Frequently Asked Questions

Caps & Gowns (Regalia) Information for Graduates EXCEPT Ph.D. Candidates

Order directly from Oak Hall for shipment to your home. Last day to place an order is Friday, June 5, 2020 To ensure you receive the correct items, please read the FAQs about Academic Honor Cords, BS/MS, and BS/ME degrees before placing your order.

There is NO CHARGE for your regalia.

Undergraduate and master’s level regalia is yours to keep.

Candidates walking for multiple level degrees do not (typically) wear multiple gowns. Instead, they wear the regalia that corresponds to their highest degree. For example, someone walking for an MBA from Saunders College of Business and an AAS (Associate in Applied Arts & Sciences) from the School of Individualized Study would wear their graduate (master’s) regalia to both ceremonies. 

On the Oak Hall website,choose one of the Dual Degree packages. If you have earned Academic Honors in your bachelor’s program, be sure to pick one of the packages with the words “Honors” and “3.4 cum GPA or higher” as only these packages include the Academic Honors cords.

On the Oak Hall website, there are separate “packages” for graduates receiving Associate, Bachelor’s, Master’s, or Dual Degrees (BS/MS, BS/ME).  Within these groups, you should choose a package that includes the words “Honors” and “3.4 cum GPA or higher” as only these packages include the Academic Honors cords.

At RIT, only the Academic Honor Cords are managed centrally. They are part of the cap and gown package.  All of the many other cords, stoles, pins, etc. that grads receive come from the organizations they have been a part of during their time at RIT. You should contact the organizations directly for more information.

Graduation Celebrations

The RIT community looks forward to celebrating the Class of 2020 and the Class of 2021 in May. In accordance with New York State’s COVID-19 guidelines, we plan to host small in-person commencement ceremonies recognizing the accomplishments of the Class of 2021 on May 14 and 15. We have set aside Sunday, May 16, to honor the Class of 2020. 

In light of current New York state regulations, we will not allow guests to our indoor ceremonies. We fully understand how disappointing this news is for family and friends; however, all ceremonies will be live-streamed. Recordings will also be made available afterward for those who are unable to view the event live.

 

We plan to host small in-person commencement ceremonies for RIT’s graduating students. In light of current New York state regulations, we will not allow guests to our indoor ceremonies. We fully understand how disappointing this news is for family and friends; however, all ceremonies will be live-streamed. Recordings will also be made available afterward for those who are unable to view the event live.

For planning purposes for staff and use of our facilities, this is the best time to hold in-person ceremonies on campus under current NY state guidelines. Many logistics are involved in planning a ceremony in a space that was previously used for testing our students. While more people are getting vaccinated, we can’t anticipate the future of virus transmission.

We do not have the space requirements required by New York State to safely hold the ceremonies if guests are in attendance. We fully understand how disappointing this news is for family and friends, and we are doing our best to give graduates an in-person graduation.

Issuing tickets will allow us to have an accurate record of who attends each ceremony, with the necessary information for contact tracing if it becomes necessary.  Tickets will also help us comply with facility occupancy limits.

All of the ceremonies will be live-streamed. Digital downloads will be available for purchase after each ceremony.

Graduates will receive a program at the in-person ceremony in May. You can also download a PDF version of the 2021 Commencement book when it is available in May.

We have set aside Sunday, May 16, to honor the Class of 2020. They will be able to attend and walk across the stage.

There is no charge for cap and gown. Information regarding distribution for Class of 2021 graduates will be available on this site at a later date. Class of 2020 graduates will need to bring their regalia with them.

Anyone in attendance will be asked to follow COVID-19 safety protocols:

  1. Wear a mask: Any time members of the RIT community and visitors on campus are in the presence of others or moving through space occupied by others, they must wear acceptable face masks that covers your nose and mouth regardless of the distance between themselves and others.
  2. Watch your distance: Physical distancing requires that members of the RIT community and visitors to campus  ensure that they maintain at least six feet of distance between themselves, unless safety or core function of the work activity requires a shorter distance.

The health and safety of the RIT community is a priority. University leaders are working to determine the guidelines to celebrate commencement safely.  

At this time, no commencement receptions are being planned, due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Eligibility and Application for Graduation

Students who will complete their degree requirements within the academic year of 2020-2021 (fall 2020, spring 2021, summer 2021) are eligible to participate in the May 2021 ceremonies. Please see your advisor to confirm your eligibility.

The academic year begins with fall and ends with the summer term. If you complete your coursework in fall, spring or summer you will be included in the spring commencement of that academic year. Students completing in the following fall may be included in the spring commencement by permission of the dean of their home college or academic unit.

Fill out the Change to Expected Grad Term form on the Office of the Registrar website https://www.rit.edu/academicaffairs/registrar/sites/rit.edu.academicaffairs.registrar/files/change_to_expected_grad_term_form_2-12-15.pdf  If you are not graduating, but are receiving Commencement mailings, completing this form will remove you from mailing lists until your next expected Grad Term.

Once a student is eligible to apply for graduation, the Office of the Registrar will send an email each month to complete the application for graduation in SIS, and a notification will pop up on the student’s SIS account indicating they are eligible to apply for graduation.  To access SIS, visit http://sis.rit.edu. In SIS, you can change your permanent address or setup a special one for diploma delivery, as well as edit how your name will appear on the diploma. Helpful SIS screen shots available here.

Undergraduate* students/candidates graduating with honors are indicated with an * in the Commencement Book.  The designations that appear in the Commencement Book are based on a student’s GPA at the end of the preceding fall semester.  Final honors designations will be posted to the undergraduate’s academic record and reflected on his/her transcript based upon the cumulative GPA upon certification of the completion of degree requirements.  Because the final honors designations include all degree requirements, they may be different from those indicated in the Commencement Book.
The numerical criteria for graduation with honors are as follows:
•    Cum Laude is equal to a cumulative GPA of 3.40 or greater (*)
•    Magna Cum Laude is equal to a cumulative GPA of 3.60 - 3.79 or greater (**)
•    Summa Cum Laude is equal to a cumulative GPA of 3.80 - 4.00 or greater (***)
Regardless of the level of honors earned, all graduate wear two cords knotted together.
*Per policy D05.1 Academic Actions and Recognitions, degree honors are applicable to undergraduate students only.
 
To graduate from the RIT Honors Program, the undergraduate student must fulfill all degree program requirements and Honors Program requirements as outlined below:
•    3.6 or higher GPA
•    Successful completion of 12 honors points, either Honors Courses or other activities
•    Successful participation in 20 hours of Complementary Learning activities annually

Undergraduate students/candidates graduating from the RIT Honors Program are designated in the Commencement Book with the § symbol. The designations that appear in the Commencement Book are based on the undergraduate student’s progress in the RIT Honors Program as of the end of the preceding fall semester. Final RIT Honors Program designations will be noted on the student’s transcript and may be different than the designations in the Commencement Book. 

Approximately 10 weeks after graduation, you will receive your diploma in the mail from the Registrar's Office. Please be sure your mailing information is correct on SIS. If desired, you can set up a special diploma mailing address. Contact the Registrar here.