Information for Seniors

Commencement Day Instructions

Commencement gives us the opportunity to celebrate our graduates and welcome thousands of guests to our campus.

On Commencement Day, Friday, May 8, you must arrive at Yellow Lot #11 (north of the football stadium) no later than 3:30 p.m., with your cap and gown. Graduates should follow the posted signs to the designated area for their school or college. Our security protocols are in place to ensure the convenience and safety of our visitors and our campus community. Metal detectors will be in place at the entrance to Mullins Center and McGuirk Alumni Stadium. Guests are advised to pack lightly for the day as all items taken into either venue are subject to search —the less you are carrying, the more quickly your party will be able to proceed through security. Please discuss security measures with the members of your party ahead of time so everyone is aware of our protocols. Although you can expect security measures to take a little time at your point of entry, our staff will be there to welcome you!

Backpacks or purses will not be allowed in the stadium and will be subject to search. Small clutches will be permitted with a visual search by security. Commencement marshals will line up students for the processional and escort them onto the field. The ceremony begins at 4:30 p.m. and will end at approximately 6:30 p.m. Students who have not yet picked up their cap and gown may do so in Yellow Lot #11 at 3 p.m. 

Visit the Senior Recognition Ceremonies page for more details regarding those ceremonies.

2020 Commencement Ball
May 1, 2020
9:00 p.m. - 1:00 a.m.
Mullins Center

Presented by the Student Alumni Association, this senior gala is a UMass tradition leading up to graduation. Join your classmates for a formal celebration of your accomplishments during a festive evening. Visit the Student Alumni Association website for more details.

Diplomas are not distributed during the Friday & Saturday ceremonies. They are mailed post-Commencement, to the students permanent address. To ensure the delivery of diplomas, all graduates should check SPIRE to make certain that their diploma mailing address is accurately recorded. Diplomas are typically mailed by the end of the summer. Questions regarding diplomas? Please contact the Registrar’s Office, 213 Whitmore Administration Building, 413-545-0555.

Graduation Eligibility
A student’s year of graduation is established by the Registrar’s Office. To be eligible to participate in the May 2020 Commencement ceremony, students must have fulfilled all requirements by the date of the ceremony or be scheduled to do so by September 2020. Students scheduled for February 2021 graduation who wish to attend the May 2020 ceremony must file a 'Petition to Participate in an Earlier Commencement' form, available at the Registrar’s Office in 213 Whitmore.

Commonwealth Honors College seniors are urged to meet with a Commonwealth Honors College advisor well before University Commencement, to confirm that they are fulfilling all requirements for graduating from Commonwealth Honors College. At the Commonwealth Honors College Celebration of Excellence on Thursday, May 7, 2020, at the Mullins Center, the Dean of each college will present each graduating Commonwealth Honors College senior with a gold stole to be worn at the University Commencement later the same day.

Commencement Program Listings
Because of publication deadlines, the names of students added to the graduation list and the names of those who petition to participate in an earlier Commencement received after March 16, 2020, will not appear in the Commencement Program.  A program addendum will be printed after Commencement to include names of 2019 graduates not included in the program that were received after the deadline.  The form to have the addendum mailed post-Commencement is available at the Registrar’s Office, 213 Whitmore. Students who have a full-privacy request on file but wish to have their names printed in the Commencement program must so notify the Dean of Students Office no later than the close of business on March 1, 2020. Those who fail to do so will not be listed.

Visa Letter Request
The Office of External Relations and University Events will provide Undergraduate students seeking letters of invitation for family living abroad to attend Commencement Ceremonies. This letter simply states the name of the graduate, major, commencement dates and relationship to the guest seeking the invitation and it's not an official government document. Fill out the Visa Request Form and our office will complete the letter within one week of receipt and notify you when the letter or letters are available for pickup.  Please note, it is the responsibility of the graduate to mail the letters to the appropriate Embassy.