Frequently Asked Questions

Eligibility and Application for Graduation

Students who will complete their degree requirements within the academic year of 2022-2023 (fall 2022, spring 2023, summer 2023) are eligible to participate in the May 2023 ceremonies. Please see your academic advisor to confirm your eligibility.

This academic year begins with fall 2022 and ends with the summer 2023 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 2023 may be included in the spring commencement by permission of the dean of their home college or academic unit. Please contact your College Commencement Liaison to get permission.

Commencement information is communicated in a number of ways. If a student has applied for graduation in the fall 2022, spring 2023, or summer 2023 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 2022 please continue to monitor your RIT email account for May 2023 commencement information.
  • The schedule of Commencement ceremonies is posted on this website. Information about the receptions held by colleges and some departments is posted in the month of March.
  • The RIT Commencement Facebook page also posts timely reminders and answers to commonly asked questions.
  • You can also contact your college's Commencement liaison. Your College Commencement Liaison can be found on this page under Contacts.

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 2221 (fall 2022), 2225 (spring 2023) or 2228 (summer 2023). 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 our regalia vendor 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, 2023. 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."

The student will need to fill out the Change to Expected Grad Term form on the Office of the Registrar website. If you are not sure what graduation term to enter, please consult your academic advisor or the Office of the Registrar at Eastman Hall (Building 1), First Floor Mon–Fri: 8:30am-4:30pm Phone: 585-475-2821 Fax: 585-475-7005

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 doctoral hooding ceremony, including graduate lineup time and location, will be available on this website at a later date.  

Graduates from ALL colleges and their guests may attend the Academic Convocation (Friday, May 12, 2023). 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 Doctoral 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.

Your degree must be certified before your diploma can be sent. The Certification Calendar can be found here. 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? Open a ticket with the Office of the Registrar. 

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. 

Undergraduate (certificate, associate, bachelor's and Graduate advanced certificate, master's degree candidates - there is NO COST for regalia and it is yours to keep. 

Ph.D. Candidates: RIT has its own, university specific doctoral regalia. These are available for all 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.

Graduates will pick up their regalia on campus. We are working with a new regalia vendor and have not yet confirmed pick up dates. Information will be posted here as soon as it is available.

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. If you are eligible, you will get your Academic Honor Cords when you pick up your regalia. Many RIT 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.

Take a look at these helpful videos to get an idea of how to wear your regalia: 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 doctoral 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.

    How to wear and care for doctoral 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?  Watch this video

    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

    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.

    Check back to this website. You will be able to enter the graduate’s name on the List of 2023 Graduates and the details of their specific 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, Westside Medical Supply, 585-227-8750 or or Nu Motion 585-385-3920.

    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 the RIT Campus Store on Friday, May 12th and Saturday, May 13th, times will be available in the spring. In addition to Class Rings, generic and custom commencement announcements can also be purchased online at Balfour. Enter Rochester Institute of Technology in the "Search for Your School" field.

    Officially licensed, RIT diploma frames are available to purchase at the the RIT Campus Store or online from our official vendor Church Hill Classics.   

    Contact RIT Campus Store at campusstore@rit.edu.

    RIT diploma dimensions:

    • Certificate, Advanced Certificate, Associate, Bachelor's and Master's degree: 12" x 10"
    • Ph.D.: 11" x 14"

    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. Class of 2023 signs are available now.

    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.