*All school ceremonies scheduled for the South Lawn of Morningside Campus will relocate. Based on feedback from our students, we have decided to focus attention on our Class Days and school-level graduation ceremonies, where students are honored individually alongside their peers, and to forego the university-wide ceremony that is scheduled for May 15. Details about degree conferral are forthcoming.

Visit Announcements for more details.

Graduation/Class Day/school ceremony:

"Graduation" is the term for completing your course of study at the University and fulfilling the requirements for your degree. To graduate and obtain your diploma, you must submit an Application for Degree or Certificate with the Office of the Registrar.

Each of Columbia's nineteen schools, colleges, and affiliate institutions, hold their own school ceremony (sometimes called a graduation ceremony or Class Day) where each graduate has the opportunity to be announced and walk across the stage.

Please note, these events are organized separately by individual schools, take place at various times and locations across the city, and may require tickets. Although the Commencement website is updated regularly, please confirm all dates, times, and locations with your school before making final plans, as details may change. 

For the most current information, visit Announcements and School Ceremonies.

Any questions not answered on this website should be directed to the contact listed for each school ceremony page. 

University Commencement

University Commencement refers to the time-honored tradition in which degrees are symbolically conferred en masse by the President to graduating students from Columbia’s nineteen schools, colleges, and affiliate institutions. University Commencement only occurs once in the academic year, with two ceremonies in May, and is not required to graduate from the University, All graduates from the previous October, February, and degree candidates in May of the current year are invited to attend. 

Please note, graduates are not individually announced and invited to walk across the stage at University Commencement. 

For more information, visit University Commencement. For more information about graduation and diplomas, please visit the Office of the Registrar.

The Baccalaureate Service is a multifaith service is for degree candidates from the undergraduate schools: Columbia College, Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, School of General Studies, and Barnard College. 

In the 2023-2024 academic year, degrees are awarded to eligible candidates for all schools in October 2023, February 2024, and April-June 2024. Every candidate whose graduation date falls during these periods is invited to participate in University Commencement.

Columbia University is committed to making its ceremonies accessible to all guests. Disability Services coordinates accessibility efforts for Commencement Day, as well as individual school ceremonies and the Baccalaureate Service. Guests do not need to alert the University in advance to reserve seating or make other arrangements, and no special tickets are required to enter designated seating areas.

Throughout the week’s activities, Disability Services staff, Commencement Event Staff, and Public Safety officers will be on hand to assist graduates and guests with disabilities.

For more information about Class Day and School Ceremonies, please contact your individual school or Disability Services.

Please refer to the Schedule of Events for further details.

A webcast of both the morning and evening University Commencement ceremonies will be available on the Commencement website for live, online viewing, as well as after the ceremonies.

In addition to University Commencement, webcasts of the individual school ceremonies will also be available for viewing on the Commencement website. Please note, videos of past ceremonies are available for viewing via the Commencement website. There are no DVDs or downloadable copies available for purchase.

Photos of University Commencement are not available for distribution or purchase. Please direct any inquiries about photos taken at any graduation ceremony directly to the individual school. Appropriate school contact information can be found on School Ceremonies.

The campus will be closed to the general public until the ceremonies have ended. Tickets will be checked at designated entrance gates.

Non-graduating students and employees with a CUID may be on campus but should not expect to attend the ceremonies without a ticket, as seating is very limited.

All children over the age of three require a ticket. Lost tickets will not be replaced.

Children are welcome at University Commencement, and those over the age of three require a ticket. For more information regarding ticketing for children, please click here.

Trained or in-training service dogs that work to perform specific tasks for a person with a disability are welcome on campus during Commencement week and beyond, in any of the available venues on campus. For more information, please contact Disability Services at [email protected].

Please click here for a checklist on how to prepare for University Commencement.

* It's important to remember what to bring, but also think about what not to bring. Balloons, sky lanterns, and other celebratory embellishments such as large placards, signs, or flags are not permitted at Commencement events. We hope to work together as a community to reduce waste, avoid potential tree entanglements, and provide an unobstructed and positive experience for all our graduates and guests. Prohibited items include: outside food or drinks; glass bottles; pets or animals (certified service animals are allowed); clothing deemed obscene or offensive; weapons of any kind, firearms, and knives; laser pointers; pepper spray/mace; lighters or matches; balloons, signs, posters, banners, flyers, or any items that could obstruct the view of guests and graduates; flags or flag posts; amplified sound items and noisemaking devices including cowbells and airhorns; and any item that may interfere with and/or distract graduation speakers, graduates, or guests.

University Commencement, as well as individual school ceremonies and the Baccalaureate Service, will take place rain or shine.

Commencement season is a time to celebrate and enjoy the accomplishments of our graduates. To honor the spirit and significance of this occasion, we do not permit the interruption of speakers or audience disruptions. 

All participants and guests attending Commencement season event(s) understand and agree to follow the responsibilities set forth in University policies, including the Rules of University Conduct and Standards and Discipline. Those found in violation will be asked to discontinue and may be asked to leave the venue.

Commencement is traditionally held on the third Wednesday in May. The date is selected and confirmed by the University Senate and publicized on the academic calendar on the University Registrar's website.

All Commencement dates are subject to change. Please contact the Commencement Office with any questions. 

  • May 21, 2025
  • May 20, 2026
  • May 19, 2027
  • May 17, 2028

Columbia University is committed to protecting the health and safety of its community. Effective May 11, 2023, graduates, visiting alumni, and guests attending Commencement activities on Columbia’s campuses are strongly recommended to follow CDC guidelines for COVID-19 vaccination and community guidance on indoor masking. Attendees will not be required to attest, show proof of vaccination status or recent test results, however, are encouraged to stay home if feeling unwell or testing positive for COVID-19. 

Please visit Columbia University’s Hub for Emergency Preparedness for the latest health and safety policies.