There are three graduation dates for students in the Graduate School’s programs: August, January, and May. Degrees are conferred and diplomas are awarded at the time of each graduation.

Commencement Ceremonies

The Graduate School holds one Commencement ceremony in May of each year; students who graduate in August and January are invited to participate in the Commencement celebrations the following May. This year, alumni who graduated in August 2016 and January 2017 and students set to graduate in May 2017 may participate in the May 2017 ceremonies.

Doctoral recipients will be hooded, and doctoral and master’s degrees for May graduates will be conferred, at the Graduate School Commencement Ceremony on Saturday, May 20. Note: Separate ceremonies are held for graduate students in architecture, business, and law. Please consult your program for additional information.

Dr. Laura Carlson, dean of the Graduate School will host the Graduate School Commencement Ceremony; Fr. John Jenkins, president of the University, will confer degrees to candidates as presented by the college deans. Witnesses to the conferral of degrees will include Dr. Tom Burish, provost of the University, other senior academic officers, and family and friends in the audience.

For information on the broader Sunday University Commencement Ceremony, see the Registrar’s Commencement website.


The Graduate School Commencement Ceremony will be held in the Compton Family Ice Arena on the south edge of campus.

The ceremony will also be streamed online for guests that cannot be in attendance. See the Registrar’s Commencement website for more information. A DVD of the ceremony will also be available for purchase.

Commencement Forms Required

  • All eligible participants should complete the Registrar’s Graduation Application (available March 2017).
  • Students attending the Graduate School Commencement Ceremony, during which degrees will be conferred and diplomas distributed, should also complete the Graduate School Commencement form (available March 2017). Prior to completing the form, PhD. graduates should confirm whether their advisors will be available to attend the Commencement Ceremony to perform the doctoral hooding. (Advisors who are not available to attend the ceremony generally provide recommendations for alternate faculty members.)


All students, staff, faculty and friends and family of the participants are invited to attend the Graduate School Commencement Ceremony on Saturday. Guest tickets are not required for this ceremony, but we do ask that you provide a rough count of those who will be attending to ensure that we have enough seating prepared.

Tickets are required for the University Commencement Ceremony on Sunday. See the Registrar’s Commencement site or their Commencement FAQ for more information.

Commencement Weekend:
Schedule of Events

Dates in blue have been confirmed for May 2017.

Friday, May 19
11:30 AM Graduate Mass and Blessing (Basilica of the Sacred Heart). All members of the Notre Dame community are invited, especially graduating masters and doctoral students and their families and guests.
Saturday, May 20
9:00 AM Assemble for academic procession (Compton Family Ice Arena)
9:40 AM Academic procession. (Cap and gown attire required.)
10:00 AM Graduate School Commencement Ceremony. Estimated end time: 11:30 AM.
Sunday, May 21
8:15 AM Assemble for academic procession into the University Ceremony. Graduate students will line up by the college from which they are receiving their degree (e.g., Arts and Letters, Engineering, Science). See the Registrar’s Commencement site for more information.
9:00 AM University Commencement Ceremony. See the Registrar’s Commencement site for more information.

Commencement Contact Information

  • Graduate School Commencement questions: Please email questions to or contact the Graduate School main office at 574-631-5536.
  • University Commencement and diploma-related questions: Please email

Graduate School Commencement 2008

Important Links

Links to action items will be updated by early March.


Associated Dates and Deadlines

Dates in blue have been updated to reflect May 2017 deadlines. Check back in early March for further updates.

3/22 Academic regalia: Purchase/rent academic regalia at the Hammes ND Bookstore Graduation Fair (9AM–7PM).
3/23 Academic regalia: After the Graduation Fair, students may rent doctoral regalia or purchase master’s regalia at the second floor jewelry counter of the Hammes Notre Dame Bookstore. Master’s students may also order online at If you have questions or are unable to visit the bookstore to rent a doctoral gown, contact Tricia Aschenbrenner at or (574) 631-1399.
3/23 Deadline for changes to the diploma and Commencement program. Changes requested after this date will incur an additional fee. Complete the Graduation Application to make changes (updated application will be available in early March 2017).
3/23 Last day to order tickets for the University Commencement Ceremony on Sunday, May 20. Complete the Graduation Application to request tickets.
3/31 Deadline for the Graduate School Commencement Form. All eligible participants (August 2016 – May 2017) are expected to submit the Graduate School Commencement form.
4/3 Deadline to purchase a doctoral gown. Orders may be placed at the Hammes Notre Dame Bookstore second floor jewelry counter, or by contacting Tricia Aschenbrenner at
4/28 Deadline to rent a doctoral gown. Gowns ordered after this date may incur an additional fee.
5/18+ Pick up doctoral gowns on the second floor of the Hammes Notre Dame Bookstore.
5/25 Deadline to return rented doctoral gowns to the Hammes Notre Dame Bookstore. Late fees will be incurred after this date.