Commencement: Frequently Asked Questions

We receive a large volume of questions each year regarding Commencement and related events. We have provided the most common questions regarding the Commencement exercises and College Diploma Ceremony below. For more general information on Commencement please refer to the main website.

Where will the information pertaining to graduation be sent?

We will be sending emails to all seniors throughout the year regarding graduation. Please make sure you read all commencement related emails so that you don't miss important information.

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How do I receive my degree if I can't be present for the ceremony?

You will need to request permission from the Office for Undergraduate Education to receive your degree in absentia. Please submit a Permission to Graduate in Absentia form.

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What are the graduation requirements?

In order to be a degree candidate for any given term, students must file an application for the bachelor's degree with the Office for Undergraduate Education at the beginning of the semester they expect the degree to be conferred. The degree application (PDF) is available online. Deadlines for submitting applications each term are indicated in the Registrar's Academic Calendar.

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What is the program for Commencement?

Details will be made available on the Commencement website.

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What if it rains on graduation day?

The All-Schools Central Ceremony and Emory College Diploma Ceremony take place on the Quadrangle as scheduled under light-rain ("umbrella-friendly") conditions.  Guests are encouraged to be aware of the potential for rain, dress accordingly (including appropriate footwear for walking on wet grass), and bring a small umbrella and/or poncho.

In the event of heavy rain or severe weather (high winds, flooding, extreme temperatures, etc.), the College ceremony will take place at 8:00 a.m. in the WoodPEC (Woodruff Physical Education Center). Students who are participating in Commencement may begin picking up rain tickets for their guests on Tuesday, May 1 in White Hall 300, Monday-Friday, 8am-4pm, and tickets will be available through Commencement morning. Each student must present his/her Emory Card and will receive 2 blue tickets for the PE Center. Additional guests may view the ceremony in White Hall classrooms. Unfortunately we are unable to mail tickets.

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How long should my guests plan on staying in Atlanta for the graduation ceremonies?

Parents and guests are invited to attend various graduation events beginning on Friday. Under normal conditions, commencement exercises for students in Emory College of Arts and Sciences will be completed by Monday at 1:30pm. In the event of severe inclement weather, College proceedings may be rescheduled to Monday afternoon. Under these conditions, activities should be completed by 5pm on Monday. We encourage all guests who are traveling to take the possibility of inclement weather into account when making travel plans.

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Under what circumstances can I request "permission to walk" at graduation?

Students may request permission to walk by completing the Request for Permission to Walk with Graduating Class.

Students seeking to participate with their entering class may request “Permission to Walk” with their class if they lack no more than 16 hours of additional coursework or other requirements that will be fully completed the Summer or Fall semester immediately following the May Commencement.

On Senior Grade Roll Day (the Friday before Commencement), students may be deleted from the Graduation List due to unsatisfactory coursework or due to grades not posting on time. These students will be notified and automatically granted permission to walk in the Commencement Ceremony by the Dean of the College, and therefore, do not need to complete a Permission to Walk form.

Please be aware that when Permission to Walk is granted, the student will not be able to pick up his or her diploma after the Commencement ceremony. While all names will be read aloud and all students will walk across the stage, the student should be aware that his or her name will NOT be printed in the Commencement program because of that document's official status. All students who officially receive their degrees in the summer or fall terms following the spring Commencement when they walked will have their names appear in the Commencement program the following May.

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May I study abroad during the summer semester after Commencement?

Graduating seniors are eligible to participate in summer study abroad. Students can defer graduation until the end of the summer in order to receive final aid or to complete final requirements to graduation. Students who defer graduation are still eligible to walk with their class with permission from the Office for Undergraduate Education. Emory summer study abroad courses would count toward the cumulative GPA. Students currently receiving financial aid or a courtesy scholarship would remain eligible.

Please visit the Study Abroad website  for more details.

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Where can I get more information about graduation (robes, videos etc.)?

Please visit the Commencement website, which is updated by early spring. Regalia (robes, mortarboards, etc.) and other items like class rings are available during Grad Fair, which will take place in the bookstore on February 22nd and 23rd, from 10am to 5pm. If you are unable to attend Grad Fair, you may purchase your regalia afterward. We encourage you to purchase regalia before Spring Break to ensure you receive the correct size. Questions may be directed to Priscilla Velasquez (pvelasq@emory.edu), 404-727-6222. 

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What should I wear for graduation?

Sensible and cool clothes are recommended under your robes since the ceremony will start at 9 a.m. and continue until at least 1 p.m. Water will be available at your seat. But don’t forget to wear sunscreen!

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Where can I view or purchase photographs from the Emory College Diploma Ceremony or Honors Ceremony?

Emory College works with commencement photography specialists GradImages to photograph graduates during Commencement events. GradImages will contract graduates and their families directly in the week after Commencement. Proofs and information on viewing the photographs of the Emory College Diploma Ceremony (and, in some cases, Honors Ceremony) will be mailed to the student's home address of record, as well as to the permanent email address provided by the student.  

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Where do I go on the day of Commencement?

On Commencement morning, please begin lining up at 7:45am in your regalia (cap and gown). If your last name is A-L, you’ll line up behind Carlos Hall (not the museum.) If your last name is M-Z, you’ll line up in front of the B Jones Building on Dowman Drive. Student and faculty marshals will be there to help you and to make sure that you receive a name card that will be used to read your name during the diploma ceremony.

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