Virtual Commencement FAQs

We know you have lots of questions about this new format for commencement so we are working hard to gather answers for you. Check back here as we add to this list.

Questions about virtual commencement ceremonies

Why did UNT make the decision to hold virtual ceremonies for spring and summer 2020 graduates?

Providing our graduates and their families with an opportunity to celebrate the tremendous accomplishment of earning a degree is one of the most important things we do. At the advice of health officials, we made the difficult decision in March to postpone the ceremonies originally scheduled for May, and our graduates have been waiting patiently for a decision for many weeks. Though we had hoped by now it would be safe to gather together on our campus and hold our traditional in-person ceremonies in UNT’s Coliseum and Murchison Performing Arts Center, the ever-changing state of the COVID-19 pandemic has limited our options.

At this time, large in-person gatherings are not allowed, and it is not possible to hold commencement ceremonies while adhering to the required social distancing measures. It is also uncertain at this time whether similar requirements will still be in effect in December. With this, the decision was made to honor our graduates now with virtual ceremonies.

For additional details about UNT’s decisions surrounding commencement and the COVID-19 pandemic, please visit healthalerts.unt.edu.

Read President Smatresk’s message to graduates.

What is a virtual commencement?

A virtual commencement is an online celebration that includes traditional ceremony elements such as degree conferral and announcement of graduate names. Graduates and their guests participate from the comfort and safety of their homes and will not attend in-person.

When will the virtual commencements be held?

Virtual commencement ceremonies for all Spring 2020 graduates and Summer 2020 candidates will be held Aug. 18 to Aug. 21. See the full schedule.

Ceremonies will be streamed live, and graduates and their guests are invited to watch together, while socially distanced. All ceremonies will be recorded, and the recordings will be available for those who were unable to join live (or for those who would like to re-watch shortly after the ceremonies conclude.

Will my name be announced during the virtual commencement?

Yes! Each graduate’s name will be read out loud and displayed on screen. Their names will also be listed in the program, along with their degree and Latin Honors (if applicable).

Will the commencement ceremony include both Spring 2020 and Summer 2020 graduates?

Yes! All Spring 2020 graduates will be included in the virtual commencement ceremonies. Those who have applied for and are on track to graduate in Summer 2020 also will be included.

Are the ceremonies live-streamed for viewing online?

Yes, all ceremonies will be live-streamed to the virtual commencement website as well a UNT's YouTube channel.

Do I have to watch the live-stream at the time my ceremony is scheduled to begin?

No, videos of each ceremony will be posted following commencement so you can watch at your convenience, whenever and wherever is best for you and your family. Please share photos from your celebration with us using #UNTgrad.

Where can I watch my college or school’s ceremony?

The live-streams for each ceremony can be found here. If you’re unable to watch the ceremony when it is streamed live, you can replay the recorded video within hours of the original broadcast.

Do I need to register to participate in commencement even though it’s virtual?

No registration or RSVP is needed. All students awarded degrees in Spring 2020 and those approved to graduate in Summer 2020 will have their names read and their names will be included in the program PDF.

How will the ceremonies be made accessible?

Each live ceremony will have an American Sign Language interpreter providing interpretation for the speakers. High quality captioning will be added to the recorded videos as quickly as possible.

Questions about Virtual vs. In-person

Why can't UNT have commencement ceremonies in person?

Due to the current state of the COVID-19 pandemic, mass gatherings would present a significant risk to our entire community, including our graduates and their loved ones. In response to the continued spread of the virus, Texas Gov. Abbott imposed restrictions discouraging gatherings of more than 10 people. We are extremely proud of our graduates, and our priority has to be for their health and safety. With no indication that our current situation due to COVID-19 will improve any time soon, and rather than making our graduates continue to wait, we decided to celebrate them now in the best way that we can, given current conditions.

Why not hold the ceremonies at the Coliseum and Murchison and make people wear masks and social distance?

While social distancing and wearing facemasks help to mitigate the risk of exposure to COVID-19, large gatherings are a clear contributor to the rise in COVID-19 cases. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention advises against having large events and recommends canceling any event with more than 250 attendees. Texas Gov. Abbott has banned gatherings of more than 10 people. In addition to being risky for the health and safety of our Mean Green Family, it is not realistic to think we could adhere to public health guidelines and conduct commencement ceremonies safely for our 6,000 graduates and their loved ones.

The ceremonies are on weekdays, which is not convenient for me. How can I participate?

The ceremonies will be recorded and available for same-day playback. This will allow our graduates to watch with their families anytime. We encourage you to plan a watch party with your guests when it is convenient to you.

Learn more about the virtual commencement schedule.

Can the Spring and Summer graduates participate in a later in-person commencement ceremony?

While we would have liked to invite all of our May and August 2020 graduates to come back to campus and participate in face-to-face ceremonies when they are next held, health and safety conditions are currently unpredictable, if not discouraging. As the state of the pandemic changes weekly, we are making plans only for small events we feel confident we can commit to at this time. We are eager, as we know you are, to celebrate your accomplishments. We will continue to rely on guidance from government and health officials to determine when it is safe to invite you back to campus and how we can recognize your achievements.

Were graduates asked for their input or preference for when and how the postponed ceremonies would be held?

University officials have received much feedback from graduates and their families regarding the postponed ceremonies. In addition, all Spring and Summer 2020 graduates were asked to participate in a UNT experience survey in early June. The survey, which was completed by over 1,200 graduates, included questions about commencement options. The results of the survey, including a strong preference to celebrate sooner rather than later, were integral to the decision to move forward with virtual (online-only) August ceremonies.

As a May 2020 or August 2020 graduate, how can I make my virtual commencement memorable?

  • Schedule a virtual commencement watch party with family and friends or share the virtual commencement website link with family and friends, asking them to join you for the event. Just be sure to follow current mask/distancing guidelines from health officials to keep your family and friends safe.
  • Participate in time-honored commencement traditions such as standing upon degree conferral, tassel and/or ring turning, cap throwing, and the Eagle Talon hand sign during the Alma Mater.
  • Think of your front door entry, living room fireplace, apartment balcony or backyard patio as your own personal auditorium and walk across “the stage” and waive to your fans, smile and shout with joy as your name is called.
  • If you’re a doctoral graduate, have a loved one place your hood. Take photos and videos of this special moment.
  • Purchase regalia (optional) to wear during your virtual commencement celebration and for photo opportunities.
  • If you’re an under-graduate, make sure to wear your mortar board tassel on the right side; when your degree is conferred by President Smatresk move your tassel to the left.
  • Download your virtual commencement graduate slide and share your cap-and-gown selfie on social media.
  • Share your photos and experiences on social media and tag #UNTgrad.
  • Download a PDF of the commencement program to provide commemorative memorabilia to your family, or to all of the guests who attend your celebration.

Questions about Graduating, Degrees, Diplomas and Programs

Do I need to participate in a ceremony – virtually or in person – to graduate?

No. 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 in-person 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.

Learn more about diplomas and the awarding of UNT degrees, or contact the Registrar at Registrar.Graduation@unt.edu if you have questions.

When will my degree be posted to my transcript?

A degree is typically posted to a student's transcript two to three weeks after the completion of their final term. For Spring 2020 graduates, this should have already happened. Learn more about diplomas and the awarding of UNT degrees, or contact the Registrar at Registrar.Graduation@unt.edu if you have questions.

Since ceremonies will be held virtually, how will I get my diploma? Do I have to pick it up in person?

UNT does not present graduates with their diplomas at commencement ceremonies. Regardless of the date of the associated commencement ceremony, once grades are finalized and the Registrar confirms all degree requirements are met, a degree or academic certificate is awarded, and the university orders the ceremonial diploma on the student’s behalf. All diplomas and certificates are sent to the graduate’s mailing address as listed on their record. If you need to update your mailing address, please go to Update Your Personal Information. Learn more about diplomas and the awarding of UNT degrees, or contact the Registrar at Registrar.Graduation@unt.edu if you have questions.

Will all Spring and Summer 2020 names be included in the commencement program?

Yes. The names of all Spring graduates and those who have been approved by their advisor for Summer 2020 graduation will be included in the ceremonies and in the program.

How can I get a diploma cover or a copy of the commencement program?

Please fill out this form if you're interested in receiving a diploma cover or a physical copy of the Spring & Summer 2020 Commencement Program.

Questions about Regalia

Because the event is virtual, do I have to buy regalia?

No. As Spring and Summer 2020 commencement ceremonies will be conducted virtually, graduates will not participate in person, or be required to purchase regalia. Those who are interested in buying regalia for commemorative purposes are encouraged to reach out directly to Barnes & Noble at UNT by emailing sm8085@bncollege.com.

I already bought regalia. Can I get a refund?

Unfortunately, after regalia has been purchased and taken from the store or delivered, it cannot be returned for a refund.

Is there a way I can get my regalia now so that I can wear it to have graduation portraits taken?

Yes, if you pre-ordered TAMS, bachelor’s or master’s regalia prior to March, we have your orders in the Barnes & Noble store and you may pick it up in-store, Monday - Friday from 9 a.m. - 2 p.m. If you didn't pre-order your regalia prior to March you may go into the store to purchase what you need.

If you are a doctoral graduate who pre-ordered rental regalia, your order is at the store and available to be picked up or shipped as early as Aug. 3. These rentals must be returned by Aug. 24 to avoid additional charges. If you did not preorder your doctoral rental, Barnes & Noble at UNT will have some available soon.

What is the return date for regalia rentals and how do I return rented regalia?

Rented regalia must be returned to UNT Barnes & Noble by Aug. 24 to avoid additional charges. Return your regalia in person during operating hours, or have it shipped to the store. The address is Barnes & Noble College at UNT, 1155 Union Circle # 311520, Denton, TX, 76203

Can I borrow regalia for photos?

Master’s and bachelor’s regalia is available for purchase only. Doctoral regalia can be rented or purchased.

Can someone else pick up my regalia for me?

Yes! If you pre-ordered your regalia, payment is due when it is picked up.

Can I still buy a class ring?

Class rings can be purchased on the Josten's website and shipped to you. In person sales are planned to resume at the UNT Barnes & Noble store this fall.

Can I still purchase graduation announcements?

Learn more about purchasing announcements on the Josten's website.

For answers to other regalia, ring and announcement questions, email SM8085@bncollege.com.