Frequently Asked Questions

Answers to the most frequently asked questions about Commencement. 

Preparing for Commencement

What is the difference between graduation and commencement?

Graduation signifies that a candidate has satisfied all of the necessary criteria of his or her chosen program and that their respective academic department has certified his or her degree.

Commencement is the ceremony that recognizes the degree-seeking candidates.

How will I know if I have met all of the necessary requirements to graduate?

Students should meet with their respective Department Chairpersons to ensure that they have met their degree requirements.

Can I participate in Commencement if I am missing a few credits?

If you will not complete your degree requirements by the spring semester but wish to participate in the May Commencement ceremony, please review information for "August Graduates" on the Registrar's Graduation page.

How do I declare my intention to graduate?

You will receive an email invitation to complete the online application to graduate.

If you have questions, visit the Registrar's Graduation page.

How and when will I know if I am eligible to participate in Commencement?

After the Registrar's Office approves your online application to graduate, you will receive an email notifying you that you can participate in Commencement.

Where and when can graduating students get their caps and gowns?

Information is available at caps & gowns.

What is the deadline for residential students who are graduating to check out of the Residence Halls?

Housing will be available to all seniors currently living in the residence halls, seniors who purchase a Senior Week ticket, and non-seniors who sign up to work as Commencement staff.

All students must be properly checked out of their residence halls no later than 10am on Sunday, May 13, 2018.

The Commencement Ceremonies

What time should graduates arrive on Commencement Day and where should they go?

Please check the schedule for dates, times, and locations.

What time should family and friends arrive? How long does the Commencement ceremony last?

Check the schedule for details.

Is there a limit to the number of family members and friends that a student can invite to Commencement?

For the Graduate ceremony at the Xfinity Center, all graduates and their guests will have seating under roof covering: there are no limits.

For the Undergraduate ceremony at the Xfinity Center, there are no limit to the number of guests you may bring. Seats will be filled as guests arrive, no holding of seats will be allowed. Please be sure your whole party is in attendance when entering the seating area.

In the event of rain, each graduate will receive 4 rain only tickets. These 4 tickets will guarantee a seat under the covered area. More guests may attend but will not be guaranteed a covered seat. Please refer to the arena map for seating. Kindly remember that umbrellas are not allowed in the Xfinity center.

For the UMass Law ceremony at the Campus Center Bailey Auditorium, all graduates and their guests will have seating.

We also offer the option to watch the ceremonies online.

What security arrangements are in place for the ceremonies?

For security purposes, only items placed in clear plastic bags will be permitted into the graduation ceremonies. Students will be given one clear bag with their caps and gowns. Additional bags will be available in parking lots and at check points during the ceremonies. 

Only items placed in clear plastic bags will be permitted into the graduation ceremonies. Students will be given one clear bag with their cap and gown. Additional bags will be available in the parking lots and at check points during the ceremonies. No purses or wrapped packages, please.

Will there be special parking and seating for individuals with disabilities or health concerns?

Graduate and undergraduate ceremonies at the Xfinity Center: signage at the entrance of the XFinity Center: signage at the entrance of the Xfinity Center will direct vehicles for people with mobility challenges to special parking.

There are some hills in the Xfinity Center, so we encourage guests to plan accordingly.

In an effort to seat the maximum number of mobility challenged guests, only one additional guest will be allowed to sit with mobility challenged guest.

UMass Law ceremony: If you or a guest has a disability, please contact the Parking Office: or 508.999.8121.

What happens in the event of rain?

For ceremonies at the Xfinity Center:

  • For the Graduate ceremony, all graduates and their guests will have seating under roof covering.
  • For the Undergraduate ceremony, all graduates will receive 4 tickets for seating under the roof covering.

UMass Law’s ceremony will be held in the Campus Center’s Bailey Auditorium, rain or shine.

Who are the Commencement speakers and honorary degree recipients?

We are pleased to announce the Commencement speakers for the 2018 ceremonies.

“These are individuals of immense talent and vision who have leveraged their own educations into careers and lives dedicated to improving the quality of life for others,” UMass Dartmouth Chancellor Robert E. Johnson said. “They are groundbreaking exemplars for our students as they are inventing the futures of health care, business, and justice.”

Graduate Ceremony

Saturday, May 12 at 10 a.m.
Xfinity Center in Mansfield
Keith Hovan, President, and CEO of Southcoast Health System will receive the Chancellor’s Medal and deliver the commencement address at the graduate exercises. Southcoast Health System is the largest employer in the region.

Undergraduate Ceremony

Saturday, May 12 at 2 p.m. 
Xfinity Center in Mansfield
Bryony Bouyer ’86, Senior Vice President Marketing Operations, Consumer Products at Hasbro, the Pawtucket, RI-based global play and entertainment company, will receive an Honorary Degree at the undergraduate exercises. The 1986 graduate of the university’s Charlton College of Business will also deliver the Commencement address to approximately 1,500 graduates and their families and friends.

UMass Law Commencement

Monday, May 14 at 10 a.m.
Main Auditorium on the UMass Dartmouth campus
The Honorable Maura Healey, Massachusetts Attorney General, will receive the Chancellor’s Medal at the School of Law commencement exercises on the main campus of UMass Dartmouth.