Commencement 2021 FAQ

Attending Commencement FAQ’s

I plan to participate in-person in Commencement, how do I indicate my intent?

Graduates who plan to participate in-person must indicate their intent by April 23 by visiting:


When will the University announce how many Commencement ceremonies will be held?

Once students indicate their intent to participate, the University will determine how many ceremonies will be necessary to accommodate all participants. As a reminder, all eligible graduates must indicate their intent by April 23.

What if I have three family members I want to attend my ceremony?

In alignment with New York State and Onondaga County guidelines, each graduate can have up to two guests. We will livestream the ceremonies so loved ones can participate virtually.


Will there be tickets? Or a pre-registration?

Students who plan to participate in their Commencement ceremony in person will be required to register in advance. Please visit the Commencement participation form to indicate your intent to participate on or before April 23. Students must be registered to receive a link to their free individual admission ticket and the option to select two guest tickets. Please note: all tickets will be digital and will require a mobile device for download and stadium admission. Following ticket selection, students will receive a confirmation email, as well as a ticket with their selected seating assignment and tickets and seating assignments for their guests.


Entry Requirements

How will guests demonstrate proof of testing or vaccine compliance?

We are still finalizing the process by which guests will demonstrate proof of compliance. We will share more information with graduates and their families in the coming weeks.

How will graduates demonstrate proof of testing or vaccine compliance?

Graduates should submit their proof of vaccination to the Student Patient Portal. We will share more details about sharing proof of testing compliance to participate in Commencement in the coming weeks.

I’m a faculty/staff member who plans to participate in the ceremonies, where do I submit proof of vaccination?

Faculty and staff should submit proof of vaccination via the COVID-19 Vaccine Status Attestation Questionnaire. We will share more details about sharing proof of testing compliance to participate in Commencement in the coming weeks.

If I have not yet been vaccinated and need to participate in testing, how and where will this happen?

It is the responsible of each individual to plan ahead to ensure your compliance with New York State’s venue entry requirements. There will be no on-site testing services available at the stadium during Commencement weekend. Anyone who plans to attend the ceremony and who cannot provide proof of COVID vaccination, should ensure that they have access to testing services capable of returning a test result within the window of time required by New York State (72 hours prior to the event for a PCR-type test; six hours prior to the event for an Antigen-type test).

I have a medical or religious exemption, can I still attend?

Individuals with a medical exemption or sincerely held religious beliefs can still attend if they are not vaccinated, but they must instead participate in one of the two testing options.

I am not planning to be vaccinated and I don’t want to deal with testing, can I still attend Commencement?

The vaccination/testing requirements are mandated under New York State’s venue entry requirements. All individuals must comply with one of the three options in order to participate. Failure to comply prohibits your participation in-person. We will livestream the ceremonies so graduates and loved ones can participate virtually.

What about my parents?

All guests of the graduates must demonstrate proof of vaccination or participate in COVID-19 testing within the window of time required by New York State (72 hours prior to the event for a PCR-type test; six hours prior to the event for an Antigen-type test).

I am a recent prior positive and can’t test negative. What do I do?

You have two options: 1) Demonstrate vaccination compliance or 2) Per New York State, individuals who have fully recovered from a lab-confirmed case of COVID-19 in the last three months and who do not have any recent or current symptoms are not required to produce a recent negative diagnostic test result but must provide proof of illness and recovery (e.g., proof of a prior positive test result or completed order of isolation within the last 90 days).

The Ceremonies

What is the difference between a Convocation and Commencement?

The schools and colleges host celebratory Convocations before the University-wide Commencement. Convocations individually recognize the degree candidates and present special awards, and are then followed by receptions where students and families have the opportunity to mingle with deans and faculty.

Commencement is the University-wide ceremony for all undergraduate, graduate and doctoral candidates. The Syracuse University Chancellor and President formally confer degrees at the Commencement ceremony.

What are the qualifications to participate in Commencement?

Bachelor’s and master’s degree candidates who plan to complete their coursework between December 2020 and by August 2021 are invited to participate in the 2021 Commencement ceremonies. Under extenuating circumstances, candidates who do not meet this requirement may petition to their home college(s) for permission to participate.

Doctoral candidates must have completed their degree by April 2021. For information on the qualifications to participate in Commencement, visit the Graduate School website.

It is the student’s responsibility to know and fulfill all degree requirements for graduation. Participation in Convocation and/or Commencement ceremonies does not indicate that degree requirements have been completed.


Where can Syracuse students complete the “File Diploma Request” process?

Syracuse University Doctoral, graduate and undergraduates students may file the Diploma Request online via MySlice.

When are diplomas given out?

Diplomas are mailed to all degree recipients after the certification and awarding process is complete. Diplomas are then sent to the permanent address unless an alternative address is specified within the Diploma Request. File the Diploma Request on MySlice

When and where do degree candidates obtain caps and gowns?

Cap and gown distribution will be April 7 – May 23.

Bachelors Degree Candidates

  • On- Campus Undergraduates: no need to pre-order. Please bring your SU ID to Campus Store to receive your cap and gown.  
  • Remote Learning Undergraduates: Please contact the Campus Store to place your order to be shipped.

Masters and Doctoral Degree Candidates– Please visit the Syracuse University Bookstore to order your regalia.

For additional questions about cap and gown orders, please contact Karen Spencer,


Where can I order graduation announcements?

Personalized graduation announcements may be ordered at the Campus Store.