You're almost there, graduate! Taking part in commencement is the ceremonial celebration when you can share in the excitement and joy of becoming a UNT graduate with your family and friends. We can't wait to celebrate with you.
Distinction between Graduating and Participating in Commencement
Commencement events are the congratulatory ceremonies hosted by university officials in which students are publicly and formally recognized.
Graduation is the process of being awarded a degree after successfully completing credit hours and other degree requirements. Actual diplomas are not awarded at commencement ceremonies and participation in the ceremonies is not a guarantee of degree completion. To officially graduate from UNT, a student must apply for graduation by the posted deadline. After receipt of final grades, the student's degree audit must show the student satisfied all university, college and departmental requirements for the specific degree. A degree becomes official when it is posted to a student's transcript -- typically two to three weeks after the completion of their final term -- not by their participation in commencement exercises. A student does not have to be present at a commencement ceremony to receive their degree.
Advising is an important part of making sure you're on track to graduate and that you understand when you can expect to graduate and participate in commencement. Learn more about meeting with an advisor.
Students who plan to complete degree requirements in May must apply for spring graduation. The Registrar's Office website includes all application instructions and deadlines.
- Login to MyUNT and from the Student Center click on the “Apply for Graduation” link in the Other Academic drop down. The “Apply for Graduation” link will be visible, even if you may not be eligible for graduation at this time. Please see your academic advising office for more information.
Graduation applicants will be mailed commencement information packets approximately two weeks prior to their commencement ceremony. The information packets mailed to graduation applicants will include:
- Links to RSVP for the ceremonies. RSVPs must be received by the deadline listed in the packet.
- Official commencement name cards
- Detailed instructions that are specific to each student and the ceremony or ceremonies they will attend.
Spring Undergraduate College Commencement Ceremony
- What is it: Each college holds Undergraduate Commencement Ceremonies in May for bachelor's degree candidates that feature traditional commencement elements in a more intimate setting. Candidates are called by name , walk the stage, shake hands with their college administration, and get their photo taken. Candidates wear their regalia at this event. Degrees are conferred at these events.
- Who can participate: If you graduate in May, you can participate in your college’s Undergraduate College Commencement Ceremony.
- To participate in a Spring Undergraduate College Commencement Ceremony, a candidate for May graduation must apply for graduation by the posted deadline, receive advisor approval on their graduation application, and must RSVP that they plan to attend the ceremony. Learn more about applying for graduation
- Undergraduate students who are planning to complete degree requirements during summer and wish to participate in the spring ceremony must receive advisor approval and apply for graduation by Feb. 15th to participate in their college’s spring commencement ceremony. These candidates must also RSVP to attend the ceremony. Learn more about applying for graduation.
- When is it: Undergraduate College Commencement Ceremonies are held every May.
- Who can attend: Candidates can invite family and friends. Candidates and their guests are expected to remain for the duration of the ceremony.
- What is it: The university holds a separate ceremony in May for master's and doctoral candidates that features traditional commencement elements and recognizes their unique accomplishments. Master’s candidates process to the stage, have their name called, walk the stage and shake hands with university administration, and have their photo taken. Doctoral and M.F.A. candidates (recipients of terminal degrees) are hooded during this ceremony by their faculty mentor(s). Candidates wear their regalia at this event. Degrees are conferred at this event.
- Who can participate: Doctoral and master's students earning degrees in May will be recognized in the spring Doctoral and Master's Commencement. To participate in the spring Doctoral and Master's Commencement, doctoral and master's candidates must apply for graduation by the posted deadline and RSVP using the links provided in the mailed graduation packet.
- Master's candidates must have completed all degree requirements in May to participate in the spring ceremony. Master’s students who defend a thesis after April 15th may participate in the ceremony providing their major professor, department chair, and dean approve the request and forward it to the graduate school.
- Doctoral candidates must have defended their dissertation by April 15th to participate in the spring ceremony.
Substantial and exceptional circumstances warranting ceremony participation prior to degree completion require Dean’s approval. Please contact your Dean’s office for further information. Examples of exceptional circumstances include:
- A candidate with a parent with a terminal illness who wants to know their child has gotten the degree before he/she passes.
- A candidate with a job overseas starting before ceremony date.
- An international candidate whose family has a valid visa that will soon expire and the family fears they cannot get back into the U.S. to attend a later ceremony.
- A candidate with family overseas who has purchased tickets well in advance and has obtained VISAs for the specific occasion/date.
- Who can attend: Graduates may invite family and friends. Graduates and their guests are expected to remain for the duration of the ceremony. Doctoral students who defend after April 15th may participate in the ceremony providing their major professor, department chair, and dean approve the request and forward to the graduate school.
Commencement Events Details
Graduation packets mailed to candidates approximately two weeks prior to their ceremony contain important instructions that candidates will need to follow before and during the events.
- Learn more about the different events.
- To find out when and where your event will be, check the Spring 2017 commencement schedule.
UNT Graduation Block Party
- What is it: A celebration of everything our 2017 grads have accomplished, filled with festivities, including commemorative giveaways, a special gift for graduates, free festival-type food, food trucks, live music, games, photo ops, Scrappy, one drawing for a free class ring and another for free diploma frames, a special ice cream flavor in honor of graduation, and UNT merchandise and memorabilia available for purchase. Everything wraps up with fireworks and the UNT Alma Mater at dark.
- Where is it: The University Union south lawn off Highland Street and the Onstead Plaza in the Library Mall.
- When is it: 5 p.m.-9 p.m. on May 12 (Friday)
- Who can attend: All UNT graduates from the current academic year along with family and friends. Bring your tassel and UNT ID to receive your free graduation gift and to be entered into the drawings.
- Why: Because you've earned it!
Line-up and Recognition
Spring Undergraduate College Commencement Ceremony
- Line-up for the Undergraduate College Commencement Ceremonies will begin one hour prior to the event in the respective venue. There will be signage directing candidates where to line up at each event.
- Candidates will process into the respective venue and be seated as directed by commencement marshals.
- Candidates will be called to the stage by name for individual recognition so they need to bring the name card that was included in their information packet. The name card will also indicate the student's position in the line-up.
- Candidates should watch for cues from marshals who will indicate when and where candidates should approach the stage.
- Candidates will walk up the stairs and hand their name cards to the announcer before they walk onto the stage. Wheelchair lifts or ramps will be available for those with mobility concerns. Candidates should make note of this need on their RSVP information.
Spring Doctoral and Master’s Commencement
- Line-up for the Doctoral and Master’s Commencement will begin one hour before the event starts.
- Candidates will take part in a formal processional into the venue and will be seated as directed by commencement marshals.
- Candidates will be called to the stage by name for individual recognition so they need to bring the name card that was included in their information packet. The name card will indicate the student's position in the line-up.
- Candidates should watch for cues from marshals who will indicate when and where candidates should approach the stage.Candidates will walk up the stairs and hand their name cards to the announcer before they walk onto the stage. Wheelchair lifts or ramps will be available for those with mobility concerns. Candidates should make note of this need on their RSVP information.
- Doctoral and M.F.A. candidates (recipients of terminal degrees) will be hooded by their mentor professor(s).
Graduates will wear official approved regalia for all formal commencement events. All arrangements for regalia approved by the university should be made with the official provider, Barnes and Noble at UNT, located inside the University Union, 1155 Union Cir, Denton, TX, 76203 (940-565-2592). Master’s and bachelor’s candidates will receive a tassel as part of their regalia purchase or rental.
Women should wear cool, dark dresses, skirts or slacks and dark shoes. Men should wear dress shirts, dark trousers, a tie and dark shoes. Graduates will be more comfortable in cool fabrics and comfortable shoes. Please do not bring handbags, umbrellas, extra shoes or coats as there will not be a place to store them during the ceremony. You may carry in your cell phone and keys but during the Undergraduate College Commencement Ceremonies and the Doctoral and Master’s Commencement, there will not be a secure place to leave these items as you cross the stage. If you choose to bring these items into the ceremony, you must leave them at your own risk in your seat while you cross the stage.
Graduates can invite family and friends.
Graduates will have their photo taken by professional photographers during the Undergraduate College Commencement Ceremonies and the Doctoral and Master's Commencement. A posed photo will be taken with your diploma cover, and a candid shot will be taken as you shake hands with university officials. Proofs of these photos will be emailed from Flash Photography to the graduate’s UNT email address in the weeks following the ceremony.