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Northwestern University

Graduates Information

Graduating students can find information about the steps to complete prior to convocation and the sequence of events on convocation day.

Before convocation

1. Submit a petition to graduate

You are expected to submit a graduation petition form to the Office of the Registrar approximately one calendar year prior to your intended graduation date. Friday, December 13 is the deadline for students to submit a graduation petition form for June graduation and to have their name printed in the Commencement book. Review the graduation petition procedure.

2. Order a cap and gown

Online rentals are required. All information on how to order gowns online can be found at the Commencement website in early spring. The deadline to order gowns will be in mid-May.

3. Pick up cap and gown

Caps and Gowns will be distributed on the Ground Floor (book store level) at Norris Center the week prior to Convocation. Specific dates and times will be communicated in advance. 

4. Complete your reader card

Immediately before picking up your cap and gown, proceed to the Weinberg College tables (also on the Ground Floor) to complete your Reader Card. You will be asked to indicate your major** and the phonetic spelling of your name. The cards are collected at Norris and redistributed to you on June 20 prior to lining up for procession into Ryan Field.

Departmental Honor Cords will be distributed at this time.

** Please note: Students with multiple majors should only fill in ONE major on the card; students are seated by majors and are affiliated with only one during the ceremony. Be sure to fill in the major you wish to walk across the stage with.

5. Update your permanent address in CAESAR

Your diploma will be mailed to your permanent address, as it is listed in CAESAR. Updating your permanent address in CAESAR will ensure correct delivery of your diploma. (See Diplomas)

Convocation day

Prior to ceremony

1. Arrive at Trienens Hall at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, June 20 in their caps and gowns. Parents and guests should go directly to Ryan Field, as they will not be allowed in the East Concourse.

2. Graduates must check in at the registration table, where they will pick up their reader cards. Also at this time, graduates receiving Latin honors will receive a cord to wear during the ceremony.

3. Graduates will be grouped and seated by the major indicated on the cards. Please note that late arrivals will not be guaranteed a seat with their indicated major, so please be on time.

4. The procession from the East Concourse into Ryan Field will begin promptly at 10:50 a.m. Ushers will be on hand to help form the processional lines and to direct graduates to their seats.


1. After the Convocation Speaker’s address, graduates will rise and proceed to the stage. Graduates will hand their reader cards to the faculty reader and will proceed across the stage as their names are announced. The Dean and a faculty representative for each major will congratulate graduates as they cross the stage.

2. A photograph will be taken as each graduate shakes hands with the Dean. A second photograph will be taken after the graduate has exited the stage with the diploma cover. Proofs of these photographs will be available online within 48 hours of Convocation. (See our Photography page for purchasing information.)

3. Graduates return to their seats until the end of the ceremony. Please remain seated until everyone has crossed the stage.

4. After all graduates have been congratulated, the faculty will rise to lead the recession from Ryan Field. Graduates will recess under the direction of the ushers.

After Convocation

1. Diplomas will be mailed to the graduate's permanent address as it is listed in CAESAR. Please check CAESAR to ensure this address is correct. No diplomas will be available at Convocation. We anticipate diplomas to arrive in late August; contact the Registrar if you require degree verification before your diploma arrives.

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