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Graduate School Commencement

Frequently Asked Questions

What if I missed the Graduate School deadline to participate in this ceremony?
Graduate Students need to contact the offices of Enrolled Student Staff at the Graduate School if they missed the required deadline to participate in the Commencement ceremony.  They will then take the necessary steps to confirm your participation OR let you know if you do not qualify to participate.  Important ... if you missed the above deadline, your name will not be printed in the program.

Does attending commencement guarantee that I graduate?
No. All of your academic requirements must be complete and all necessary paperwork must be on file by the deadline date before you actually graduate.  Graduate students - Consult the Graduate School website for applicable deadlines. 

Will my name be read at the commencement ceremony?
Yes. You will hand a reader a card with your name on it as you walk up to the stage to pick up your diploma cover.

Will my name appear in the program?
Your name will only appear in the program, if you have submitted your graduation application with the Graduate School by the published dates.

Please Note - if you have suppressed the release of your name in your privacy settings in MyNIU, your name will not be published. For additional information concerning the restriction in the disclosure of directory information visit: http://www.reg.niu.edu/registration-records/about/confidentiality/index.shtml

Will I get my diploma at commencement?
No. You will receive your diploma cover at the ceremony. Once you have cleared any monetary or other obligations with the University, Diplomas will be mailed to the permanent address you have on file about two months after your ceremony. 

How long will the ceremony last?
approximately 90 minutes. 

Will the president and provost of the university be at my ceremony?
Yes. The president and provost will attend your commencement ceremony.

Is there a difference between Graduating and Commencement?
Yes.  Graduating is actually getting your diploma and that is what you are applying for through the Graduate School.  Commencement is the ceremony to celebrate your graduating.  The general rule is that you are invited to commencement because your are graduating.

Caps, Gowns, and Tassels

How long will it take me to pick up my cap, gown, and hood?
It usually takes only 10 to 15 minutes. 

Do I have to order my cap, gown, and hood in advance to get the right size?
No. You will be asked your height when you pick up your cap and gown. Caps are one-size-fits-all. 

Do I have to pay for my cap and gown?
No. This service is taken care of through graduation fees. 

Can a friend pick up my cap, gown, and hood if I'm unable to do so?
Yes. Please make sure your friend knows your height, degree and has a printed photo copy of your photo I.D. 

Do I get to keep my tassel?
Yes, but you will be required to turn in your cap, gown, and master or doctoral hood after the ceremony.

Guests & Guest Tickets

Am I required to have tickets for my guests?
YES, you can get up to 10 guest tickets per GRADUATE SCHOOL candidate.  Children over the age of 1 (one) do have to have a ticket.  (please see below)

How do I get tickets for my guests?
Graduate School Candidates MUST pick up guest tickets at the Convocation Center Ticket Office              (Entrance 2)              TICKET LINK

What if I am unable to pick up my guest tickets on those dates?
Students must e-mail commencement@niu.edu by 4 p.m. on April 22 to request tickets be held at the Convocation Center Ticket Office. Then your tickets can be picked up during regular business hours which are M-F, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. In the email, they must include their name, college, degree and requested number of guest tickets. If you send someone to pick up your tickets, you need to complete the On Line Reply Form BEFORE you send them to the Convo. Your friend will need to have a PRINTED photocopy of your picture ID with a PRINTED note written and signed by you allowing them to take your tickets. (NO cell phone images as notes are kept)

What if I have more guests than allowed?
If they are available, additional tickets may be obtained on a first-come basis on the FIRST day of Cap & Gown distribution.  There may be a limit on how many you can receive based on how many are left.                    CAP & GOWN LINK

Can the ceremonies be seen online?
The ceremonies will be streamed live on the Internet.  Get details at www.media.niu.edu.

Are there accommodations for children?
Child care is not provided and guests are asked to keep a close watch on children. Children may not accompany graduates in either the assembly area or during the ceremony. Children over the age of one will need a guest ticket. Due to theatre seating in the arena, strollers are discouraged. There is no place to park a stroller next to any of the guest seats.