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Requirements for Graduation

Commencement is a wonderful and exciting time of the year. Just as nature has embarked on a fresh adventure, so do all of the Vanderbilt graduates of 2016.

August and December 2015 graduates planning to return for the ceremony in May should send us an email to let us know that you will be attending.

All requirements for graduation must have been met before a student may participate or “walk” in the ceremony. There are no exceptions. Students who are unsure whether they have fulfilled all requirements should contact their respective school registrar.  

A student completing degree requirements in the summer or fall semester 2016 will be invited to participate in Commencement 2017, tentatively scheduled for May 10-12, 2017.

Key Deadlines

  • April 8 – Last day to order  REGALIA (cap and gown) and to purchase custom Ph.D. or master’s REGALIA (cap and gown) to arrive for Commencement 2016
  • April 15 – Final day to order ANNOUNCEMENTS in time for them to arrive before Commencement 2015
  • April 29 - Last day to purchase THE PARTY table 
  • May 6 – Last day to purchase THE PARTY tickets online
  • May 6 – Final day to order VANDERBILT VALUE MEALS for Thursday and Friday of Commencement 
  • May 10 – Deadline to reserve rooms for ACCOMMODATIONS AT THE COMMONS
  • May 14 – Residence halls close for all students at 1 p.m.
  • June 15– Deadline to order COMMENCEMENT DVD
  • June 30 – Final day to make your SENIOR GIFT

Know Before You Go

  • Confirm your permanent address with the University Registrar’s office – GO
  • Undergraduate degrees will be awarded at the main ceremony, all other Graduate/Professional degrees will be awarded at individual ceremonies across campus.  May graduates will receive their diploma when crossing the stage (provided your student account is clear). 
  • No adornments are allowed on your caps; honors regalia must be pre-approved (view Adornment Policy) – GO
  • Pick up your regalia on the Wednesday or Thursday the week of Commencement @ Barnes & Noble at Vanderbilt
  • Attire:
    • Senior Day:
      • Business casual or nicer
    • Commencement:
      • Men usually usually wear khakis/slacks and a button-down shirt (often with a tie)
      • Women usually wear dresses and non-high heel shoes due to walking on grass.

Processional Instructions

  • Commencement exercises will be held on Alumni Lawn Friday morning. Candidates for degrees assemble no later than 8:25 a.m., according to their schools and alphabetically. There will be signs posted with alphabetized student names. Students should first look for their appropriate line (according to their degree) and then for their place in the alphabetical order. The procession of all candidates begins at 9 a.m. sharp.

    • Arts and Science: Northeast corner of Rand Hall facing Alumni Lawn
      May 2015 degrees – Approximately first two-thirds of alphabet
    • Arts and Science: Southwest corner of Neely Auditorium facing Alumni Lawn
      From the head of the line in the following order:
      • 1st – May 2016 B.A. degrees – Approximately last third of alphabet
      • 2nd – December 2015 B.A. degrees
      • 3rd – August 2015 B.A. degrees
    • Blair, Engineering, Divinity & OGSM: Southwest corner of Alumni Hall between Neely Auditorium
    • Peabody and Nursing: East side of Kirkland Hall esplanade near Kissam and Dyer dormitories
    • Graduate School: Between McGill Hall and Tolman Hall facing Alumni Lawn
      • This group includes School of Engineering – Master’s degree candidates
    • Law and Medicine: Northwest corner of Sarratt Hall between Tolman Hall facing Alumni Lawn

    Also note the location of your school on the Degree Candidates diagram located on the Maps page. There will be signs for each school posted. Once there you will be directed by the faculty and student marshals as to your order.

    International Students

    Do you have family or guests coming in from outside the United States that need travel documentation? Request an “Invitation Letter” for Commencement. For more information, please visit the International Student & Scholar Services website.

    Senior Class Fund

    This year, our goal is to achieve 75% (approx. 1,200 senior donors) class participation by graduation. Give now!

    Senior Class Fund 2016 logo


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Future Commencement Dates

 2017  -  May 10, 11, 12
 2018  -  May 9, 10, 11
 2019  -  May 8, 9, 10
 2020 -  May 6, 7, 8

Sign up for Text Alerts!

Text Alerts

Vanderbilt offers a complimentary early alert system for all Commencement attendees. The system is designed to inform you, via text message, if any of the main ceremonies have been moved or canceled due to weather or any unexpected circumstance.