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Applying to graduate

When is my graduation application due?

Bachelor's candidates

Undergraduate students must apply for graduation with an academic advisor. Once their application has been completed and received by the Registrar’s Office, undergraduate students are then eligible to complete the Commencement registration form. In order to access the online Commencement registration, spring and summer graduation applications must be completed by April 17, 2020.

Master’s candidates

Graduate students must contact their graduate program advisor by April 17, 2020 to have their name listed in the Commencement program. All graduate students must complete the Commencement registration form so that you can order apparel even if only participating in your department's hooding ceremony.

Does completing my graduation application automatically register me to participate in Commencement (or vice versa)?

No. Applying to graduate and registering to participate in Commencement are two separate steps. You must apply to graduate first and then register for Commencement. Commencement registration is open in May.

Am I eligible to participate in Commencement?

All undergraduate and graduate students who earned a degree in autumn 2019 or winter 2020, or an undergraduate who has applied to graduate with an academic advisor for spring 2020 or summer 2020 by the deadlines are eligible. Graduate students must contact their graduate program advisor for eligibility. You will then be eligible to register for Commencement when it opens online in May.


Commencement ceremony

When is the Commencement ceremony?

Monday, June 15, 2020

2:30 p.m.

Where is the Commencement ceremony?

Tacoma Dome, 2727 East D St., Tacoma (Directions)

Where can I park?

Parking is available at the Tacoma Dome for $15. You can also park around campus (regular parking rates and limitations apply) and take the Light Rail train to the Tacoma Dome station. The Tacoma Dome is about two blocks from the station.

How long does the ceremony last?

We expect the ceremony to last approximately three to three-and-a-half hours.

Is there a fee for Commencement?

Participation in the ceremony is free for all students and guests. However, proper academic attire is required for students and there is a cost for the attire.

When should I arrive?

Students should arrive at least two hours before the start of their ceremony (12:30 p.m.) Please come already dressed in your regalia.

Where do I go when I arrive?

Students enter the Tacoma Dome through the Exhibition Hall doors (next to the A Gate). Guests may enter through the C or Upper A Gate doors.

What do I need to bring with me?

Wear your cap, tassel, hood (for master’s students) and gown. Please leave other non-essential items — such as purses, umbrellas or coats — with family or friends. There is no place to store personal items backstage.

Is there a graduation rehearsal?

No. Students will receive instructions when they check in prior to the ceremony.


Diplomas and programs


Will I receive my diploma at Commencement?

No. Diplomas are mailed approximately 12 - 16 weeks after the end of the quarter.

How do I update my address for my diploma?

Login to MyUW to change your mailing address. Your diploma will be sent to the mailing address we have on file for you at the time you are cleared for graduation.

How can I get a copy of the Commencement program?

All graduates will receive a copy of the Commencement program after they are seated. Copies will also be handed out to guests.

How will I know if I’m listed in the program?

The Commencement program lists the names of graduates from autumn 2019 through summer 2020. Note: Spring and summer 2020 bachelor's degree candidates must have their application to graduate submitted and received by the April 17, 2020 deadline in order to have their names listed. Master's and doctoral degree candidates must contact their graduate program advisor by April 17, 2020 in order to have their names listed.

Can I change how my name is listed on my diploma or in the program?

Your diploma and the program will both use your full name as listed in your student record. Contact the Registrar's Office no later than May 1 if you wish to change this.


Bringing guests


Do my guests need tickets?

What time should guests arrive?

We recommend that guests arrive early to allow time for traffic and parking. The doors will open 90 minutes before the ceremony at which time they may find a seat.

Can my children/spouse/family sit with me during the ceremony?

No. Only graduating students, faculty and staff are allowed on the main floor during the ceremony. Guests must remain in the bleachers until the recessional is complete and the ceremony is officially over.

When deciding whether to bring young children, please remember that all children are expected to remain seated during the ceremony (no running up/down stairs, in/out of the aisles) and to keep noise to a minimum. Childcare will not be available.

Can I bring my pet?

For safety purposes, animals (except certified service dogs) are not allowed in the Tacoma Dome.

I have guests coming from out of town. Where can I find a hotel?

Check the Tacoma Visitors Bureau website for places to stay and suggested restaurants for celebration dinners.


Cap and gown


How do I order my cap and gown?

You must order your cap and gown online. Registration will be open in May 2020. 

How do I know what size cap and gown I need?

The caps are "one size fits all." The gowns are sized based on your height and weight.

Is there a charge for my cap and gown?

Yes. See the Apparel page for details.

Do I have to order from the university's supplier?

Yes. The gowns have the University's seal on them.

When and where do I pick up my cap and gown?

Caps and gowns will be available in William W. Philip Hall during scheduled pick-up times from June 4 - 6, 2020.  

What if I missed the deadline to order my cap and gown online?

You can purchase your cap and gown in person during the scheduled pick-up times in William W. Philip Hall (see previous question). Late fees will apply and selection may be limited.

Do I need to return my cap and gown?

No. Your regalia is yours to keep.

What should I wear under my gown?

Appropriate business attire should be worn beneath the regalia and you should wear comfortable shoes — the ceremony involves walking, standing for extended periods and going up and down stairs. High heels are not recommended.  

I am only attending my hooding ceremony and not the Commencement ceremony. Do I still have to order full regalia? (Master’s and Doctoral students only)

Yes, all graduates being hooded must be wearing official regalia at their hooding ceremony.

Do I wear my hood during the ceremony? (Master’s  and Doctoral students only)

Yes. Master’s candidates will be officially “hooded” at their program’s hooding ceremony held during the weeks leading up to Commencement. You should line up at Commencement already wearing your hood.




Can I use video or flash cameras during the ceremony?

Guests are welcome to use video cameras and flash cameras during the ceremony. However, guests must remain in their seats. Guests are not allowed on the main floor during the ceremony.

How do I get graduation photos?

A professional photographer will take photos of each graduate. They will take handshakes and posed photos during the ceremony. The photographer will mail proofs and ordering information within four weeks of the ceremony.

Will there be a recording of the ceremony available?

The ceremony will be live-streamed and available on the Commencement website.  The recording will be available for a few weeks after Commencement on the website.  




Are there other graduation celebration events?

Yes. Master’s and Doctoral students are encouraged to participate in their department’s hooding ceremony.  All graduates can find additional events on the Grad Week Activities webpage.  

What is UW Tacoma’s Twitter account for Commencement?

You can follow UW Tacoma's Twitter account at @UWTacoma. The day of commencement include the #UWTGrad hashtag on your own tweets to add to the trending topic.


Other questions? Please contact tcommenc@uw.edu