Are you a graduating student? First and foremost, congratulations! Below is a checklist of everything you need to do in the months, weeks, and days leading up to Commencement, and a few tips for the day itself.

First, in order to be considered for a degree or certificate and to obtain a diploma, you must file an application with your school or department. If you have not already done so, please visit the Office of the Registrar's website.

March 2020

  • Graduation Fair events on the Morningside and CIUMC campuses have been canceled. If you would like to purchase regalia, the University's regalia provider is equipped and ready to facilitate online orders.
    • Bachelor’s and Master’s degree students who still wish to purchase regalia can still order online directly through Oakhall by Monday, May 4 to be directly shipped to students. 
    • Doctoral degree students who still wish to rent regalia should email Tom Spalango at the Columbia Bookstore to make necessary arrangements.
  • Please contact the Columbia Bookstore directly with additional questions or if you would like to return your regalia.
  • Register for University Commencement and request guest tickets online. Registration will open after spring break.


April 2020

  • Are you a graduate student, vocalist, and/or sign language interpreter? Audition to sing or sign the National Anthem at University Commencement!
    • Round 1: Video submissions are required. Upload your audition video to YouTube, Vimeo, or Dropbox and submit your URL here by 12:00 p.m. on Friday, April 17, 2020.
    • Round 2: The Commencement Office will be conducting virtual callbacks by the end of April. All selected finalists will be notified with further instructions.
    • Final: The National Anthem performer(s) will be confirmed by the beginning of May. Selected student(s) will perform "The Star-Spangled Banner."
  • Connect with the Columbia Alumni Association about the great benefits available to you after graduation.


May 2020

  • Pick up your regalia in advance of Commencement.
  • Confirm where to line up with your school.
  • Give your guests their tickets.
  • Good luck on your final exams!
  • May 16–20, 2020: Commencement Week, including School Ceremonies and the Baccalaureate Service
  • May 20, 2020: University Commencement held at 10:30 a.m.


University Commencement

  • Remember to bring your own reusable bottle to fill up at any of our water stations on upper campus. 
  • Assemble by 9:00 a.m. with your school on upper campus, using one of the designated entrances. Do not attempt to use a lower campus entry point.
  • Wear your cap and gown, bring water, and carry your University ID.
  • If you no longer hold a University ID, bring a photo ID and your Commencement registration confirmation or a letter from your school on University stationery.
  • Guests must have tickets to access campus. Please be sure to distribute tickets in advance of the event.
  • Make a plan of how you will meet up with your guests after the ceremony.
  • The ceremony is outdoors and will be held rain or shine—dress accordingly.


After Commencement

  • Diplomas will be mailed directly to students at the DP address on file with Student Services Online. If there is no DP address through SSOL, the diploma will not be sent, and the student will need to make retrieval arrangements with the Office of the University Registrar. Please contact with any additional questions about diplomas.
  • Update your information in the Alumni Directory for exclusive invitations, alumni benefits, and opportunities that you are now eligible for as a member of the Columbia Alumni Association.