LAS Commencement Frequently Asked Questions


What is the difference between Commencement and Graduation?

Commencement is a ceremony students may participate in for the purpose of celebrating the completion of an academic degree program. Commencement is held annually in May for students who graduated during the preceding year.

Graduation occurs when the student has completed all of his or her requirements and is awarded a degree. Graduation can occur during any semester. Attendance at Commencement is not required for graduation.

Who can participate in the 2016 Commencement ceremony?

Only students who are planning to graduate in Spring 2016 are eligible to participate in the 2016 Commencement ceremony. Students who will be enrolled in any number of credit hours during Summer 2016 or beyond may not participate this year; instead, they will be invited to a future ceremony which corresponds to their term of graduation.

What do I need to do to participate in Commencement?

After successfully graduating or submitting an Intent to Graduate for Spring 2016, students must also RSVP for the Commencement ceremony in order to participate. Under the Instructions for Students page, eligible students will need to fill out the online Commencement Attendance Reservation Form to reserve a seat and request tickets for guests. Students who do not submit this form will not be accommodated. Further instructions for the day of the ceremony will be sent via email to those who have RSVP'd.

If I filed an Intent to Graduate Form/Pending Degree List Form, do I still have to submit an Attendance Reservation Form?

YES! Only eligible students who have completed the Attendance Reservation Form may participate in the ceremony. In addition, this is the only way to secure tickets for guests. 

What do I do if I cannot remember my password to log in to the Attendance Reservation Form?

You will log in to the Attendance Reservation Form using your UIC netid and common password. If you have forgotten your password, please use the options provided by the Academic Computing and Communications Center (ACCC) to recover it. The use of netids for all Summer and Fall 2014 graduates has been extended through Spring to accommodate Commencement reservations.

I didn't receive an invitation in the mail. Can I still participate in Commencement?

Paper invitations to Commencement are mailed to eligible students in early March using the most recent mailing address on file with the university, but this invitation is only an announcement. All eligible students, whether or not you received the announcement, will be able to RSVP and request tickets for the ceremony using the online Attendance Reservation Form. As long as this form is submitted by the deadline, you will be able to participate. 

Is there a fee to participate in Commencement?

No. However, all graduates are required to purchase their own cap and gown. Academic dress will be available in the Student Center East Bookstore beginning in April. Caps and gowns cannot be purchased the day of graduation. Only those with correct academic attire are permitted to participate. Contact the UIC bookstore for more information at (312) 413-5500.

Am I required to attend Commencement to receive my diploma?

No. Diplomas will be mailed to you 3 - 4 months after your graduation is certified. Only diploma covers, not diplomas, are distributed at Commencement.

Is there a rehearsal?

No. Please follow all of the instructions on the Day-of-Commencement page (or Instructions for Faculty) for information on what to expect on the day of the ceremony. 

Reserving Tickets

Are tickets required for the Commencement ceremony?

Tickets are required only for guests at the ceremony. Graduates are guaranteed a spot in the processional, but all guests sitting in the audience will need a ticket to gain entrance to the Pavilion.

How do I RSVP and reserve tickets for the ceremony?

Eligible students will need to submit the online Attendance Reservation Form located on the Instructions for Students page by the deadline. 

How many tickets can I reserve for Commencement?

Ticket limits will be announced in March 2016. The number of seats at the UIC Pavilion is limited. So that we can accommodate all students and their guests, please request ONLY as many tickets as you plan to use. 

What if I want to change the number of tickets I reserved?

Until the RSVP system closes, you may reduce or increase the number of tickets you requested by resubmitting the online Attendance Reservation Form. 

Is there a way to obtain or purchase extra tickets?

Four is the maximum number of tickets allowed to each student at the time of reservation. There is no charge for these tickets, and UIC will never sell any extras. The number of seats at the UIC Pavilion is limited, and we need to accommodate all students and their guests.

Where are tickets picked up?

Tickets will be available for pickup at the UIC Pavilion Box Office (525 South Racine Ave) at the following dates and times. Students must personally pick up their tickets and show an I-Card or other photo ID. Tickets are available only to graduates who have reserved them.
Ticket Pickup Times


Can I have someone else pick up my tickets for me?

No. You must pick up your own tickets.

What if I am unable to pick up my tickets during the allotted times?

We understand that because of moving out of town, work schedules, etc., some students may be unable to pick up their tickets during the designated pickup times. If you are unable to pick up your tickets, they will be made available at check-in on the morning of the ceremony. You will need to show an I-Card or other photo ID to retrieve your tickets. Please make sure you check in early to allow enough time to deliver the tickets to your guests.

Do children need tickets?

Yes. All children, regardless of age, need a ticket.

About the Ceremony

How long will the ceremony last?

Approximately 2 hours and 30 minutes.

I am a graduating student. What time should I arrive for the ceremony?

Students must check in between 8:30-9:30 a.m. See the Day-of-Commencement page for more information on where to check in. 

What time can my guests begin to arrive?

The Pavilion doors open at 8:30 a.m. The ceremony will start promptly at 10:00 a.m.

Will I be able to obtain copies of the photographs taken of me during the ceremony?

Yes. Within 2 to 3 days following the ceremony, the photographs will be posted online and can be accessed via the following webpage by entering the last name of the graduate and the Commencement year: You will also receive proofs and order forms from the photography company to both the mailing and email addresses you provided on the Attendance Reservation Form within 2 to 7 days following the ceremony. If you have any questions or need assistance, you can call the photography company's customer service department at (800) 261-2576.

Will I be able to obtain a video of Commencement?

Videos will be available for purchase. Order forms can be found here.

How do I qualify for Latin Honors?

Latin Honors are awarded to graduating students based on UIC grade point average. Students eligible for Latin Honors will receive an email notification from the Office of the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Affairs. Please see this page for more information on how to qualify. Please note that because Spring 2016 grades will not yet be posted at the time of the Commencement ceremony, the determination of Latin Honors for potential Spring graduates will be based on grades reported through the end of the term prior to graduation. UIC will reserve the right to make permanent adjustments to the list of students receiving Latin Honors based on final UIC grade point average information.

Where do I pick up my honor cord?

Please plan to pick up your cord at Grad Finale sponsored by the University of Illinois Alumni Association. Grad Finale, a marketplace event for  graduating seniors, will take place on TBD in the TBA. If you are unable to attend the Grad Finale, cords will be available at the Honors College front desk (first floor of Burnham Hall) from TBA, or at Honors College Convocation for members of the Honors College. Cords will also be available the morning of Commencement; however, it is preferable that you pick up your cord prior to the event.

What color will my honor cord be?

Summa cum laude honorees will be distinguished with gold cords, magna cum laude honorees will be distinguished with silver cords, and cum laude honorees will be distinguished with bronze cords. Those who have been recognized for service and/or leadership awards will wear a red cord.

What color will my tassel be?

If you are receiving a Bachelor of Science, it will be gold. If you are receiving a Bachelor of Arts, it will be white.

What side of my cap does the tassel go on?

Tassels are to be worn to the front-right of the cap prior to the ceremony. When degrees are conferred, graduates will be instructed to switch them to the left-side.

I am a doctoral student. What side will my advisor stand on during the processional?

The advisor stands to the right of the student.


Where can I order announcements and/or diploma frames?

Announcements and diploma frames may be purchased from Jostens.

If I do not attend Commencement, how can I receive a diploma cover?

You can pick up a cover from the University of Illinois Alumni Association (UIAA) in Student Center East, Suite 520. Diploma covers are free until after the date of Commencement. Following the date of Commencement, diploma covers will be available for a charge of $5 from the UIAA office.

Who should I contact with questions about my diploma or to update the address my diploma will be sent to?

Contact the Office of Registration and Records at (312) 996-4381.

Who do I contact if I or my guests require special accommodations?

Contact the UIC Pavilion at (312) 413-5700.

Who do I contact if I have additional questions that were not answered on the website or FAQ page?