SPRING COMMENCEMENT FAQs
- Regalia and Attire
- Parking and Transportation
- Commencement Event Information
What is the difference between participating in commencement and graduating?
Commencement ceremonies 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 completion of 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 commencement to receive their degree.
What are the requirements for spring commencement participation?
Spring Undergraduate College Commencement Ceremony
Each college holds Undergraduate College Commencement Ceremonies in May for bachelor's degree candidates that feature traditional commencement elements including degree conferral.
Candidates wear their regalia at this event.
To participate in a Spring Undergraduate College Commencement Ceremony, a candidate for May graduation must apply for graduation by the Feb. 15 posted deadline, receive advisor approval on their graduation application, and must RSVP that they plan to attend the ceremony.
Undergraduate students who are planning to complete degree requirements during summer must receive advisor approval and apply for graduation by Feb. 15 to participate in their college’s spring commencement ceremony. These candidates must also RSVP to attend the ceremony.
Spring Doctoral and Master’s Commencement
The university holds a separate ceremony in May for master's and doctoral candidates and the ceremony features hooding and other traditional commencement elements including degree conferral. Graduates wear their regalia at this event.
- Spring Graduates: 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 and be approved for Spring graduation by the posted deadlines, and must RSVP using the links provided in the mailed commencement packet.
- Summer Graduates: Doctoral and master’s students who will officially graduate in Summer and meet one of the criteria below may be approved to participate in the Spring ceremony. Students must apply for Summer graduation by the posted deadlines for the Spring in order to be approved to participate in the Doctoral and Master’s spring commencement ceremony. These candidates must also RSVP to attend the ceremony. Learn more about applying for graduation
- Master’s candidates who are completing a coursework only program (not completing a thesis or comprehensive exam) and are within 6 hours of completing degree requirements in summer are eligible to participate in the Spring ceremony
- Master’s candidates who pass a comprehensive exam prior to the last class day of the Spring semester are eligible to participate in the Spring ceremony
- Master’s candidates who defend and submit their final thesis prior to the last class day of the Spring semester are eligible to participate in the Spring ceremony
- Doctoral candidates who defend and submit their final dissertation prior to the last class day of the Spring semester are eligible to participate in the Spring ceremony
- Students that do not meet requirements above but who have substantial and exceptional circumstances warranting ceremony participation prior to degree completion require the approval of the appropriate college dean or associate dean. Please contact the Toulouse Graduate School or your dean’s office for further information. Examples of exceptional circumstances include:
- A candidate with family overseas who has purchased tickets well in advance and has obtained visas for the specific occasion/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 a job overseas starting before ceremony date.
- A candidate with a parent with a terminal illness who wants to know their child has gotten the degree before he/she passes.
Please note that not all students who are allowed to participate in the ceremony by exception will be listed in the commencement program handed out to guests and must notify the Toulouse Graduate School (firstname.lastname@example.org) of their intent to participate.
Do graduates need to RSVP for commencement?
Yes. Candidates must RSVP for commencement by following the instructions listed in the information packet mailed to them two weeks prior to the ceremony. RSVPs must be received by the deadline listed in the packet.
Is there a limit to the number of guests? Are tickets required for guests?
There is no limit to the number of friends and family that graduates can invite as their guests to attend the commencement ceremonies. Graduates and their guests are expected to remain for the duration of the ceremony.
What if venues reach capacity?
If ceremonies reach seating capacity, guests will be directed to nearby venues to watch live broadcasts of the ceremonies on television screens. Due to fire codes and safety issues, there will be no standing room for guests.
What if I can't afford to purchase or rent a cap and gown?
We know some of our undergraduate students are not able to afford the price of a cap and gown and therefore do not walk across the stage to celebrate this huge academic accomplishment. The Dean of Students office has created the “Mean Green Gowns for Grads” program to support low income and first generation University of North Texas students with a free rental of graduation caps and gowns. In addition to a cap and gown, recipients will also have the option to participate in a free photo session to provide them with graduation pictures. Learn more about the program and how to apply.
Why are there different colors of tassels and hoods for each college?
Each master's and doctoral hood color is based on the graduate's degree. The addition of colored tassels for undergraduates started in 2015 and came at the request of the college deans to allow bachelor’s graduates to be visually recognizable based on their college.
What if I'm a double major in two different colleges? Do I wear tassels for both of the colleges?
Typically, a graduate who is double-majoring in two colleges chooses which color he or she would like to wear.
Can regalia be rented?
Doctoral graduates have the choice of renting or purchasing their regalia. Master’s and bachelor’s graduates do not have the option to rent their regalia.
If I've been given regalia as a gift, but it's not green, can I still wear it?
UNT encourages all graduates to wear the official, approved regalia to ensure uniformity. But if you've been given regalia as a gift, we will not prevent you from wearing it in lieu of the official, approved regalia. All graduates must wear regalia to participate in all formal UNT commencement events. Master’s and doctoral candidates must wear the official UNT hood as part of their regalia.
What if I already bought my regalia from an outlet other than Barnes & Noble and it's not the right color? Can I wear it anyway?
We recommend that you return the previously purchased regalia and purchase or rent the official, approved regalia from Barnes & Noble at UNT.
Where do graduates purchase their cap and gown?
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 & Noble at UNT, University Union, 410 Avenue A, Denton, TX 76203 (940-565-2592). All candidates will receive a tassel as part of their regalia purchase or rental.
Which side should the tassel be on?
Typically, undergraduate candidates wear the tassel on the front right side of the cap and graduates wear it on the front left side. As graduates look down, tassels fan out and often interfere with photographs that are taken as they cross the stage. It is advised that graduates adjust their tassels accordingly.
What should I wear?
Barnes and Noble at UNT is the official vendor for purchasing UNT regalia. Graduates will wear the approved academic regalia over cool, dark dress clothes and comfortable dress shoes. Casual wear is not appropriate and photos will look best if graduates wear dark colors.
Can graduates bring an extra pair of comfortable shoes?
No. Candidates are encouraged to wear comfortable dress shoes for the duration of the ceremony, as they will be standing for extended periods of time and walking up and down stairs. Please do not bring anything except the name card that is mailed to you two weeks prior to commencement. There is no storage available for extra shoes during the ceremony.
Where do graduates store personal belongings during the ceremony?
Please do not bring anything besides the name card that was mailed to you prior to commencement. There is no storage available for handbags, umbrellas, or extra shoes, etc. 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.
Where should I park for commencement?
Learn more about parking and transportation for Spring Commencement events.
What time should graduates arrive?
Graduates are expected to arrive at the time included in the information packet mailed to them two weeks prior to graduation, usually one hour before the event starts. Graduates should take into consideration increased traffic, as well as time to walk or ride a shuttle from the parking lot to the UNT Coliseum or Murchison. Ceremony processionals will begin on time. Learn more about the different commencement events.
What should graduates bring with them to commencement events?
Only what's noted in the information packets. Graduates need to bring the name card from the information packet mailed to them two weeks prior to graduation. The name card will be handed to the announcer before the student walks onto the stage and also will indicate the graduate's position in the line-up. Graduates should not bring handbags, or handheld devices. 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.
Will graduates walk the stage?
Yes, at the college ceremonies (undergraduate college commencement ceremonies and doctoral/master’s commencement) graduates will have their name called, walk the stage, shake hands with college administration and have their photo taken. The Doctoral and Master's Commencement will include hooding by faculty mentors for those earning terminal degrees.
How can I get pictures of the event?
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 the university official. Proofs of these photos will be emailed from Flash Photography to the the graduate’s UNT email address in the weeks following the ceremony.
When will graduates receive their diplomas?
Diplomas will be printed and mailed to official UNT mailing addresses within eight weeks of commencement following receipt of final grades and after verification that the candidate has met the final requirements for graduation. It is the responsibility of the graduate to ensure UNT has the correct mailing address on file after graduation.
What address will the diplomas be mailed to?
Diplomas will be mailed to the official UNT mailing address within eight weeks of commencement. Graduates should verify and/or update their mailing address by logging into my.unt.edu with their EUID and password.
In the event of severe weather, UNT will activate its Commencement Inclement Weather Plan.