University Commencement

*Details on this page are to keep in mind for Morningside campus ceremonies. 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.

Columbia University Commencement of the 270th academic year will now include two ceremonies, morning and evening, to accommodate our growing student body and community. This new schedule will ensure a smooth guest and graduate experience both leading up to and on commencement day. 

All eligible May, and June 2024 degree candidates, and February 2024 and October 2023 graduates, from all schools and colleges affiliated with Columbia University, as well as family and friends, are encouraged to join in on the celebration. An archived video of the ceremony and digital program will be available for viewing shortly after the live webcast.

For questions related to school ceremonies, where each graduate has the opportunity to be announced and walk across the stage, please visit the School Ceremonies page for further details. 

Use these links below for helpful resources and your guide to commencement

University Commencement dates back to 1758 and has been held outdoors on the Morningside campus since 1926.

It is a centuries-old tradition in which degrees are symbolically conferred en masse to graduating students from nineteen schools, colleges, and affiliate institutions. During this ceremony, remarkable members of the Columbia community and special guests are also recognized through the bestowal of medals, awards, and honorary degrees.

While each school holds an individual graduation ceremony, the University President is the only person who can confer the actual degrees. As part of the ceremony, each dean steps forward to request that the President confer degrees on the school's candidates; a tradition that has become a memorable part of the ceremony. After the University President has symbolically conferred all degrees, cheers, applause, and celebration ensue as the class officially graduates.

The sequence of degree conferrals is meticulously structured—reflecting historical precedence, the size of the school, and the distribution of advanced and terminal degree programs. Thus, undergraduate schools lead the procession, followed by schools with master's degree programs, and culminating with those offering the highest number of terminal degrees.

With thousands of degree candidates, participants, and guests in attendance, the ceremony is an unforgettable, grand-scale celebration that appropriately marks the academic achievements of the University graduates. No degree candidate officially graduates until the University Commencement ceremony concludes.

Commencement History & Regalia

University Commencement has been a Columbia tradition since 1758, when the first ceremony was held at St. George's Chapel on Beekman Street. Learn more about the history of the ceremony and some of the traditions still observed today. Click here to learn more.

Teaching Awards

Presidential Awards for Outstanding Teaching are given to faculty and graduate student instructors who have significantly influenced the intellectual development of Columbia students. For more information about this award, visit Office of the Provost.

Meet the 2024 recipients.

Mentoring Awards

Faculty Mentoring Awards, inspired by the incredible mentoring legacy of Columbia Business School Professor Katherine W. Phillips, are given to senior faculty who have demonstrated an exceptional commitment to the professional development of their junior colleagues. For more information about this award, visit Office of the Provost.

Meet the 2024 recipients

Service Awards

Faculty Service Awards recognize full-time faculty whose extraordinary and creative voluntary service has contributed significantly to the University’s diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) efforts. For more information about this award, visit Office of the Provost.

Meet the 2024 recipients.