If you arrive without regalia, we cannot guarantee you will be provided a proper cap and gown. A limited supply of gently used regalia may be available on the day of the ceremony from the School's Commencement Closet.

You can view this instructional video from Jostens to learn how your cap and gown should fit and be worn.  Hoods are worn by Master degree graduates and cords are worn by bachelor degree graduates

Absolutely! We encourage you to customize your mortarboard. We only ask that you remember that Commencement is a family event, and that customization should be respectful of all people. Please also be sure that your decorations will not block the view of the person sitting behind you and will not impair your vision while walking.

You can purchase them from the CUNY SPS page on Jostens, the same place where you ordered your regalia.

Diplomas & Certificates

No. Based on the degree conferral date for all graduates in August 2022 and January, February and June 2023, diplomas are mailed to the graduate’s address on file 6-8 weeks after graduation. 

No. Participation in Commencement ceremony is not a requirement to receive your diploma.

Students who have satisfied all academic and financial requirements to earn their degree can expect to receive their diploma by mail approximately 6-8 weeks from their degree conferral date.  Any further questions about diplomas, contact the Registrar's Office at

No. Diploma frames are optional and available for purchase from the CUNY SPS page on Jostens.


Yes, a professional photographer will be taking photographs throughout the ceremony, including when graduating students exit the stage after crossing. In June, you will receive an email directly from Grad Images regarding how to obtain your photo.

Other photos from Commencement can be found here.

Seven-10 days following the ceremony, graduates with receive an email from Grad Images with a link to where you can view and order your graduation photos. If you do not receive an email, please contact the Commencement team at

You can start scheduling your graduation pictures with Thornton Studio now. Once you've found what day and time works best for you, visit and schedule your portraits using code: studio.

You do not need to have ordered (or received) your regalia in order to pose for a senior portrait. Thornton Studio has regalia for you to wear on site.


Animals/pets are not allowed at Commencement, except for individually trained service animals that perform specific work or tasks for a person with a disability.

Yes! To view the recap, or the full 2023 Commencement videos, click on the links below: