Graduate Students: Frequently Asked Questions

Be sure to try on your regalia before the Procession and Commencement to make sure you have received the correct items and they fit correctly. Remove your regalia from the packaging and hang it up to remove the wrinkles.

Doctoral students: Please carry the doctoral hood over your left arm; you will be hooded at the ceremony. The tassel for the tam goes on the left. Be sure to have it unbuttoned to allow for it to be easily placed over your head and onto your shoulders.

Master’s students: Please wear your hood to the ceremony. The tassel for the cap goes on the left.

Trim colors are per the American Council on Education’s code for academic regalia.

AM: White
MAT: Light Blue
MFA: Brown
MPA: Peacock
MPH: Salmon
ScM: Bright Gold
SCMIME: Orange
Executive Master Cybersecurity: Bright Gold
Executive Master Healthcare Leadership: Salmon
Executive Master Business Administration: Tan
Executive Master Science and Technology: Orange

You should only wear the regalia appropriate to the degree you are receiving at Commencement, even if you have another advanced degree. You can order your academic regalia online at the Brown Bookstore beginning in early January.

We ask all students participating in the Graduate School Doctoral or Master's Ceremony to report to Simmons Quad for 9 a.m. to check-in with the Graduate School representative for your degree (look for the appropriate sign). The procession will begin around 9:45 a.m. The procession is led by the chief marshal, who is a member of the 50th Reunion class, followed by the color guard and alumni aides and marshals from various reunion classes. The faculty, graduate students, medical students, undergraduate students, present and emeriti members of the Brown Corporation, invited guests, and the presidential party round out the procession.

Separate lines of doctoral and master's degree recipients will process. After processing through the Van Wickle gates, participants will be directed to the separate ceremony venues.

Ceremonies last about 90 minutes and includes an invocation, student address, awards presentation, conferring of degrees and benediction.

Several “grab and go” food locations will be open on campus over the weekend. There will also be food trucks stationed near Pembroke Field. You are encouraged to bring your own snacks and a reusable water bottle, which you can refill. In an effort to reduce Brown’s social and environmental footprint, plastic water bottles will not be available during the Commencement ceremony. There will be several water stations available on campus to fill reusable bottles. Restrooms can be found throughout campus.

There are a many events on campus throughout Commencement weekend, including a Celebration Toast on Friday, sponsored by the GSC, with President Paxson and Dean Campbell, followed by Campus Dance; Forums throughout the day on Saturday, including one by the Horace Mann Medalist who is a Brown Graduate School alum, and a Graduate Student Reception on Alumnae Field in the late afternoon.

In addition to the streets around the Brown campus, you and your visitors may park in any of the University lots anytime beginning at 5 pm on Friday through the weekend. Additionally, visitors may park at Hope High School or Wheeler School.

Please note, due to very high traffic volume and street closures, parking is challenging during Commencement weekend and we ask that you plan accordingly when arriving for events and activities.

Please remember to lock your car, whether it is on the street or in a lot. Do observe city parking laws; any cars parked in a temporary emergency no parking tow zone, in marked handicapped spaces without a placard, in violation of a fire hydrant, blocking driveways, or obstructing Brown Police or Providence Police sawhorses will be ticketed or towed at owner’s expense. There is no parking on any Providence city street from 2 a.m. - 5 a.m.

For information about requesting a drop off pass, please visit our  Guests with Special Needs page.

Printable Campus Map Link

Sunday, May 24, 2020

There will be a live video broadcast of the Procession, College ceremony and University ceremony to the College Green, Salomon Center and Sayles Hall. Many other ceremonies will also be livestreamed on the web.

On-campus: Reservations for on-campus dormitory housing will be available for friends and family of students participating in Commencement as well as alumni celebrating Reunion. Room reservations are now being accepted online. 

Off-campus: For information about off-campus hotels and other lodgings, please refer to Brown's Travel Portal Page.

Yes, all students need to apply to graduate via Banner web. Instructions for doing so can be found on the For Students page.

Since the majority of events are outside, guests are strongly encouraged to dress according to the weather - layers are usually a good recommendation overall. While some guests enjoy getting dressed up for Campus Dance, there is no formal dress code. For the Commencement ceremonies, guests are welcome to wear what they would like, but the majority of guests often wear business casual attire. Comfortable shoes and flats are also recommended. 

One of Brown's best-loved Reunion and Commencement traditions, Campus Dance brings over 11,000 people to Brown to dance the night away under a sky lit with over 600 paper lanterns. The evening joins together graduating seniors and their families, alumni of all ages, and Brown faculty and staff. Everyone enjoys meeting old classmates, seeing favorite professors and being with friends and family. Call 401-863-7783 for more information, or visit the Campus Dance website.

Tickets are not required for any of the Commencement ceremonies. Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. The reserved sections of open seats in the center at the University Ceremony are for the seniors and graduate and medical students. 

International students in F1/J1 nonimmigrant status who wish to invite family members to attend Commencement should contact the Office of International Student and Scholar Services (OISSS) for more information. Visitor may also request a letter by filling out the tourist visa letter request form.

For emergencies or urgent medical care, call 401-863-4111 (3-4111 from a campus phone, indicated around campus by blue lights; you may also choose to use the red emergency button at these phones). Emergency medical personnel will be available at major campus functions throughout the weekend and will be happy to assist you.

Brown Health Services, located at Andrews House at 13 Brown Street, will be open Friday from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. and Sunday from 9 a.m. to noon. Twenty-four-hour nursing advice is available by calling 401-863-1330. 

Brown's Department of Public Safety coordinates the lost and found desk. If you find an item, bring it to Department of Public Safety headquarters at 75 Charlesfield St. Call 401-863-3322 regarding any lost items.

View the Storm Plan page for more information.