Frequently Asked Questions

Eligibility and Application for Graduation

Students who will complete their degree requirements within the academic year of 2021-2022 (fall 2021, spring 2022, summer 2022) are eligible to participate in the May 2022 ceremonies. Please see your advisor to confirm your eligibility.

This academic year begins with fall 2021 and ends with the summer 2022 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 2022 may be included in the spring commencement by permission of the dean of their home college or academic unit. Please contact your College Liaison to get get permission.

Commencement information is communicated in a number of ways. If a student has applied for graduation in the fall 2021, spring 2022, or summer 2022 terms, they will receive the following:

  • A ‘Save the Date’ postcard is mailed to students' permanent address in late fall. A different version with information about U.S. visa requirements for guests is sent via email to international students. Keep your address information up to date. You can find or change your permanent address in SIS, as well as edit the name that will appear on your diploma and create a special diploma mailing address.
  • Email blasts will be sent to students during spring semester. If you graduated in December 2021 please continue to monitor your RIT email account for May 2022 commencement information.
  • The schedule of Commencement ceremonies is typically posted on this website in late fall semester. Information about the receptions held by colleges and some departments is posted in March.
  • The RIT Commencement Facebook page also posts timely reminders and answers to commonly asked questions.
  • You can also contact your college Commencement liaison. Your Commencement liaison can be found here.

If you think you should be receiving Commencement mailings but you are not, check your Expected Graduation Term in SIS. Mailings are sent only to students with Grad Term of 2211 (fall 2021), 2115 (spring 2022) or 2218 (summer 2022). You can change your Expected Graduation Term with the form found on the Registrar website.

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. IMPORTANT: If you don’t apply for graduation, your name will not appear on the list of graduates that Barnes & Noble uses to give out cap and gown. Also, if you want your name to appear in the printed Commencement Program, you must apply for graduation by April 1, 2022. No exceptions! Best advice – do it when you get the email.

In the Student Information System (SIS), click on the "Apply for Graduation" link to proceed with your application. If you have already applied for graduation, you may view your status by selecting "Graduation Information."

Rehearsals are not held for the ceremonies. When you arrive at your ceremony lineup location, staff from your college will 1) show you where to line up and 2) give you a name card which you will hand to the name reader as you enter the stage. When the procession begins, all you have to do is follow the person in front of you to your seat. Staff from your college will let you know when it is time for you to go on stage.

Information about each college’s ceremony and the Ph.D. Hooding ceremony including graduate lineup time and location will be available on this website at a later date.  

Graduates from ALL colleges attend the Academic Convocation (Friday, May 6th). This is the ceremony with the Commencement Speaker, where your degree will be officially conferred by President Munson and you will all move your tassels. Graduates do not cross the stage or receive their diploma cover at this ceremony. That occurs at your individual college ceremony and the Ph.D. Hooding Ceremony. You don’t need to go to Academic Convocation, but we hope you will join us.

Yes. GradImages® is the official photographer for commencement and will photograph every graduate on stage and take a posed photo off the stage. By visiting www.gradimages.com/registration you will receive a coupon code for 20% off your purchase of $50 or more. You may register your e-mail and up to 6 e-mails of loved ones who would like to view and order photos. Your proofs will be ready to view online within 48 hours of the ceremony. In order to notify you when your images are available, GradImages sends emails and paper proofs by mail, along with optional text message notifications. Your information is never shared, and privacy is guaranteed.

If have any questions or concerns regarding your photos, please contact our Customer Service Department at (800) 261-2576, online at www.gradimages.com, or email ecc.giservice@gradimages.net. We have a large team of customer care representatives ready to help graduates and family members with anything they may need.

Family or friends coming from overseas will need to apply for B-1/B-2 Visitor Visas unless their country of citizenship is listed as a participant in the Visa Waiver Program. A short letter inviting your family members or friends can be helpful in explaining the reason for their visit. This letter should come from you and be addressed separately to each of the individuals. They should bring it with them to their visa interview, the Port of Entry, or elsewhere as needed. Each visitor should receive a separate letter. RIT does not issue these letters. Visit the International Student Services website for more information and a sample letter.

Candidates who are graduating from more than one college (e.g. College of Liberal Arts and College of Engineering Technology) may walk in both ceremonies as long as they do not occur at the same time. If they do, you should walk in the ceremony that is most important to you. Be sure to contact the Commencement Contact  for each college to make arrangements for both ceremonies.

Approximately 10 weeks after graduation, you will receive your diploma in the mail from the Registrar’s Office. Please be sure your mailing address information is correct in SIS. If needed, you can set up a special diploma mailing address. Note that if you have a hold on your account, your diploma will not be sent until the hold has been removed. Questions? Contact the Registrar here.

Send an email to Registrar@rit.edu with your name, UID and current address for the new one to be sent to.

Before Commencement

  • Academic questions should be directed to your academic department.
  • For commencement questions, contact your College’s Commencement Contact, e-mail graduation@rit.edu or call 585-475-5334.

During Commencement Weekend

  • Information Booths will be located throughout campus for your assistance. In addition, volunteers wearing yellow ribbons will be happy to assist you.
  • TEXT RITGRAD to 888777 to receive important updates throughout Commencement Weekend. Subscribers will receive event information, as well as safety, weather, traffic and emergency alerts from RIT. Your subscription is anonymous and you will be automatically unsubscribed from the service at the end of the weekend. You can unsubscribe at any time by replying STOP.
  • Get the RIT Mobile App for Apple and Android devices, or go to m.rit.edu.

Cap and Gown

Caps and gowns (regalia) must be worn by all graduating students participating in Academic Convocation and Commencement ceremonies. 

There is NO COST for regalia however, Undergraduate and Graduate candidates who will not be in Rochester to pick up their regalia at Barnes & Noble at RIT, may order their cap and gown on line. These candidates will need to pay the shipping cost.

Undergraduate (certificate, associate, bachelor's) and Graduate (advanced certificate, master's) degree candidates information:

RIT does not charge graduates (certificate, associate, bachelor’s & master’s candidates) for their cap and gown regalia and it is yours to keep. Grads will be able to pick up their cap and gown regalia at Barnes & Noble at RIT store between Monday April 18, 2022 – Saturday, May 7, 2022 during regular store hours. You do no need to place an order, just go to the store.

If you are not in the Rochester area before commencement and you do not have anyone who could pickup your regalia for your, you will need to follow the instructions below to have your regalia shipped to you. Although there is no charge for cap and gown regalia, there will be a shipping fee for online orders. Questions can be addressed to: regalia@rit.edu

Instructions:

  • Download the Student Regalia Shipping Form to your desktop.
  • Rename the file so that it reads "FRM_Grad_2022_SK_SHP_Student’s Last Name_Student’s First Name".
  • Open the file and fill in all required fields (outlined in red).
  • Save the now filled-in form.
  • Attach the saved form to an email.
    • Subject line must say “Student Regalia Shipping Form 2022 – Student’s Name”.  This will ensure that it is filtered into the correct folder and not lost amongst the flood of other emails.
    • Send this email to regalia@rit.edu.
  • Once your form has been received by Barnes & Noble @ RIT, it will be reviewed for errors (ex. blank fields, inconsistent spellings, etc.). You will either receive an email confirmation (if there are no problems with your form) or a request for more information/clarification.
  • Forms will be downloaded/processed in batches two times a day.
  • Due to the high volume of requests expected, please allow 24-48 hours for a response.
  • Forms MUST be submitted by midnight Friday, April 22, 2022 in order to ensure delivery in time for Commencement.
  • Your tracking information will be sent to the email address you provide on the form once your order has been processed.

If you have friends or relatives in the Rochester area, they may pick up you regalia for you. They will need to know the following information:

  • Your First Name
  • Your Last Name
  • Your Height
  • Your Approximate Weight
  • College(s) you are graduating from (e.g. CET, CLA, GCCIS, etc.)
    • If you are participating in all of the ceremonies you are eligible to attend (for those graduating from more than one college).
    • If you are NOT participating in all of your ceremonies, please let a member of the bookstore's regalia team know which ceremony you will be participating in (so they can better inform the colleges on how many chairs they will need for their respective ceremony.
  • Type of degree(s) you are receiving (e.g. undergraduate (certificate, associate and/or bachelor's) and/or graduate (advanced certificate and/or master's).
  • Whether you are graduating with Academic Honors. NOTE: This is different than being in the RIT Honors Program.

There will also be a member of the Bookstore's Regalia Team with extra regalia at every ceremony line up in the Gordon Field House and the Gene Polisseni Center.

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 graduates wear two cords knotted together. Eligible graduates will receive these cords as part of their cap and gown package. NOTE: Other organizations at RIT give or sell cords, stoles, etc. to their members. These items are not centrally managed. Please reach out to your organization for information.

NOTE: 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.

Only the Academic Honor cords are centrally managed. Many organizations give or sell cords and stoles to their members. Please contact your organization for information.

The tassel should be on the right side of the mortar board. During the Academic Convocation when Dr. Munson officially confers the degrees, you will be asked to move your tassel from right to left.

A bookstore staff member will be at every line up to assist graduating students. You can also watch these videos: undergraduate degree or graduate.

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 and Sciences from the School of Individualized Study would wear their graduate (master’s) regalia to both ceremonies. Be sure to contact the Commencement Liaison for each college to make arrangements for both ceremonies.

RIT has its own, university specific doctoral regalia. These are available for eligible Ph.D. candidates to rent for their ceremonies. RIT pays for your rental, however you are responsible for any damages and/or replacement costs. An Academic Regalia Rental Agreement must be filled out and signed before your rented regalia will be released to you (or whomever you designate to pick up your regalia for you), so please plan your time accordingly.

Order regalia now online (RIT login required). This will take you to the Faculty & Staff Academic Regalia page. Questions? Email regalia@rit.edu. Please note the deadlines below.

Friday, March 4, 2022 — Deadline for ordering cap & gown, for Academic Convocation, Ph.D. Hooding Ceremony and your College’s Commencement ceremony. 

  • ​​If you miss this deadline we CANNOT GUARANTEE there will be regalia available for you!
  • RIT’s Ph.D. regalia is a custom design, and we cannot guarantee any orders placed after this date.

Saturday, March 5, 2022 — Ph.D. Candidates trying to rent their RIT Ph.D. gown & tam after the deadline (March 4) will need to contact their department’s Ph.D. Coordinator.  

Monday, April 25, 2022 — Ph.D. Regalia distribution begins at Barnes & Noble at RIT store. We do not ship the Ph.D. gowns and tams. You must pick up at the store.

Wednesday, May 11, 2022 — Last day to return your rented regalia to the bookstore during store hours. The special RIT Ph.D. hood is a gift to you from your academic department and is yours to keep; however, Ph.D. gowns and tams are on loan. If you are unable to return your regalia in person, a friend or relative may do so for you. However, keep in mind that you will be financially responsible for all rented regalia that is returned damaged, or not returned at all.

Options for returning your rented regalia: Easiest: Return your regalia after your last ceremony at the following locations (look for the Faculty Cap & Gown Drop-off signs):

  • Gordon Field House: Return regalia to the Student Life Center (adjacent to the Field House), room 1320. 
  • Gene Polisseni Center: Return regalia to the tables in the east hallway (near the SpiRIT Store, across from the concessions).

How to wear and care for Ph.D. regalia

  • Do not iron your regalia as this will damage the velvet. We recommend using a steamer. Put it on a hanger to allow the wrinkles to fall out.
  • Questions about how to wear your regalia? A bookstore staff member will be at every line up to assist all participants. You can also watch this video for Ph.D. regalia. 

If you will be working in academia after graduation and will need regalia in the future, you can purchase your regalia. Please contact the bookstore's regalia team at regalia@rit.edu to request information on purchasing your own regalia.

Plan Your Visit

 

Please see  Updated Health and Safety Requirements for the latest information regarding COVID vaccination and testing requirements.

If you have recently tested positive for COVID-19, a repeat PCR test may remain positive for longer than you are infectious. If you have recently tested positive, you must provide:

  • official results of that positive test (no older than 12 weeks) from an independent testing facility, with a date that shows you are beyond the mandatory 5 day isolation period,
  • OR, a release from isolation notice from your health department (no older than 12 weeks)
  • OR, a negative antigen or NAAT test from an independent testing facility
  • Home test results will not be accepted
  • You must always wear a mask in the presence of others for a full 10 days from either symptom onset or positive test, which ever came first

If you learned you were positive via a home test, we suggest you get a test from an independent testing facility as soon as possible, so you have the official proof from at least five days prior to coming to campus.

No, tickets are not needed for any of our ceremonies. However for the Academic Convocation, guest seating is limited and will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. Overflow seating will be available in the Gene Polisseni Center, where the ceremony will be streamed live. All other ceremonies have ample guest seating.

For the Academic Convocation, you should plan to arrive on campus at least 90 minutes before the program begins. Doors will open at 7:30 a.m. for the Convocation.

For the college commencement ceremonies:

  • If you are a graduate, you should consult the line-up information included on the ceremony schedule.
  • Guests should know that we have ceremonies occurring all day on both Friday and Saturday, so you may have to wait if there is a ceremony in progress when you arrive. There is ample seating for all guests; seating is on a first-come, first-serve basis. Plan to arrive on campus about an hour prior to the start of each ceremony to allow ample time for parking and shuttling to the ceremony sites. If you have special seating needs, you should plan to arrive ninety (90) minutes in advance of the start of the ceremony. The campus is large and there is a lot of walking involved.
  • To ensure the highest level of safety and security, ALL persons, guests and graduates, entering the ceremony locations will be subject to security screening including metal detection gates and inspection of all bags. To expedite the screening process, be aware that all objects made of metal must be removed from pockets (though not bags) and placed in a bin for inspection. If possible, avoid bringing metal objects and bags to ceremonies. Please consider the time for security screening when calculating travel time to ceremonies.
  • We may also need to see proof of vaccination for all attendees 5 years of age and older depending on the RIT Guidelines for Large-Scale Indoor Public Events at the time.

Academic Convocation is for everyone. It includes the following:

  • A procession of the graduates wearing their caps and gowns
  • The official conferral of degrees by President Munson*
  • The address by the 2022 Commencement Speaker
  • Remarks by the chair, RIT Board of Trustees
  • Remarks by RIT's undergraduate delegate and graduate delegate
  • A rousing group recognition and celebration of all of RIT's graduates

*Graduates are NOT individually recognized and do not cross the stage at this ceremony. That occurs at the individual college ceremonies and the Ph.D. Hooding Ceremony.

Enter the graduate’s name on the List of 2022 Graduates and the details of their ceremony will pop up.

All of the ceremonies will be live streamed via the Commencement website. The links for the live streams will be available on the day of the event, shortly before the ceremony start time.

Yes. GradImages® is the official photographer for commencement and will photograph every graduate on stage and take a posed photo off the stage. By visiting http://www.gradimages.com/registration you will receive a coupon code for 20% off your purchase of $50 or more. You may register your e-mail and up to six e-mails of loved ones who would like to view and order photos. Your proofs will be ready to view online within 48 hours of the ceremony. In order to notify you when your images are available, GradImages sends emails and paper proofs by mail, along with optional text message notifications. Your information is never shared, and privacy is guaranteed.

Consult the Commencement Wayfinding map* for directions to ceremonies, receptions, info booths, real time Commencement Shuttle information and more. For ease of use, download the RIT mobile app for Apple or Android here. *This map is available only May 6-7, 2022.

Family or friends coming from overseas will need to apply for B-1/B-2 Visitor Visas unless their country of citizenship is listed as a participant in the Visa Waiver Program. A short letter from your graduating student for each family member or friend can be helpful in explaining the reason for your visit. This letter should come from your graduate and be addressed separately to each individual seeking to visit. Bring this letter to your visa interview, the Port of Entry, or elsewhere as needed. RIT does not issue these letters. Visit the International Student Services website for more information and a sample letter.

Dress for comfort – business casual is most common. Both the Gordon Field House and Gene Polsseni Center are air-conditioned. Our best advice? Wear comfortable walking shoes!

Yes, RIT Dining Services facilities and concessions stands will be open throughout the day on Friday and Saturday. Hours, location and menu information will be found at on their website during the weekend. Many colleges or departments host commencement receptions that include refreshments.

People without an RIT username can connect to the "RIT-Guest" wireless network. Open a Web browser and follow the on-screen prompts to get Internet access. Please note the following about this service

  • Guests must have a phone number capable of receiving text messages in order to register (carrier text message rates may apply).
  • RIT guest access prohibits access to some internal RIT network resources.
  • Students, employees, and others with RIT computer accounts should continue to use the encrypted RIT wireless network.
  • If you have any questions about guest wireless at RIT, please contact the RIT Service Center at 585-475-5000.
  • Students and staff of other universities may be eligible to access the internet via eduroam. Please visit the eduroam site for information.

The Academic Convocation, Ph.D. Hooding ceremony and the college commencement ceremonies are American Sign Language interpreted and real-time captioned. Both the Gordon Field House and Activities Center and the Gene Polisseni Center are equipped with an FM hearing assistance system. Receivers will be available at the ticket office the main lobby of each building.

Yes. Completing this form before May 1st will enable us to best serve your needs. Please complete the form even if you have a disabled parking permit from your home state. The designated accessible parking lot is G. This lot is serviced by wheelchair accessible buses which will take you from G Lot to the ceremony locations - Gordon Field House (GOR) and Gene Polisseni Center (POL). Please see the Parking & Shuttle Service page for additional information.

​​​​​​​ Both the Gordon Field House and Activities Center and the Gene Polisseni Center are accessible to those with disabilities; however, guest seating is primarily in the bleachers which have steps. Our ushers will find seats on the floor together for your guests; however, please note that accessible seating is neither reserved nor guaranteed. We recommend that those who need accessible seating options not in the bleachers arrive 2 hours in advance of the Academic Convocation and 90 minutes in advance of the college ceremony they plan to attend.

A lot. Our campus is large and there is considerable walking involved from all locations to shuttle stops. We encourage you to consider the distances you may have to walk and to wear comfortable shoes. A limited number of golf carts operated by staff will be available to help elderly guests or guests with special needs. Carts can be requested from any of the information booths, ceremony locations, or the main shuttle drop-off at Parking Lot D. For safety reasons after ceremonies, golf carts will not take on passengers until crowds have cleared the building entrances and the road is cleared of pedestrians. Please be aware that you may have to wait for a golf cart immediately prior to and after the Academic Convocation and college ceremonies when demand is at its highest. Thank you for your patience.

Lost and found locations will be available in both the Gordon Field House and Activities Center and the Gene Polisseni Center. At the end of each day, all items will be turned over to RIT Public Safety in Grace Watson Hall. To report a lost item, please complete this online form.

First aid stations will be located in in both the Gordon Field House and Activities Center and the Gene Polisseni Center. Please contact an usher if you need assistance.

Call boxes indicated by blue lights are located across the campus. If you need assistance of any type, please open the box and push the red button. You will be immediately connected with an RIT Public Safety dispatcher. You may wish to download the Tiger Safe App.

As part of an ongoing effort to ensure a safe and enjoyable event, all bags will be checked and guests will walk through metal detection gates prior to entering the Gordon Field House and Activities Center and the Gene Polisseni Center.

The following are prohibited:

  • Air horns, balls, balloons, beach balls, laser pointers, noise makers, inflatables, alcohol.
  • Firearms, explosives, fireworks, sparklers

Strollers and wheelchairs are permitted, but cannot be parked in the aisle. Please ask a volunteer to assist you. Service dogs are the only animals permitted inside of Commencement Weekend venues.

RIT is a tobacco-restricted university. Use of tobacco products is restricted to designated areas. The smoking area behind and between the Schmitt Interfaith (SMT) and the August Student Health (AUG) Centers is closest to the ceremony locations (Gordon Field House and Gene Polisseni Center).Smoking, including e-cigarettes, is not permitted in any of RIT’s facilities.

Smoking Area

We do not have wheelchairs available on campus. You can rent wheelchairs from Fonte Surgical Supply, 585-338-1000, or Westside Medical Supply, 585-227-8750.

Commencement Keepsakes

GradImages® is the official photographer for commencement. We are proud to support one of the biggest moments in a graduate’s life: walking across the stage and into the next chapter. With over 40 years of experience, we understand the importance of this moment and the desire to preserve these memories for a lifetime. Your proofs will be ready to view online within 48 hours of the ceremony. In order to notify you when your images are available, GradImages sends emails and paper proofs by mail, along with optional text message notifications. Your information is never shared, and privacy is guaranteed.

If have any questions or concerns regarding your photos, please contact our Customer Service Department at (800) 261-2576, online at www.gradimages.com, or email ecc.giservice@gradimages.net. We have a large team of customer care representatives ready to help graduates and family members with anything they may need.

Balfour Class Ring representative will be at  Barnes & Noble at RIT on Friday, May 6th 12-5pm and Saturday, May 7th 10am-4pm. Class Rings and custom commencement announcements can also be purchased online at Balfour.

Officially licensed, RIT diploma frames can be purchased at the Barnes & Noble at RIT store or online.

Flowers and RIT Commemorative T-shirts and sweatshirts, with the names of all graduates, will be for sale at both the Gordon Field House and Activities Center and the Gene Polisseni Center during Commencement Weekend. These sales benefit the RIT Student Music Association. You can pre-order flowers and shirts here.

Please download the lawn sign you'd like to use and provide your vendor with the PDF.

Digital downloads of each college ceremony and the Academic Convocation are available for purchase. The digital download of the academic convocation will include the official conferral of degrees as well as all platform speeches. The digital downloads for each college ceremony will include all platform speeches and the individual recognitions of graduates.

The digital download of college ceremony and the Academic Convocation are $20 each. The price includes taxes and fees.

Visit: www.vimeo.com/ondemand/rit2022 to purchase RIT Convocation and College Ceremony digital downloads.
Digital downloads will be available on May 31st

To receive updates and reminders, please click the “Receive Updates” button on the website.