Skip to main content Skip to secondary navigation
Advanced Degree candidates line up for a photo together.

Frequently Asked Questions

Main content start

The questions below will be updated as we have new information to share with our graduates and their family members. In the interim, please email commencement@stanford.edu or call and leave a message on the Commencement phone line: 650-725-9807.

Updated as of June 1, 2021

CAMPUS-WIDE COMMENCEMENT CEREMONY

GUESTS

DISABILITY ACCOMMODATIONS

REGALIA

EXPERIENCE

DEGREE CONFERRAL AND DIPLOMAS

TRAVEL AND PARTICIPATION 

FUTURE PLANS

DAY-OF LOGISTICS

COVID PROTOCOLS

CAMPUS-WIDE COMMENCEMENT CEREMONY

Will there be an in-person ceremony for Stanford 2021 graduates?
Yes. We will honor 2021 graduates by offering limited in-person commencement ceremonies held the weekend of June 12-13, 2021. The events will also be livestreamed for those not attending in person and will be recorded for later viewing.

When and where will Commencement 2021 be held? 
Stanford’s 130th Commencement ceremonies will be held at the Stanford Stadium. The ceremony for advanced degree recipients will be on Saturday, June 12th at 9:30am PDT and the ceremony for the senior class of 2021 will be on Sunday, June 13th at 9:30am PDT.

Who can participate in the ceremony?
Students are eligible to participate in the Commencement ceremony if:

  • They have had a degree conferred in Summer ’20, Autumn ’20 or Winter ‘21
  • They are expected to have a degree conferred in Spring ’21 or Summer ‘21

Please note that for attendance in person, registration is required. To watch the livestream, no additional registration is required.

Do graduates need to register in order to attend in person?
Yes, all graduates must register to participate in the in-person ceremony on their designated day. All eligible graduates were sent an email from the Stanford Athletics Ticket office on May 4, 2021, with information about how to register. Registration closed at noon PDT on Friday, May 7, 2021. Late registration is still possible. 

What if I can’t attend in person? Will the ceremony be available virtually?
Yes. The ceremonies will be livestreamed on this website, and guests and graduates are encouraged to watch at home if they are unable to attend the in-person event. A complete recording of the ceremonies will be available on Stanford’s YouTube channel following the event. The ceremonies will also be broadcast live on Stanford’s radio station KZSU 90.1FM and on kzsu.stanford.edu. Other events throughout the weekend will be fully virtual.

Back to top

GUESTS

Will guests be able to attend the ceremony?
We need to limit the number of guests in order to maintain social distancing requirements. Each student who registers to attend the in-person ceremony will be allowed to designate two guests to receive tickets to attend.

How do guests claim their tickets?
Guests claim their tickets from their registered students, who are eligible to claim up to two (2) guest tickets. The Athletics Ticket Office has sent emails regarding guest ticketing to those eligible students who have registered. All guests MUST have a ticket in advance of attending Commencement. No tickets will be available the day of the ceremony. All tickets are non-transferrable.

Students: Please be sure to reference your email(s) from updates@gostanford.fan-one.com, and follow the enclosed instructions – for registering and for claiming guest tickets.

Is there a waiting list for additional tickets? Can a graduate give their guest tickets to a friend if they don’t plan to use them?
Unfortunately, we are only able to offer two non-transferable tickets. Each designated guest will claim their tickets directly. Information about how to claim guest tickets will be included in the registration process when a student registers with the Athletics Ticket Office.

Back to top

DISABILITY ACCOMMODATIONS

How can I request a disability-related accommodation?
The Diversity & Access Office is coordinating all disability-related accommodations for all Commencement activities. If you are a senior or advanced degree candidate and need access information and/or accommodations, please contact the Diversity & Access Office directly at disability.access@stanford.edu

Please submit the Request for Disability-Related Accommodations form no later than Friday, May 28, 2021 to request accommodations.

More information about accommodations is available on the Accessibility page.

Where is disabled parking located on campus?
If you have a state-issued disability parking placard or plate, you may park in any of the following spaces on campus:

  • Designated blue disability parking
  • Service vehicle spaces (posted time limit may apply)
  • Commuter ("A" or "C") and residential permit spaces
  • Metered spaces (visitor spaces may require payment and will be posted)

If you do not have a state-issued disability parking placard or plate, a temporary disability parking permit can be requested by completing the Disability-Related Accommodations Request Form. Temporary disability parking permits issued by the Diversity & Access Office are:

  • ONLY valid in designated lots for Commencement
  • NOT valid in any disabled parking spaces on campus

More information about accommodations is available on the Accessibility page.

See Additional Accessibility FAQs

 

Back to top

REGALIA

Will regalia be required?
Regalia will be required for all graduates participating in the in-person ceremonies in the stadium. The online pre-orders for caps and gowns rentals ended Monday, May 17. Open stock will be available at the Bookstore on Thursday, June 3. 

For those who placed orders to have regalia delivered, please contact the Stanford Bookstore

Back to top

EXPERIENCE

Will there be a Wacky Walk?
We are working with student leadership to develop COVID-appropriate alternatives to the Wacky Walk and other Commencement traditions.

Will there be photo opportunities for graduates?
Yes. Visit the photo opportunities page to see a map of locations.

Can family members and guests visit campus to take photographs?
Guests will be able to visit outdoor spaces on campus. Indoor access to campus facilities will be restricted.

Will Community Centers host events?
Community Center gatherings will be virtual. Details are available here.

Will the Alumni Association be hosting senior activities?
The Alumni Association is working with student leadership to plan a COVID-safe social experience in accordance with the public health orders in place at the time. Details will be forthcoming.

Will there be a program?
A digital version of the commencement program will be available to download from this website.

Will there be a Baccalaureate ceremony?
Yes, the Office of Religious and Spiritual Life is planning a Baccalaureate ceremony, which will be held virtually on Friday, June 11, 11 am to noon PDT. All students and their families are welcome to join. Information is available here.

Back to top

DEGREE CONFERRAL AND DIPLOMAS

Is the in-person ceremony mandatory for graduates in order to have their degree conferred?
No. Graduates are not required to attend in person in order to have their degrees conferred.

What about diploma ceremonies?
Because of the overall impact of multiple gatherings on campus, School and departmental gatherings during Commencement weekend will remain virtual. More information on planning by Schools and departments is available here

How will I receive my diploma?
All graduates will receive their diplomas by mail. For information, please visit the Registrar's Diplomas for Spring Commencement 2021 page.

Back to top

TRAVEL AND PARTICIPATION 

I am a graduating senior but have opted not to live on campus this quarter. Am I able to attend?
All graduating students will be allowed to participate in Commencement Weekend activities as long as they are registered and are fully vaccinated or provide proof of a negative COVID test. Students who are traveling from out of state must be fully vaccinated or follow California Department of Public Health travel guidance in order to attend.  

Will housing be provided for me to stay on campus?
Unfortunately due to the complexity of COVID protocols we are not able to open on-campus residences for short-term use.

Will financial resources to attend be available for students and families with financial need?
The Opportunity Fund offered by the FLI office is available to support attendance by families with need. In addition, the Financial Aid Office is communicating directly with eligible students who are not already in the Bay Area to cover the cost of a round trip flight.

Is it possible the in-person ceremony will be cancelled?
We have carefully considered public health trends in the Bay Area and in California and are moving forward based on an analysis that there is little likelihood that we will have to change our plans. However, we remain subject to the State of California’s public health orders and may be required to adjust if the health orders change.

Where can I find information about lodging?
Links to listings of accommodations in the Bay Area can be found on our lodging page. While there is no official discounted Commencement rate, many hotels in the immediate vicinity, if reopened, may offer a special rate for Stanford visitors.

Back to top

FUTURE PLANS

Will there be another ceremony in the future for the Class of 2021?
Since we are able to offer an in-person ceremony this year, the University will not hold a second in person graduation ceremony for 2021 graduates.

If I am eligible to graduate in 2021 but would like attend a future ceremony, will I be able to?
A number of graduates who are unable to attend in person this year have told us they would like to attend a future ceremony. We are delighted to be able to offer 2021 graduates the opportunity to participate in the rescheduled in-person Commencement for 2020 graduates. Details and timing for that ceremony will be finalized in the next few months, as pandemic conditions improve and protocols allow. Simply update your alumni contact information here to receive information once it becomes available.

Are you still planning an in-person celebration for 2020 graduates?
Yes. The university remains committed to holding an in-person Commencement event for 2020 graduates. We are still operating within substantial constraints and will therefore offer our promised in-person celebration for 2020 graduates at a later date. We will be in touch with them when we have further information.

Back to top

DAY-OF LOGISTICS

What time should I arrive?
Gates at the Stanford Stadium will open at 7:30 a.m. Please be prepared to follow all COVID check-in processes and security requirements, including a clear bag policy (see below).

Will seating be assigned?
Seating is extremely limited and will be assigned in accordance with CDC distancing and California Department of Public Health mandates. Access to seats may involve stairs (see above for information about requesting disability accommodations).

Will food and drink be available and permitted during the event?
Water will be available inside the stadium. Food concessions will not be open during the ceremonies. Other food options will be limited to health necessities which will be permitted as long as they adhere to the clear bag policy below. Masks and face coverings may be removed briefly and only while actively eating or drinking.

Are there any restricted items and/or security requirements?
To provide a safer environment for Commencement at Stanford Stadium, the University has implemented enhanced screening procedures. In addition to the clear bag policy, there will be electronic screening equipment (metal detectors) in use at all venue entry gates. Before entering the stadium, guests will be asked to remove cell phones, keys and other large metal objects and must pass through the metal detectors. While we encourage guests not to bring bags, certain bags are permitted, as outlined by the clear bag policy, which limits the size and type of bags permitted to be carried into the venue.

What is the clear bag policy?
Items must be carried or fit into a permissible clear bag and are subject to search. Stanford may also prohibit items deemed to be a security or safety risk. Anyone possessing prohibited bags or items will be asked to return them to their vehicle, take them to the complimentary bag check station, or dispose of them in the garbage cans at the gate. Clear bags will also be available at the stadium. Please note: These policies are subject to change without notice.

What happens if there is inclement weather (rain/heatwave)?
The Commencement ceremony is scheduled to occur rain or shine. In the case of severe heat, information will be posted on the Commencement Weekend homepage with further details. The stadium is an open space and little to no shade is available during the ceremony. Umbrellas will be permitted. There will be no alternate locations on campus to view the livestream of the ceremony. Please take these elements into consideration when planning to attend.

How can I watch the ceremony live?
Livestream viewing: The ceremonies will be livestreamed for virtual viewing and recorded to be accessible on Stanford’s YouTube Channel.

Audio livestream and radio broadcast:  You can tune into:
Radio broadcast: KZSU FM 90.1 or listen to the on the live audio stream at:  KZSU.stanford.edu

What campus transportation is available during the weekend?
Much of the campus is closed to vehicle traffic and plenty of parking will be available near the stadium. There will be no other transportation around campus that weekend so please plan accordingly. For health and safety reasons personal golf carts are not allowed to be brought onto the campus during Commencement Weekend.

Will there be vendors at the stadium selling flowers and Stanford items?
A small selection of vendors will be located outside of Stanford Stadium Gate 5 until just after the ceremony concludes.

Ah Sam Florist
Ah Sam Florists will have leis and handheld bouquets for purchase at the Commencement ceremonies. These items may be pre-ordered online until Thursday, June 9th at noon. Ah Sam Florists will be at Gate 5 for purchases and pre-order pickups on Saturday, June 12th for the Advanced Degree Candidate Ceremony and Sunday, June 13th for the Senior Class Ceremony from 7:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

Stanford Bookstore
The Stanford Bookstore will have a variety of Stanford apparel and more available for purchase.

Stanford Quad Yearbook
The Stanford Quad Yearbook will have sample books and information about how to place orders online.

Back to top

COVID PROTOCOLS

What COVID-19 safety protocols will be in place for the ceremony?
Stanford is committed to taking all necessary precautions and following all state guidelines to ensure a safe event. Attendance will be limited to registered students and two ticketed guests. Face coverings and 6-foot physical distancing will be required throughout the event.

I am I allowed to briefly remove my face covering for a photograph?
Face coverings will be required during the Commencement ceremony and during Commencement Weekend while on campus. Students and families are permitted to remove their face coverings briefly for photo opportunities when they are on campus and away from the Stadium. They must maintain a 6-foot distance from others who are not part of their household. The general face covering policy can also be found here.

How will you ensure guest and graduate seating remains distanced?
All seating will be assigned in compliance with California Department of Public Health orders.

For out-of-state travelers, what proof of vaccination will be required?
For those traveling from outside the state of California, proof of vaccination will be required at the gates in order to enter the stadium. We will accept all legitimate evidence of vaccination, including vaccine cards, doctor’s certifications, and government documents. Photos of documents will be accepted. Only W.H.O-approved vaccines will be accepted.

  • Proof of full COVID-19 vaccination. The vaccine must be:
    • Authorized for emergency use by the U.S Food and Drug Administration (includes Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson and Johnson [J&J]/Janssen) OR
    • Authorized by emergency use by the World Health Organization (e.g. AstraZeneca/Oxford, Sinopharm, Sinovac)

You must be at least 14 days out from your second dose if you received a two dose vaccine, and at least 15 days if you received a single dose vaccine like J&J *In order to meet the definition of fully vaccinated, you will need to have received your final vaccine dose no later than two weeks before the ceremony.

For more information about travel from out of state, please see the State Travel Advisory currently in force and note that attendance at Commencement is considered to be non-essential travel.

For California in-state travelers, what COVID testing will be required?
For those traveling from within the state of California, evidence of a negative COVID test within the 72 hours preceding the ceremony will be accepted in lieu of proof of vaccination. Please be prepared to show a photo ID that matches the name on the test result. Note that travelers from within the state of California who are fully vaccinated may show proof of vaccination and will not need to get a COVID test.

What type of health documentation is required?
Our check-in process will require a review of your COVID-19 vaccine/testing documentation by our staff in order to receive your ticket and gain entry to the event. You must bring a photo ID that matches the name on your documentation and valid documentation of your test or vaccination. It is highly recommended that you bring paper documentation in case of technical issues the morning of the event.

  • For proof of vaccination status, please bring the hard copy of your vaccination card, a paper photo-copy of your card, or a clear digital photo on your mobile device. A signed doctor’s letter with medical provider license number and date, or official government document if you are an international traveler, will also be accepted.
  • Vaccination documentation should clearly indicate: 
    • Full Name
    • Birthdate
    • Vaccine name/manufacturer
    • Date(s) of vaccination 
  • Proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR or LAMP test should clearly indicate:
    • Full Name
    • Birthdate
    • Type of test (we are only accepting PCR and LAMP at this time)
    • Date of test
    • Test result

Will negative test results from other forms of COVID-19 tests (e.g. antigen tests) be accepted for entry into the event?
No, only PCR or LAMP test results will be accepted for entry.

Where can I get a COVID-19 test around Stanford?

What if I lose my paper documentation?
Digital copies of vaccine documentation will be accepted, though we strongly recommend that all attendees plan to bring paper copies of documentation in case of technical issues or poor cellular reception. Attendees who cannot provide any documentation will not be able to enter the event. There will be no areas to charge a device at the stadium prior to the event. 

To verify negative test results, an email or text message displayed on a phone or electronic device from the test provider or laboratory will be accepted. The information provided should include name of person tested, type of test performed, and date of negative test result.

What if I am unable to secure a test prior to the event?
Attendees traveling from inside California who do not provide a negative test result within 72 hours of the event, or evidence of full vaccination, will not be able to enter the event.

What do I do if I am unable to secure my second vaccine dose prior to the event?
Attendees traveling from outside California who do not meet the fully vaccinated requirement will not be able to enter the event. In lieu of vaccination, attendees traveling from inside California may show proof of a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of the event in order to attend the event.

We are coming from out of state and my child is not eligible for vaccination due to their age, can we still come?
California Department of Public Health requires that out of state attendees be fully vaccinated, so for this reason children who are not vaccinated are not able to attend.

We are coming from in state but I have concerns around securing a test for my child, what is the age cut-off?
Children age 2 and older need to be masked and children older than 6 months need to be tested. 

Will Stanford offer any onsite testing the day of the event?
Stanford will not be able to offer onsite testing the day of the event.

Will hand sanitizer be available?
Yes, we will have hand sanitizer available at the stadium and also encourage you to bring your own. 

Will masks be required?
Yes. Face coverings will be required for all attendees over the age of 2 at all times throughout the ceremony, regardless of vaccination status. Face coverings must cover the nose and mouth. Masks and face coverings may be removed briefly only while actively eating or drinking.

I’m not feeling well. May I still attend?
If you are not feeling well or have been exposed to COVID-19, please help us keep our community safe and stay home. The ceremony will be livestreamed on this website, and guests and graduates are encouraged to watch at home if they are unable to attend the in-person event.

Back to top