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Essential Steps to Prepare for Commencement

Graduate students in terminal degrees are eligible to have degrees conferred, and to receive their diploma, at three different times during the academic year: October, February and May. See the Registrar’s website for details and deadlines.

October and February graduates are welcome to participate along with May graduates in the Commencement ceremonies held in May. The Graduate School will reach out to October and February graduates in January 2021 to the email address recorded on your Application to Graduate, with instructions for registering to attend and participate.

Required Steps
All eligible graduates should complete the following steps.

1. Fill out the Application to Graduate on self-service Banner

October deadline: September 11
February deadline: January 15
May deadline: April 1

  • The University can only graduate and generate diplomas for graduate students who complete this application.
  • The application enables you to list your name as you would like it to appear on your diploma and be listed in the Commencement program. The default formula is first name, middle name, last name.
  • Once logged into Banner, select the Student Records menu and select the Application to Graduate menu item.
  • May graduates only: Indicate whether you will participate in the May 2 Commencement Procession and the Graduate School ceremony for doctoral or master's students. The ceremonies are concurrent.

2. Complete the Award Form by April 1 Identify awards and honors you received while a graduate student at Brown for possible inclusion in the Commencement program. Please do so regardless of whether or not you plan to participate in Commencement.

3. Doctoral candidates and master's students with thesis should read the dissertation and thesis guidelines. Deadline to submit for the May degree conferral is April 1, 2021.

Participating in Commencement Weekend

All October 2020, February 2021 and May 2021 graduates are welcome to participate.

1. Rent or purchase academic regalia. You must wear regalia appropriate for your degree to participate in the procession and ceremony. There are no exceptions to this rule. You can order your academic regalia online at the Brown Bookstore for pick up (date to be announced later). Regalia includes a gown, cap (master’s) or tam (PhD), and a hood. The Bookstore charges an additional $35 late fee for rental orders placed after the initial deadline.

2. Pre-register with GradImages, our Commencement photographer, for the opportunity to order photos. Photo samples and ordering information will be mailed to you after the event. Search for Brown University on the Pre-Event Registration page.

3. Required Pre-Commencement Check-in: Date & Time TBA

4. Plan to attend the Graduate Student Reception on Saturday, May 1.

5. See more general information on Commencement weekend on the Commencement website.

Special Accommodations

Individuals with disabilities requesting accommodations during the weekend should contact the Office of University Events and Conference Services as far in advance of Commencement as possible at 401-863-3100 and complete the Handicapped Parking Pass form requesting a parking permit for persons with special accessibility needs. This form will be made available in spring 2021.

Additional events for graduate and medical students who graduated in 2020 will be announced later this year.