Frequently Asked Questions - Graduate Studies Commencement

​Frequently Asked Questions 

  • Who is eligible to participate?
  • The minimum requirement is that the student be advanced to candidacy.  Please see our eligibility requirements in full on the student registration webpage.  
  • I am a degree candidate. How do I register?
  • Our student registration database will open in January 31, 2020.  On that date a link will be provided on our student registration webpage.  
  • How do I select my faculty presenter?
  • Upon registering for commencement, doctoral students may request one faculty member to present and hood them on stage.
    Master's students will be presented by a faculty member chosen by their graduate program. You are welcome to ask your faculty if they would be willing to be the representative for your program.  
  • What time is commencement and where will it be located?
  • The Graduate Studies commencement will take place on June 11, 2020, in the ARC Pavilion from 3-6 p.m..
  • What time should degree candidates arrive for the commencement ceremony?
  • Students and presenting faculty are asked to arrive one hour before the ceremony begins (2pm) and go directly to the line-up area. Please say your farewells to family before you enter the line-up area.  Your guests will want to choose their seats in the ARC Pavilion when it opens at 2 p.m.  
  • Do my guests need tickets to attend my commencement?
  • Admission tickets are NOT required to attend the UC Davis Graduate Studies commencement ceremony. However, to allow admittance of every student's guests, you should be considerate and limit your guests to your immediate family members.
  • International Students: How do I request a visa support letter for my family members?
  • Please know that student's must first register for commencement and meet all eligibility requirements before a visa support letter will be generated.   See "Eligibility Requirements" above.

    International Students wishing to request a visa support letter from Graduate Studies in order to have relatives living outside the U.S. attend the commencement, need to e-mail their request to Commencement Central and include the following information:
    1. Degree candidate's name
    2. ​​Degree candidate's gender (for referencing in letter)
    3. ​​Degree candidate's Graduate Program
    4. ​​Degree candidate's degree upon completion
    5. ​​Name(s) of guest(s) and relation to degree candidate (i.e., Mother: Cheng Liu)
    Once your eligibility is reviewed and approved you will be sent a PDF letter that can be forwarded via e-mail.  If you would like a hard-copy letter please let us know and you will be notified when the letter is ready for pick-up at Graduate Studies. (If you would rather have the letter mailed to a U.S. address, please state this in your e-mail and include your mailing address. We do not mail letters outside the U.S.)
  • Can I change how my name is announced for the ceremony?
  • Yes, if you choose the ‘Marching Order Recording’ option on your on-line commencement registration you may make a recording of your name as you would want the professional reader to record it for the ceremony.  You can also contact and ask to have your printed name changed in the registration database for the commencement program.  Please understand that marking your announcement card in the line-up prior to the ceremony does not change the recording.  If you have a last minute request in the line-up area, please talk to a test host. 
  • Why is my name announcement prerecorded for the ceremony?
  • Graduate Studies is committed to diversity and we want to honor each student and faculty participant at our commencement ceremony by accurately announcing your name as you proudly walk across the stage.  Please take a moment during your registration for commencement to use the optional, ‘Marching Order Recording’ feature to make a recording of your name as you would want the professional reader to record it for the ceremony.  (This process is completed by entering a phone number and the system will call the phone number you entered and prompt you in making the recording.)
  • Is there a dress code for commencement ceremonies?
  • While there is no formal dress code, commencement is an important event, and many people choose to dress up for the occasion. The only requirement is wearing academic attire called 'regalia', which consists of a cap, gown, tassel, and hood, which can be rented through UC Davis Stores. Please wear walking (comfortable) shoes. High heels are not recommend because the line-up area is a grassy field and the commencement stage has narrow steps.  
  • What will my hood and tassel look like?
  • The color of your hood and tassel is determined by your school and degree. The commencement tassel will be provided with your cap and gown rental. Visit the UC Davis Stores website for more information.
    You should also visit our Cap and Gown pages.
  • Where do I get my regalia (cap, gown, tassel and hood) and other gift items for commencement?
  • Regalia (cap, tassel, gown and hood), announcements, diploma frames, and graduation gifts can all be purchased online through the UC Davis Stores. Please visit UC Davis Stores for price lists, ordering, and information. Announcements are shipped within two days of ordering. Make sure to order wallet-sized portraits to include in your announcements! Order and pick up early to avoid any delays or long lines.

    UC Davis Stores
    Memorial Union
    UC Davis Campus
    (530) 752-6846
  • Will I receive my diploma at the commencement ceremony?
  • Once you have completed your degree requirements and filed to graduate contact the Office of the Registrar for the diploma and official transcripts showing the awarding of your degree.

    A certificate commemorating the ceremony is presented to each participant at commencement.

  • Will someone be taking pictures and videos?
  • Yes, Grad Images will be taking individual photographs of each candidate after they walk off the stage. To receive your free digital proof via e-mail within 5-7 days following commencement, please register with Grad Images.

    Family members and friends should take photographs of candidates either before or after commencement. Photos taken by family or friends will be permitted from their seats or from the designated photo areas in the stands above the arena floor. Tripods are NOT allowed into the Pavilion. 

  • Are there provisions for graduating students with disabilities?
  • Yes. Special arrangements can be made for students with disabilities. If you require any special accommodations, please register online as early as possible. For example, if a sign language interpreter is required or if you need assistance crossing the stage, we will need to be notified at least two months prior to the ceremony so that we can make the necessary arrangements. Your special accommodation requests MUST be entered in the "Special Needs" section when you register online. We are able to offer special accommodations to students only.

    You should also visit the Disability Resources page for more information on available accommodations.
  • What if my guest has limited mobility or special needs?
  • A shuttle service is provided for guests with mobility problems at the Pavilion. The shuttle transports limited mobility guests to and from the parking lots to the north east entrance of the Pavilion.  A tent is outside the parking structure and the ARC Pavilion for elderly and disabled guests to sit while waiting for the shuttle and/or the Pavilion to open.  Limited mobility guests may enter the north east entrance with one other member of their party. Disabled seating sections are available for guests with limited mobility or who use a wheelchair (who may be accompanied by one other member of their party). There are reserved limited mobility sections in rows E & F in sections 226, 220, 213, or 207.

    For those guests with limited/no hearing attending commencements in the Pavilion, assisted listening devices may be picked up in the Pavilion Guest Services Center (located at the NE Lobby corner in the Pavilion) and/or sign language interpretation can be arranged. Please contact UC Davis Event Manager to arrange for sign language interpretation.

    Please note UC Davis does not provide wheelchairs.

  • Where am I allowed to park on campus?
  • Parking is free in designated areas for those attending commencement ceremonies. Directional signs reading "Commencement Parking" are placed at all entrances to the campus. A portion of Lot #25 is reserved for vehicles displaying disabled person placards or plates. See the campus map or the Pavilion map for convenient parking areas. In addition, golf carts are available to assist limited mobility guest from the parking lots.

    Visit our Family & Friends page for more information.
  • Will there be food or drink vendors at the commencement ceremony?
  • No. Other than bottled water, no food or drink is permitted inside the Pavilion.  However, due to the length of the ceremony, snacks can be brought in for children and elderly guests. 

    The City of Davis offers many great restaurants where you can enjoy a pre-commencement breakfast, lunch, or a post-commencement dinner. For some restaurant venues and dining options, visit our Family & Friends page.
  • What will security be like?
  • Please view our security page for a listing of restrictions and measures that will be taken to ensure the safety of our students, guests, faculty, and staff.
  • Will the UC Davis stores be open during commencement?
  • UC Davis Stores will likely be open during commencement weekend.

    For other shopping venues, visit our Family & Friends page.
  • Will the campus restaurants be open during commencement?
  • Visit the Gunrock Pub website for hours and reservations. Also check the dinning on campus 'retail options' map for places for both you and your guests.   For other restaurant venues, visit our Family & Friends page.
  • What about bringing children?
  • All are welcome to come and celebrate the graduate commencement ceremony as guests.  Only graduates are permitted on the floor of the arena. Guests, including children, are seated in the upper levels of the ARC Pavilion.  As the ceremony is three hours in length snacks are permitted for children. The area around the Pavilion is a large grassy field and kids and adults can go outside during the ceremony, please bring water and sunscreen.    
  • What hotels are in the area?
  • Visit our Family & Friends page for a sample listing of overnight options on campus, the city of Davis, and the surrounding areas.
  • What kind of area entertainment is available?
  • Visit our Family & Friends page for a sample listing of area events and venues for entertainment.
  • What will the temperature be inside the ARC Pavilion?
  • The ARC Pavilion is a large structure and many people will attend commencement, please dress knowing it will most likely be warm and/or hot indoors.  We recommend walking shoes without heels because much of the guest seating is on bleachers. The ceremony will proceed rain or shine, so please check the weather in advance of the ceremony.
  • Will the ceremony be webcast?
  • Yes, the Graduate Studies commencement will be shown live via a webcast for friends and family members unable to attend the ceremony.  This is a wonderful feature that allows them to experience the event. The webcast will also stay online for several months following the ceremony.  Please see the UC Davis Commencement Webcasts website.  
  • Who can help me with registration technical issues?
  • If you are having problems accessing or using the registration database on the Commencement website, please contact the Commencement Coordinator.
  • Where can I go to get more information?
  • Review the Commencement Central Web pages thoroughly. The pages are full of detailed information specifically designed to address and answer a multitude of questions and scenarios. These web pages are the most efficient (and quickest!) way to find out about all things commencement.

    If you are a graduate student and need clarification on your degree status, such as if you are advanced to candidacy, please contact your graduate program coordinator.

    If you don't find the commencement information you seek after reviewing the pages and require event-specific information, please e-mail Commencement Central.

    The terms and conditions as stated on this website are subject to change at any time, with or without notice.

Helpful Tips

  • Make reservations early. Make sure to confirm all lodging arrangements as far in advance as possible, especially if you prefer to be in Davis. During commencement weekend, local hotels will fill up fast. The same goes for some of the more upscale restaurants: save yourself the wait and make a reservation in advance.
  • If possible, resist driving downtown. During commencement weekend, streets will be congested with pedestrians, bicyclists, and vehicles. Save yourself the hassle of finding parking and waiting in traffic by walking downtown. It is very convenient.
  • If you get lost, there are maps located around the Davis campus and throughout downtown Davis.  Each campus building has a sign that denotes the name of the building. Remember which building(s) you parked near. If you are still having trouble finding your way, ask any staff or student for directions. If you prefer a paper map they can be obtained at TAPS, Graduate Studies and at informational signs at parking area entrances.  There is also a 'UC Davis Mobile' application for campus and parking area maps and Unitrans bus schedules.
  • Bring sun block if you think you'll spend time outdoors, especially for children. June weather in Davis is traditionally very warm and can cause sun damage if you are not protected.