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Frequently Asked Questions

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Here are the answers to our most frequently asked questions. Click on the question to reveal the answer. We will regularly update this page with additional questions and answers as we approach Commencement Weekend. If you have a question that is not addressed on this website, contact our office.

  • When will Commencement be held?
    • The 2024 Commencement will be held the weekend of June 14 – 16, 2024. The main Commencement ceremony will be held in Stanford Stadium on Sunday, June 16 and begins at 9:30 a.m.

  • What is Commencement and how is it different from my school or department's ceremony?
    • Commencement is the main ceremony in Stanford Stadium where all graduating seniors and advanced degree graduates gather from all schools with their families, friends, faculty, and loved ones. This main ceremony includes the procession, President's address, keynote speaker addresses, and degree conferrals. The ceremony from processional start to recession of the stage members lasts approximately two hours. Graduates do not have their names called, walk across the stage or receive diplomas at the main ceremony. This occurs at their individual school or department ceremonies. School and department ceremonies generally happen after the main Commencement ceremony on Sunday (except for Business, Law and Medicine, which occur on Saturday afternoon) and at various locations across the campus. Many ceremonies are preceded by lunch or followed by a reception, but this varies by school and department.

  • When will my school or department ceremony be held?
    • The ceremonies for the Graduate School of Business, School of Law, and School of Medicine occur at various times the afternoon of Saturday, June 15th. All other school and department events will occur on Sunday, June 16th following the main ceremony in the stadium at locations across campus. Details for these events will be published on this website in early May and will also be communicated directly from the individual school or department with the graduate.

  • Do I need tickets for my guests and how many guests can attend?
    • No tickets are required for the main Commencement ceremony or Baccalaureate Celebration and there is no limit on the number of guests who may attend.

      Some events, including some department ceremonies, may require RSVP or tickets, or restrict the number of guests due to maximum venue capacities. It is recommended to contact that school or department directly for information about these events.

  • Will the ceremony be viewable online for people who cannot attend?
    • Yes, the main Commencement ceremony will be livestreamed on the Commencement website. You may also listen to live broadcast on Stanford’s radio station KZSU 90.1FM and on kzsu.stanford.edu. A complete recording of the event will be available on the Stanford YouTube channel shortly after the ceremony.

  • What is Baccalaureate and when will it be held?
    • Baccalaureate at Stanford is a multi-faith celebratory gathering for graduating seniors, graduate students, and professional students, as well as their families and friends. The ceremony serves as a bookend to the Opening Convocation held four years earlier and is a time to acknowledge the spiritual contribution to the education of the whole person.

      Baccalaureate will be held in Frost Amphitheater on Saturday, June 15, 2024 at 10:00 a.m.

  • Am I eligible to participate in this year’s Commencement ceremony?
    • You are automatically eligible to participate in the main Commencement ceremony if:

      • you have previously conferred a degree in Summer 2023, Autumn 2023, or Winter 2024
      • you are expected to confer your degree in Spring 2024 or Summer 2024
      • you are a coterm student who began your undergraduate degree program in Autumn 2020

      If you are still unsure if you meet this criteria, you can check your participation eligibility directly in Axess. In your "My Academics" drop-down menu, locate the "Univ. Commencement Eligibility" link. You'll be directed to a page that will indicate Eligible or Not Eligible, based on your student record. If you are listed as eligible, no further action is necessary. If you are listed as Ineligible but would still like to participate, you will need to request an exception. Complete the linked Commencement Participation Request form to request an exception to participate. Students who are listed as eligible should not complete this form. Instructions can be found on the Student Academic Services website.

      NOTE: This eligibility criteria only applies to the main Commencement ceremony. If you would like to participate in your school or department ceremony, please check with them directly for their eligibility criteria and any actions you may need to take to confirm participation in that ceremony, including walking across the stage and having your name called out or included in the program.

  • Do I need to apply to graduate to participate?
    • To graduate, you must have filed your graduation application by the required deadline (see the academic calendar for dates). Instructions for applying to graduate, as well as a graduation checklist, can be found on the Student Services website. If you are planning on conferring more than one degree — for example, an undergraduate and graduate degree, a PhD and master's degree — a separate application to graduate must be submitted for each degree.

      Eligibility to participate in the university's Commencement ceremony is based on a student’s actual OR expected graduation term. Expected Graduation Terms are based on matriculation year (e.g. 4 years after matriculation for an undergraduate student).
      Note: Expected Graduation Terms are calculated differently for graduate students. Graduate students should plan to apply to graduate or request an exception if they want to participate.

  • Am I eligible to participate in my department’s ceremony?
    • Each department has different eligibility requirements and processes to make requests to participate. Please check directly with your department regarding eligibility for their ceremony.

  • I was eligible to participate last year, but I was unable to attend. Can I participate this year instead?
    • You can check your participation eligibility directly in Axess, and if you are ineligible can request an exception to participate. In your "My Academics" drop-down menu, locate the "Univ. Commencement Eligibility" link. You'll be directed to a page that will indicate Eligible or Not Eligible, based on your student record. If you are listed as eligible, no further action is necessary. If you are listed as Ineligible but would still like to participate, you will need to request an exception. Complete the linked Commencement Participation Request form to request an exception to participate. Students who are listed as eligible should not complete this form. Instructions can be found on the Student Academic Services website.

  • I am a coterm or double major in different departments/schools, which department ceremony do I attend?
    • Most school and department ceremonies generally occur around the same time on Sunday afternoon following the main Commencement ceremony (except GSB, Law and Med which happen on Saturday). We recommend checking with both departments to confirm their planned schedule and see if it would be possible to coordinate attending both, however you may need to choose which to attend.

  • What else is happening during the weekend?
    • There are many events that occur during the weekend that will be added to the schedule as they are confirmed. Some events may be invitation only, such as Senior Dinner on the Quad. or some may require RSVP, such as certain community center events. There may also be other events, such as performances, screenings, award ceremonies and more that are hosted by various campus groups during the weekend. See the Stanford Events calendar for updates.

  • Will there be a photographer?
    • University communications will have photographers at the Baccalaureate celebration and the main Commencement ceremony. Images will be shared on Stanford social media channels and Stanford News site. Many school and department diploma ceremonies will have professional photographers on hand to take photos of individual graduates as they are awarded their diplomas. We suggest contacting the school or department for more information and details.

  • What COVID-19 health and safety precautions are being taken?
    • Up-to-date information about Stanford’s health and safety guidance can be found on the Health Alerts website.

  • How do international F1 or J1 students obtain a travel visa letter of invitation?
    • You may email commencement@stanford.edu for information regarding visa letters of invitation. Invitations are only addressed to the student, not family or guests. When requesting a letter of invitation, please include your full legal name and your degree program/school. Please note: Bechtel International Center does not provide Letters of Invitation.

Updated 4/10/24