Graduate School Commencement 2021

The Graduate School is pleased to share with you plans for the Graduate Commencement ceremonies this coming May. While we cannot do everything we would have liked, this year’s ceremony is aimed at celebrating graduate students who have completed this important and long-awaited milestone in their careers and still preserve public health and safety. Here is what we are planning.

An outdoor in-person ceremony will be held in McGuirk Alumni Stadium on Thursday, May 13, at 4 p.m.

 The ceremony is open to graduate students earning degrees this academic year (September 2020, February 2021 and May 2021). To abide by public health guidelines set by the Governor’s office, attendance is limited to graduating masters and doctoral students only. Attendees must follow public health protocols including mask-wearing and social distancing. No guests will be permitted.

We will have addresses by Chancellor Subbaswamy, Dean Jacqueline Urla and two outstanding student speakers, and a photo tribute. And, of course, we will officially confer the degrees. To protect everyone’s health, we will not be calling doctoral graduates onto the platform to shake their hand and bestow their hood as we normally do.

Although this is very different from our usual ceremonies, we look forward to this occasion to come together and celebrate the achievements of our graduate students.

This website will continue to be updated with additional details about registration, including specific COVID-19 testing requirements for attendees to gain access to the ceremony.

Testing Requirements for Graduate Commencement
 

All students attending Graduate commencement on Thursday, May 13 are required to be tested for COVID-19 and show their Green Check Mark via the campus health hub in order to gain entry to McGuirk Stadium. Provided are the options students have to get tested: 

  • If you are getting tested at the UMass Amherst Public Health Promotion Center at the Mullins Center, you are required to schedule an appointment via the Campus Health Hub and get tested on Monday, May 10 or Tuesday, May 11 to ensure your test results are reported prior to Commencement on Thursday, May 13.
  • Students may choose to get a PCR test at an off-campus location. If you choose to do so, test results must be submitted to testing@umass.edu by Wednesday, May 12 at noon. The day of the test cannot be any sooner than Sunday, May 9.  

 Frequently Asked Questions About Testing

If I Have Been Fully Vaccinated, Do I Still Have to Get Tested?

Yes, the university requires all individuals to have a negative COVID-19 test in order to attend graduation, regardless of vaccination status. 

What Type of Test Does the University Allow?

The university requires a PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test. Rapid response antigen tests will not be accepted as PCR tests are more reliable.  

How do I Schedule an Asymptomatic Test at the UMass Public Health Promotion Center?

  1. Testing is by appointment only. No walk-ins are allowed.
  2. Visit the Campus Health Hub and select “Book an Appointment”  (If you receive a message that says, "Currently you are not registered as part of the program,” click the link that says "Please Fill Out This Form," then fill out the form and you will then be allowed to book your appointment.
  3. Click “Walk-In at Mullins Center
  4. Choose the date and click next
  5. Select an appointment

I am Attending From Out of State (or out of the country). What Guidelines Should I Follow in Order to Attend?

In addition to the testing requirements, individuals must follow the current Commonwealth of Massachusetts Travel Advisory as you prepare to attend commencement.

Frequently Asked Questions for Graduate Commencement 2021

When is Graduate Commencement?

The Graduate Class of 2021 will have a modified, in-person commencement on Thursday, May 13th. The ceremony will begin at 4:00 pm EST and will be held in McGuirk Alumni Stadium. Continue to check the commencement website for updates on details regarding the ceremony.

Can the Commencement Date be Switched?

Due to the availability of McGuirk Alumni Stadium and the commencement vendors we are unable to switch the date of the 2021 commencement.

What Happens if Rains on Commencement Day?

Graduate Commencement 2021 is a ‘rain or shine’ event and will go on as planned if it rains.

How Do I Register for Commencement?

Coming soon! 

What Steps is UMass Amherst Graduate School Taking to Ensure Public Safety?

All graduates and staff working commencement will follow health protocols, including social distancing, mask wearing and COVID testing. To ensure that social distancing is adhered to, there will be no guests allowed in the stadium. The ceremony will be livestreamed for those unable to attend, or who wish to celebrate from a distance. The Graduate School Commencement Team will follow up with additional details in the coming weeks, including specific COVID-19 testing requirements for graduates to gain access to their ceremony. More information on the campus’s operational posture and COVID testing protocols can be found HERE.

How do I Order Regalia?

The Graduate School is offering free regalia for masters and doctoral students in the Class of 2021 (Sept 2020, Feb 2021 & May 2021). While the deadline to order regalia in time for the in-person event has passed, regalia can still be ordered until April 16, 2021. More details on how to order regalia can be found HERE.

Please note that regalia WILL NOT be available the day of the ceremony. 

If you would like to purchase professional grade, specialty regalia, please visit the UMass Store website.

Can my Friends and Family Attend?

To ensure that social distancing is adhered to, there will be no guests allowed in the stadium. The ceremony will be livestreamed for those unable to attend, or who wish to celebrate from a distance. More details on how to stream will be communicated as May 13th gets closer.

Can Advisors and Faculty Attend?

At this time, only the platform party, award recipients and the graduates may attend. There will be no hooding ceremony this year.  The ceremony will be livestreamed for those unable to attend, or who wish to celebrate from a distance. More details on how to stream will be communicated as May 13th gets closer.

Will the Event be Live-Streamed or Recorded?

Commencement will be livestreamed to allow those who are unable to attend the opportunity to celebrate from a distance. More details on how to stream will be communicated as May 13th gets closer.

Am I Eligible to Graduate?

The deadline for May graduation is April 14. There are various requirements that need to be fulfilled in order to be approved for graduation. Once you are eligible you can find the degree eligibility form HERE.

Can I Move my Seat so I Can Sit Next to my Friends?

Upon arrival, you will be directed to the next available seat and you will not be able to choose where you sit. If you would like to be seated near your friends, you should plan to arrive at the stadium at the same time. All seats will placed at six feet, as per state public health guidelines, and must remain six feet apart through the ceremony.

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