The Graduate Division Ceremony

Instructions for the day of the ceremony

Download the Graduate Division Ceremony Instructions HERE 

Check-In at the Events Center (a.k.a. Thunderdome)

  1. Plan to arrive at the Events Center (map) wearing your regalia at 11:30 am. This will allow time to check in, use the restrooms, find faculty, and line up.
  2. Pick up your stage pass in the Events Center. Signs above each table will indicate where you should check-in and pick up your stage pass.
  3. Staff will be available to help you with adjusting your regalia if necessary. Everyone is to wear their cap and gown; the tassel can go on either side for graduate students.  Master's students will wear their hoods. Doctoral students will carry their hoods and be hooded on stage.
  4. Listen for instructions to line up
  5. The procession will leave the Events Center promptly at 12:40 p.m. Don’t leave any of your personal belongings in the Events Center.

Only students and their professors will be allowed in the Events Center. Please ask your family and friends to go directly to the seating area on the Commencement Green and to take with them your personal possessions. The Events Center will be locked after the procession leaves at 12:40 p.m. Do not leave any personal belongings there.

Doctoral students: Arrange in advance when and where you will meet up with your faculty hooder.  Most faculty hooders will line up with you in the Events Center and sit next to you on the Commencement Green.  Some hooders will be part of the Chancellor’s Platform Party (meaning they will sit on the stage, not with you on the Commencement Green), so they will meet you near the photography station next to the stage when it is time for you to walk across the stage.

Stage Passes

The Stage Pass is a 3.5x11 card that is required to participate in the ceremony and is also used to record your contact information for the professional photographers.  Your name, major, and hooder (doctoral students) are pre-recorded in advance by professional readers from Marching Order and replayed during the ceremony.  To aid in correct pronunciation, please record your name with Marching Order by logging into their website with your umail account.

  • You will pick up your stage pass during your check-in process at the Events Center on the day of the ceremony.
  • Please review your stage pass. If any corrections are needed, you must go to the Marching Order table inside the Events Center to have a staff member assist you. Any changes will result in your card being read by a live reader on the stage instead of the pre-recorded voice. Middle names will not be read during the ceremony.
  • You must complete the back side of the stage pass in order to receive your free set of proof photos, which will be e-mailed to the address you provide approximately two weeks after the ceremony. A photograph will be taken at the bottom of the ramp (master's students) and another while you are shaking hands with the Chancellor. Doctoral students will have a photograph taken when being hooded and at the bottom of the ramp.
  • It is very important that you KEEP your stage pass with you to give to the announcer on the stage, as that is how your name will be read. Do not bend the stage pass.
  • Doctoral students: Your stage pass also includes the name of your faculty hooder.​ If your hooder is unable to attend last-minute, please alert the Information Table and they will help to arrange to have another faculty member or Dean Genetti hood you.

Line-Up & Marching

  • The Line Up Map will also be on the sign-in tables and in strategic places throughout the Events Center.
  • All Master's and Credential students will form a single line on the left side of the Events Center (as you face the EXIT door, scoreboard behind you). Students will not be lined up by major, but you may do so if you desire.
  • Doctoral students and their professors (hooders) will form a single line on the right side of the Events Center facing the door where you will exit. Your professor lines up behind you. If your professor will be hooding more than one student, one student will line up in front of the professor and the other student(s) will line up behind.
  • Doctoral students whose faculty hooder will be sitting on the platform will line up without him/her at the Events Center. Your stage pass will note whether your hooder will be marching with you, or sitting on the platform. Your hooder will be watching for you and will join you on stage just before your name is announced.
  • Staff Marshals will lead two single lines, doctoral on the right, master's and credentials on the left.  At the Commencement Green, doctoral students and their faculty will be directed to sit on the right, master's and credentials on the left.
  • This seating map shows you where ​candidates will be seated on the Commencement Green.

Doctoral Hooding

Please read the following instructions carefully. While we will be there to assist you, it will be helpful for you to be very familiar with how the hooding will be conducted.

  1. Marshals will be there to alert you to when the time arrives for faculty and doctoral candidates to proceed to the platform (stage). As you progress up the platform, the candidate will hold the hood. A staff member will be there to ensure that the hood is unbuttoned, and positioned to hand off (draped over your right arm).
  2. The candidate will hand their stage pass to a staff member at the top of the ramp. When the announcer takes possession of this card, faculty and candidate should proceed to the designated spot (marked with a large tape X).
  3. An Associate Dean will meet the student part way across the stage and take the hood. S/he will accompany you and the student to the spot marked with an X, where the hooding will take place in front of a photographer.
    • Tall students should bend their knees slightly as the hood is being brought over their head. When in doubt, watch what others do and then do the same.
    • Faculty members, if you are hooding more than one candidate, you will hood the first student as the student's name is read, then wait in place to hood the next student.
    • If there are two faculty members hooding a student, the Associate/Dean will hand the prepared hood to the faculty member on the right hand side.
    • Special note: re-buttoning and arranging of the hood should take place after the graduate and faculty have left the podium. Special celebrations (hugs, pictures, exuberant cheers) may take place off the stage at the bottom of the ramp.
  1. After the hood is in position, the student will turn and shake hands with the Dean. The candidate and faculty member will then proceed across the platform to shake hands with the Chancellor.
  2. After exiting the stage you will file back into the same row you were seated in before, approaching it from the left.
  3. Please watch this hooding demonstration video.

During and after the Ceremony

  • Out of respect for each degree candidate, students and guest are expected to remain for the duration of the ceremony.This is a joyous occasion, but a solemn one too. Please extend the courtesy to others that you would wish for yourself (such as turning off cell phones, etc).
  • The ceremony should conclude by 3:15 p.m. At the ceremony’s conclusion, the Marshals will lead the rows back up to the top of the center aisle. You may then disperse and join your families and friends.
  • Immediately after the ceremony, return gowns and hoods to the UCSB Bookstore tent. Graduates may keep their caps and tassels. Look for "Gown Return" signs at the far end of the Commencement site.

Professional Photographs

Your stage pass is also your photography slip. Please be sure to include your permanent email address indicating where your commencement ceremony photo proofs can be sent. Commencement photographs and DVDs will be available from GradImages.

Master's students—one photograph will be taken at the bottom of the ramp. Please do not hold up the line for other impromptu photographs.

Doctoral students—one photograph will be taken at the bottom of the ramp, one while being hooded, and one at the other ramp before you are seated again.