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Commencement for Doctoral Students 

Everything below in a single pdf document.

Degree conferral/graduation

  • Degrees are conferred four times a year: December, April, June and August.
  • Ceremonies take place twice a year: December and April (typically the 3rd Sunday of the month). There is one ceremony in December and two in April. See Records/commencement website for which college confers degrees at what time. 

When may I participate?

  • When your dissertation has been successfully defended.
  • When Psychology internship has also been completed.

Ceremony – you will be given tickets when:

  • You have applied to graduate (by 3rd week into the semester of graduation). Form can be found on Records website; send form/fee to Student Business Services with copy of Program of Study
  • Your name, dissertation title, home town, and current employment (or future/new) employment/position is given to the doctoral program director/coordinator so information can go into the Commencement Program and event script a month before the ceremony.
  • 6 tickets (free) for family/guest are allocated per student and MUST be picked up in advance of the event. There is a process for trying to obtain additional tickets on a first come, first serve basis. See Records/commencement website for details. Consult with your program as they may assist with picking up tickets if you are out-of state/country.


  • EMU doctoral students participating in the ceremony MUST buy or rent the EMU doctoral robe and hood. It is black with dark green trim, dark green velvet hood/EMU green and white on inside back section. The cap/tam is black or dark green with gold tassel. 


  • Please arrive early. You will receive instructions about walking in and the hooding process. Scrip information will also be verified. Press your faculty mentor to arrive early, as well, so they too can go over the process if they are new to their doctoral student-mentoring role. 

Parking and Traffic Congestion

  • Thousands of students and their families are arriving at the same time. Road and parking areas WILL be congested. PLAN EXTRA TIME OR ARRIVE EARLY. 

What to bring into the ceremony

  • Bring yourself and cap/gown. Period. You will robe in the graduate student room but once the ceremony is over, you will NOT return to the room. You will immediately exit the convocation center and meet your family/friends OUTSIDE. So do not bring purse or coat to the robing room. Either leave them in the car or leave with your family/friends.

Event itself

  • Doctoral students (in alpha order) lead the processional. You will sit with your faculty mentor/dissertation chair. The line-up will be student, faculty, student, faculty. You will be directed/lead by a faculty marshal.
  • Note: your faculty mentor will carry your hood.
  • You sit in the front row of students.
  • You will stand when the Provost begins talking about doctoral student conferrals. This typically follows the commencement speaker’s address.
  • The faculty marshal will direct you to proceed to the bottom of the stage ramp. On the way, your picture will be taken – you will be sent a copy but have no obligation to purchase prints.
  • When your name and dissertation title is being read, you will be walking up the ramp followed by your faculty mentor.
  • You will be greeted at the top of ramp by a dean who will assist the faculty mentor in hooding you (placing the hood over your head while trying not to knock your cap off your head…). You then move forward to shake hands with one of the Regents and receive your diploma cover. Once done, you proceed down the ramp and return to your seat, followed by your faculty mentor. Sit and relax. 

Diplomas and transcripts

  • Once your dissertation is edited and the Graduate School has signed off, your degree is conferred with the next degree cycle. Meaning, some students participate in the ceremony but then it takes some time to finish document edits. You will need to contact Records in writing to have them move/update your graduation application to the next semester -- Records_and_Registration@emich.edu
  • Once graduation is confirmed, the diploma will be mailed to you approximately six to eight weeks into the next semester.
  • You will receive a complementary official transcript also 6-8 weeks into the next semester. It will, however, show the end of term/semester date; not the date of mailing.
  • Transcript will be held if you have an outstanding bill with the University.
  • Additional copies may be requested from Records and Registration; see their website.