Graduate and family pose outside the Xfinity Center

General

When is Commencement 2016?

The doctoral commencement will be held at 9:30 a.m. on Friday, May 13, 2016. All candidates for the Doctor of Management degree will participate in a combined hooding and degree conferral at this ceremony, followed by a cocktail-style reception with their guests.

We will hold three weekend ceremonies for associate's, bachelor's, and master's degree, spread over two days:

  • Saturday, May 14 (9 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.)
  • Sunday, May 15 (3:30 p.m.)

Where is Commencement 2016?

The doctoral commencement will be held at the College Park Marriott Hotel & Conference Center at University of Maryland University College. Get directions and all the details on the doctoral commencement information page.

The weekend ceremonies for associate's, bachelor's, and master's students will be held at the Xfinity Center on the campus of University of Maryland, College Park. The Xfinity Center is located at 8500 Paint Branch Drive, College, College Park, MD 20742, on the campus of University of Maryland, College Park. View a Google Map and get directions.

Which ceremony will I attend?

If you are a candidate for the doctoral degree, you will attend the doctoral commencement ceremony held the morning of Friday, May 13, 2016.

If you are a candidate for the associate's, bachelor's, or master's degree, you may choose your preferred weekend ceremony, space permitting. (We cap attendance at each ceremony to comply with the fire code.) We are planning for 1,200 graduates at each weekend ceremony.

In late February 2016, eligible students will receive an e-mail inviting them to RSVP. Please respond at your earliest possible convenience to request your preferred ceremony, as seats are filled on a first-come, first-served basis. Note: To ensure that you receive the e-mail invitation, confirm your preferred e-mail address via MyUMUC.

How long is commencement?

The doctoral commencement (and reception) will last from 9:30 a.m. until approximately noon.

Each weekend ceremony is expected to last two-and-one-half hours. Keep in mind that this time is approximate and may vary. Please plan to remain until the conclusion of the ceremony to avoid disrespecting your fellow graduates and disrupting the ceremony.

Can I walk early?

Generally, no one is allowed to walk early. While we do consider cases of extreme hardship, exceptions are rare and usually involve unfortunate circumstances. If you feel your situation justifies a hardship exception, please e-mail Commencement Services at commencement@umuc.edu.

Are graduation and commencement the same thing?

At UMUC, graduation and commencement are different.

Graduation is the act of completing all of your requirements and earning your diploma. Diplomas are generally awarded three times a year (August, December, and May) at the end of the summer, fall, and spring terms. Certain MBA students have a four-term schedule, with degrees awarded at the end of the summer, fall, winter, and spring terms. (Remember, you have to apply and pay a fee to graduate.)

Commencement is the formal ceremony that enables us to celebrate you and your accomplishments. If you have applied to graduate by the appropriate deadline, we'll invite you to attend commencement in May.

Why does UMUC hold only one commencement a year?

We proudly serve more than 84,000 students worldwide, both on-site and online. Commencement is the highlight of the academic year. It's the premier opportunity for students, faculty, and staff to meet and, most importantly, celebrate our graduates' accomplishments. A large-scale annual commencement is currently the best format to include the largest group of students, faculty, and staff.

How do I get permission for overseas relatives to attend commencement?

UMUC will draft a letter to the embassy of the country in which the person lives to serve as documentation for getting the necessary travel approvals.

To request this letter, e-mail graduationserv@umuc.edu and include

  • Your name

  • Your student identification number or Social Security Number

  • Your address

  • Your telephone number

  • Name of guest(s) and relationship to you

  • Address of guest(s)

  • Whether you wish for the letter to be sent to you or the embassy

  • Name and address of the embassy (if the letter is to be sent to the embassy)

If a letter is to be sent to the embassy directly, a hard copy of the letter, with your signature, will be required. This can be faxed to Graduation Certification at 240-684-2008.

Please note that associate's, bachelor's, and master's degree graduates are allotted 13 guest tickets. Plan accordingly. (You may be able to claim up to three additional tickets if any are available. Further information about claiming additional tickets will be published when the commencement registration system opens in late February.)

Eligibility and Applying for Graduation

Am I eligible to walk at the 2016 Adelphi Commencement?

Graduates who completed their degree requirements in August and December 2015, winter 2016 MBA graduates, as well as candidates for graduation who expect to complete their requirements in spring 2016, will be invited to participate in 2016 Adelphi Commencement.

Check your eligibility status by contacting the Graduation Certification Team at graduationserv@umuc.edu or 800-888-UMUC (8682), ext. 2-2299.

After verifying your graduation status, if you're still unsure about your eligibility to walk at Commencement 2016, e-mail Commencement Services at commencement@umuc.edu.

How do I apply for my diploma and graduation?

Applying for your diploma and applying for graduation are the same thing.

You must apply for your diploma at MyUMUC by the appropriate deadline. Check the Graduation To-Do List for a list of deadlines. Meeting the diploma application deadline automatically puts you on the list to be invited to Commencement 2016.

Log in to MyUMUC and select "My Academics > Apply for Graduation." Submit the form and pay the $50 graduation fee.

Why do I have to pay a fee to graduate?

The $50 application fee covers the administrative process of determining whether you have met all of your degree requirements. You must apply and pay this fee to have your degree conferred and receive a diploma. It is not related to commencement.

Is there a fee to participate in commencement?

No, but you should be aware that you'll need to buy a cap and gown. This academic regalia is required unless you are an active-duty servicemember planning to wear your service dress uniform.

RSVP or Registration

Once I've applied for graduation at MyUMUC, how do I RSVP for commencement?

You'll receive an e-mail invitation, with a link to RSVP, in late February. You must RSVP using the online commencement registration system.

When can I RSVP or register for commencement?

Registration for commencement will be available in late February, at which time you will be sent a notice with a link to RSVP. However, you must have already applied for graduation via MyUMUC by the appropriate deadline. If you are unsure whether you're eligible or what the deadlines are, contact the Graduation Certification Team at graduationserv@umuc.edu or 800-888-UMUC (8682), ext. 2-2299.

You must also ensure that your preferred email address is updated in MyUMUC by January 31, 2016.

What should I do if I receive an error message when registering for commencement?

The most common problems causing error messages are issues with eligibility to graduate or incorrect or missing EMPLID (student identification) numbers.

First, be sure you are eligible to graduate and have applied for graduation at MyUMUC. If you are unsure whether you're eligible, contact Graduation Certification at graduationserv@umuc.edu or 800-888-UMUC (8682), ext. 2-2299.

If eligibility is not the issue, make sure that you have entered your seven-digit EMPLID (or student identification) number correctly. To find it, log into MyUMUC and select Student Center. At the bottom of the Student Center page, select Print/View My Library Barcode and ID Card.

If you continue to have trouble registering, contact Commencement Services at commencement@umuc.edu or 301-985-7888.

Registration: Change or Cancel

Can I participate in Commencement 2017 if I'm unable to participate in Commencement 2016?

We may be able to accommodate a limited number of graduates who cannot participate in Commencement 2016 because of hardship. (Please note that exceptions will be rare and only made in cases of extreme hardship.)

To request an exception to participate in the May 2017 commencement, contact Commencement Services by e-mailing commencement@umuc.edu.

Please note that if an exception is granted, your name will appear in the online commencement program book for the year in which your degree was conferred. Because of space limitations, your name will not be published again in the 2017 commencement program book if you were originally slated to participate in the May 2016 ceremony.

Can I participate in one of the overseas ceremonies if I'm a stateside graduate but I can't attend the Adelphi commencement?

We're happy to include you in an overseas ceremony. Inform the Graduation Certification Team of the overseas ceremony you'd like to attend by e-mailing graduationserv@umuc.edu or call 800-888-UMUC (8682) ext. 2-2299. They'll confirm your eligibility and help you coordinate with the appropriate overseas division.

How do I attend the Adelphi commencement if I'm a graduate of UMUC Asia or UMUC Europe?

Please contact Student Services (if you're an undergraduate student) or Graduate Programs (if you're a graduate student) in UMUC Asia or UMUC Europe. Student Services or Graduate Programs will confirm your graduation status with the Graduation Certification Team.

Once your graduation status has been confirmed, Commencement Services will send you detailed information about the Adelphi commencement, along with a link to RSVP online. The stateside commencement registration system will open in late February.

Can I attend commencement if I'm a UMUC alumnus or alumna?

UMUC alumni may attend commencement as guests of current graduates, but tickets are required. Your graduate will provide your ticket(s) out of his or her allocation of 13 guest tickets for ceremonies at the Xfinity Center.

If you wish to help at commencement as a volunteer, contact Alumni Relations at 800-888-UMUC (8682), ext. 1-7140 or alumnirelations@umuc.edu.

Prepare for Commencement

What's a commencement fair?

A commencement fair is a convenient way for students who live in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area to prepare for commencement. You can confirm your measurements and order caps and gowns from our regalia vendor.

Regalia will not be available for pickup at the March fair. Orders placed at the March fair will be shipped to your home.

Regalia ordered at any of the commencement-week fairs in May will be available for immediate pickup.

You can also order your class ring and other commencement gear, such as your diploma frame, announcements, and thank-you notes. The UMUC Alumni Association will also be on hand to discuss joining the association for free and the benefits of membership.

Fairs will be held at the Academic Center at Largo in March and again in May. Here are the times and dates:

in March

  • Thursday, March 24, 4–8 p.m.
  • Friday, March 25, Noon–7 p.m.
  • Saturday, March 26, 10 a.m.–4 p.m.

and in May

  • Wednesday, May 11, 10 a.m.–7 p.m.
  • Thursday, May 12, 10 a.m.–7 p.m.
  • Friday, May 13, 10 a.m.–2 p.m.

If you can't attend a fair, don't worry. Details on how to access the same merchandise and services online will be provided when you RSVP for commencement.

Will my name appear in the commencement program?

The official 2016 commencement program book will be published online before commencement weekend. This state-of-the-art digital program will include the names of August and December 2015 graduates, along with MBA graduates of the winter 2016 term. Spring 2016 graduation candidates who apply before the spring diploma application deadline will also be included in the official 2016 commencement program.

Graduates and their guests will be able to share and view the official program online as a digital flipbook; a downloadable PDF will also be provided.

On commencement day, graduates and guests will receive a commemorative program containing the order of exercises, speaker biographies, history of the university, and other information to help guide everyone through their big day. The graduates' names will not be printed in this program. 

After commencement, the digital program will be permanently archived on this website for viewing at any time.

How can I update my name, postal address, or e-mail address?

Update your postal or e-mail address at MyUMUC.

If your name has been legally changed, please fax a copy of your driver's license and a marriage certificate, birth certificate, or divorce decree (as appropriate) to Graduation Certification at 240-684-2008. You must include your student ID number on the request.

After taking the above steps, if you have any remaining questions about how your name will appear on your diploma and in the commencement program book, please contact the Registrar's Office at 800-888-UMUC (8682) ext. 2-2222 or registrar@umuc.edu.

When will I receive details on commencement, such as which ceremony to attend and where to park?

When you RSVP online to indicate that you will attend Commencement 2016, you'll be able to choose your preferred ceremony, subject to seating availability. You will immediately receive a confirmation e-mail with instructions for ordering your regalia, claiming guest tickets, and other information.

A follow-up packet will be sent out in mid-April. This mailing includes ceremony and parking information, along with a card that you will provide to the name reader as you cross the stage. This card will also contain your contact information so that our photographer may follow up with you about ordering official commencement photos.

We may also send periodic e-mails that contain specific announcements or updates about commencement-related events, such as the New Graduate Reception to be held Friday, May 13 at the College Park Marriott Hotel & Conference Center.

What should I wear to commencement activities?

You are encouraged to wear cocktail attire to the New Graduate Reception, but business casual is also acceptable.

All graduates are required to wear a cap and gown to commencement. (Active-duty servicemembers may wear their service dress uniform in lieu of regalia.) We encourage you to wear appropriate business casual attire under your gown. We recommend comfortable shoes, because there will be prolonged periods of standing and walking throughout the ceremony.

Where can I leave my belongings during the ceremony?

We are unable to provide any storage space to hold personal belongings at commencement. Please plan accordingly.

Cap and Gown

How can I get my cap and gown before the ceremony if I missed the deadline to order and can't pick up my regalia at a commencement fair?

Limited quantities will be available on commencement day in the undergraduate and graduate robing areas. Our regalia vendor will be on-site to help you.

How much do a cap and gown cost?

Prices will be posted here when we open the online commencement registration system in late February. Your confirmation e-mail will also contain the link to price and ordering information.

Can I wear my military uniform?

Active-duty servicemembers are encouraged to wear their service dress uniforms at commencement!

Only the U.S. Army specifically prohibits wearing gowns over the uniform; however, UMUC asks graduates belonging to the other branches of the armed forces to follow this practice too. If you choose to wear your uniform, you are welcome to purchase a cap and gown as a souvenir, but please do not wear it over your uniform.

Are colors different at the morning and afternoon ceremonies and for associate's, bachelor's, and master's degree candidates?

Doctoral candidates wear customized royal blue regalia, with a gold tassel on the tam.

Associate's degree candidates wear light gray regalia. Bachelor's and master's degree candidates wear black caps and gowns regardless of ceremony. Master's degree candidates have colored hoods associated with their academic discipline.

You may have seen some university commencements where the graduates' tassels contain charms denoting the year. The tassel worn at UMUC's commencement does not contain the year, because we have students who graduated in 2015, along with candidates finishing in May 2016. So we prefer a more traditional look where the tassels are uniform (i.e., no charms).

If you'd like a tassel with your graduation year on it, you may purchase a souvenir tassel when you order your regalia. The regalia vendor will also have souvenir tassels available for purchase at commencement.

What if my cap and gown do not arrive on time?

As long as you order your regalia online by May 1, your regalia will be delivered directly to you on time.

If you have not ordered online by May 1, you may order at the May commencement fair and either pick up regalia on that day or talk with the regalia vendor to arrange pickup on commencement day.

Remember: Ordering details will be provided when commencement registration and online regalia ordering begin in late February.

Connect with Other Graduates

How can I connect with other graduates on social media?

Use the hashtag #UMUCGrad to join the conversation on Twitter and see what's trending among your fellow graduates and alumni. Visit Get Social for more info.

When is the New Graduate Reception and where is it held?

The New Graduate Reception will be held from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Friday, May 13, at the College Park Marriott Hotel & Conference Center in Adelphi, Maryland.

Can I bring guests to the New Graduate Reception?

Graduates may bring one guest to the reception.

Do I need to RSVP for the New Graduate Reception?

Yes. In late March, you will receive a separate invitation to RSVP online for the New Graduate Reception. Don't forget to indicate whether you will bring a guest.

After Commencement

Do I receive my diploma at commencement?

No. You will receive a congratulatory letter from UMUC President Javier Miyares inside of your diploma cover when you cross the stage.

Diplomas for August, December, March, and May graduates are mailed about six to eight weeks after each conferral date; for example, if your MBA was awarded in September, your diploma should have arrived by Thanksgiving. Please update your mailing address at MyUMUC to ensure a smooth delivery of your diploma.

How can I join the UMUC Alumni Association?

For more information and to activate your free membership, visit the UMUC Alumni Association.

Honors

As an undergraduate student, how do I determine if I am eligible for graduation honors?

UMUC provides honor cords for undergraduate students who qualify for the following academic honors: Cum Laude, Magna Cum Laude, and Summa Cum Laude. If you are eligible, the Graduation Certification Team will mail your cord to you in mid-April.

You must have at least a 3.8 grade-point average and have completed at least 45 semester hours of graded UMUC coursework to be eligible for one of the above academic honors. Please refer to your academic catalog for further details.

For honors eligibility questions, please contact Graduation Certification at 800-888-UMUC (8682) ext. 2-2299 or graduationserv@umuc.edu.

What GPA qualifies for academic honors?

Academic honors are based on cumulative GPA.

  • Cum Laude=3.800 to 3.900
  • Magna Cum Laude=3.901 to 3.999
  • Summa Cum Laude=4.0

What are the honor cord designations?

White cords represent Cum Laude. Blue cords represent Magna Cum Laude, and gold cords represent Summa Cum Laude.

Will my undergraduate academic honors be read at the ceremony?

Yes.

You will be mailed a preprinted name card in late April. The card has your name and honors designation so that your name and honors can be read as you cross the stage. Be sure to bring this card with you. If you don't, your honors may not be announced at the ceremony.

What if the honors on my preprinted card are wrong?

Do not make any changes to your card. Instead, bring the card to commencement and speak with our Graduation Certification Team members in your robing area. They will verify your honors and change your card if appropriate.

Handwritten honors will not be read, so remember, do not change the card yourself.

How do I get an honor cord from the honor society to which I belong?

We do not provide honor cords for honor societies. Graduates who believe they should receive an honor cord from a specific honor society should contact the organization directly.

Learn About Educational Opportunities

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Inquiries from News Media

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