drawing of a graduating student walking up stairs with a diploma in hand

Steps to Commencement for Graduating Students

All your Commencement needs, all in one place

Follow these steps to Commencement and you’ll be sitting on the field at SHI Stadium in no time:2020 Commencement graphic

  • Step 1: Academics
  • Step 2: Register for Required Commencement Parking Hangtags between March 23–April 20, 2020
  • Step 3: Clear Any Outstanding Financial Obligations
  • Step 4: Purchase Your Academic Regalia
  • Step 5: Invite Your Guests—No Tickets Are Needed for University Commencement!
  • Step 6: Don't Miss Out on the Fun
  • Step 7: Stay In-the-Know: Keep Up with University Commencement News and Social Media
  • Step 8: Prepare to Attend Commencement and Enjoy the Day!

Learn more about each step below.

Step 1: Academics

Stay in communication with your school.

  • Rutgers University­–New Brunswick Students: Log in to Degree Navigator, or other degree auditing tools, to ensure you are on track to complete your degree. If you notice any discrepancies with your major(s) or minor(s) on Degree Navigator, please contact your school’s academic adviser immediately.
  • Students in Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences Schools: Contact your dean’s office directly for graduation requirements.

Complete the Online Diploma Application and confirm your graduation date.

  • Rutgers–New Brunswick Students: You must complete an Online Diploma Application with the Office of the Registrar. At that time, you can confirm the name you would like displayed on your diploma and that the correct permanent mailing address is on file so that you receive your diploma after graduation.
  • Confirm that you are classified to complete your degree during the correct month and year.

Mid-year degree recipients can attend Commencement in May.

  • Rutgers hosts graduation ceremonies in May only. Most students who expect to receive degrees in October 2019, January 2020, May 2020, or August 2020 are eligible to participate in the May 2020 ceremonies, but it varies by school. Contact your school directly if you have questions.

Step 2: Register for Required Commencement Parking Hangtags between March 23–April 20, 2020

Commencement hangtags are required to park in all New Brunswick and Piscataway campus parking lots on the day of Commencement. Permits issued by Rutgers Department of Transportation Services for use during the year will not be valid for parking at College Avenue, Busch, and Livingston campuses on Sunday, May 17.

  • Students who registered for free parking hangtags by April 20, should expect to receive them by early May. At this time, remaining hangtags are available for purchase. See the Parking Guidelines page for details
  • Special-needs parking is available for graduates and guests who are unable to walk ½ mile or more. Please see our Accessibility Information page for important information. 

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Step 3: Clear any Outstanding Financial Obligations

All financial obligations to the university must be cleared before you can receive your diploma.

Step 4: Purchase Your Academic Regalia

Graduates must wear academic regalia (cap, gown, and hood) to participate in University Commencement. Academic regalia will be provided through Barnes & Noble at Rutgers.

  • Rutgers–New Brunswick Graduates: Purchase regalia online for in-store pickup or delivery to your home. Order online February 7 through March 6 for pick up in-store beginning April 8.  
    You can also purchase regalia in-store starting on April 8. 
    For delivery directly to the student order by April 24. 
    Store address: Barnes & Noble at Rutgers, 100 Somerset Street, New Brunswick
  • Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences Graduates: Purchase regalia online only and it will be delivered to your home. Order online February 7 through April 24 to purchase regalia. 
    All regalia will be shipped directly to each graduate. 
  • Don’t forget to pick up any recognition cords or stoles from the department or office issuing them, not Barnes & Noble at Rutgers.
  • On April 8 and 9, 2020, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. attend the Grad Fair at Barnes & Noble at Rutgers in New Brunswick to visit with representatives and see a selection of class rings, personalized announcements, diploma frames, and much more!
  • Please note: Academic regalia will not be sold at the stadium. Please plan ahead.

Step 5: Invite Your Guests—no Tickets are needed for University Commencement!

Announcements for University Commencement and school convocations will be available in the spring.

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Step 6: Don't miss Out ON THE FUN

You've worked hard, and now's your chance to...

  • Say Thanks: Record a shout-out to the special people who have supported you throughout your college career—it might appear on the stadium video board at Commencement!
    Filming dates are: 
    • February 19 from 6-9pm in the Red Lion Cafe, College Avenue Student Center. In conjuction with the Scarlet Seniors Mix and Mingle.
    • April 8 during Grad Fair, in Winants Hall
    • April 22 from 2–5:30 p.m. on College Ave, along with Hot Dog Day festivities (Rain Date April 23)
    • April 27 during Rutgers Day, in Scott Hall on Voorhees Mall
    • Additional dates may be posted.
  • Celebrate with Your Fellow Fourth-Year Classmates: Enjoy Senior Days, a variety of activities that take place on the days leading up to Commencement (May 13–16, 2020). You can decorate your graduation cap, mingle with alumni and university leaders at the Old Queens Senior Reception, or party the night away at Club Alex. Reserve tickets through the Senior Days webpage.
  • Share Your Next Steps: Complete the Career Services survey about your post-graduation plans for your chance to win a $100 Amazon gift card!

Step 7: Stay In-the-Know: Keep up with University Commencement News and Social Media

  • Check our website frequently. More information about parking, convocations, maps, and security will be posted soon.
  • Follow University Commencement @rucommencement on Facebook, InstagramTwitterand Snapchat. #RU2020

Step 8: Prepare to Attend Commencement and Enjoy the Day!

  • With over 50,000 people coming to University Commencement on Sunday, May 17, stadium guests should be prepared with directions, parking hangtags, comfortable walking shoes, and charged mobile phones. Graduates must wear academic regalia.
  • You can invite as many guests as you'd like, as tickets are not required to attend Commencement at the stadium.
  • Check the weather, and dress appropriately. Commencement is held rain or shine. If it rains, graduating students will be given ponchos. Did we mention wearing comfortable shoes?
  • Restricted Bag Policy: There will be a security check when entering the stadium. Only clutches or wallets no larger than 4.5" x 6.5" will be permitted in the stadium. You may carry items in a clear plastic bag up to one gallon in size (12"x12"x6").
    • Outside food and drinks, balloons, strollers, and umbrellas are not permitted in the stadium. Walkers, wheelchairs, and scooters are permitted. Cameras and binoculars (without their bags) and seat cushions may be carried in on their own. Learn more about the Rutgers Athletics Bag Policy.
  • By 9 a.m., graduating students must report to the stadium marshaling area, located in the south end of the stadium (lower level under the video board), to prepare for the procession onto the field. 

    • Stadium gates will open at 8 a.m. on May 17. The ceremony begins promptly at 10 a.m. with the student procession onto the field.
    • Upon arrival at the stadium, leave your guests to find their seats and head to the south end of the stadium, under the large video board. Go to the sub-level marshaling area to gather with fellow graduates.
    • In the marshaling area (map to come), line up with your classmates from the school issuing your degree. If you want to sit with friends, be sure they are standing in front of or behind you.
      • Pick up your school's spiritmaker flag. And, be sure to wave it when your school's name is called during the conferring of degrees.
      • Plan to process in a dignified, single-file line, with some formality.
      • Smile as you walk across the field–you’re on camera!
      • Follow the instructions of the marshals as you walk to your school’s designated seating area.
      • Celebrate your achievements and enjoy your day!
  • Food vendors will be available on the stadium concourse.
  • All guests should follow the guidelines provided in their parking mailing. Information for those with special needs or mobility challenges is available on our Accessibility Information page.
  • Service animals as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) are allowed at the ceremony. All other animals are prohibited from University Commencement. Visit the ADA website for details.
  • Alternate viewing sites will be available in the Busch, Livingston, and College Avenue student centers for guests who need to be indoors, in air conditioning.
  • Have guests who can't attend? WATCH ONLINE.
    • They can watch online from anywhere with a high-speed internet connection. View the 2020 University Commencement live stream starting around 8:30 a.m. on May 17.
    • View the School of Arts and Sciences Convocation online following Commencement. Please check back here for the online viewing information.

We look forward to seeing you at Commencement.

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