When can SFS students graduate?
GSFS Students can graduate at the end of the Fall (December), Spring (May), or at the end of the Summer Session (August).
- Summer (August) Graduates: Students who can complete degree requirements during summer can march with the class at commencement in May. The names of summer graduates are called as the students cross the stage, however, the names of August graduates are listed in the Commencement Book in the following year.
- Fall (December) Graduates: Students who complete degree requirements in the Fall semester are invited to march with the class at commencement in May (the following year), at which time their names are listed in the commencement book.
What is the structure of the commencement ceremony? How long does it last?
In pleasant weather, the SFS Commencement ceremony is held outside on Healy Lawn. Graduating GSFS students report to assigned classrooms in White-Gravenor to robe and line up in alphabetical order with the degree program staff. GSFS students are brought out onto the White-Gravenor Esplanade where they will line up behind the University Registrar, followed by the Color Guard and the Marshals carrying banners for the school, who lead the student procession. (Rain site line up: McDonough Tent)
Dean Joel Hellman serves as the Master of Ceremonies of the Commencement Ceremony, which includes the awarding of the degrees. Graduating students cross the stage as their names are read, shake hands with the Dean and the President and they are then hooded by the Associate and Assistant Deans. The Commencement Ceremony normally lasts about 2.5 hours (90 minutes for the rain site ceremony).
The names of summer 2019, fall 2019, and spring 2020 degree recipients are printed in the Commencement Program. The names and honors included in the Commencement program reflect the academic record as of early May. GSFS graduates will receive their diplomas in the Healey Family Student Center immediately after the Commencement ceremony, where program staff and Directors greet students and families and offer good wishes.
Is there a rehearsal for graduation?
No. Graduates receive full instructions via email prior to the ceremony.
What happens during the procession and on stage?
Students must arrive on time! Bring your cap, gown and hood.
- Hoods should be carried on the graduate’s left arm with the bunting toward the wrist. The tassel on the cap is to be worn on the left side of the left eye at all times.
- Graduating students will march behind the Graduate Marshal. The procession will make its way down the center aisle. Ushers will direct the GSFS graduates into rows stage right. You should remain standing until the ceremony begins. (Rain plan: both stage right and stage left will be utilized for GSFS graduate seating).
- At the direction of the ushers, graduates will be asked row by row to stand and to move down the aisle to the left-hand stairs leading to the stage. Each graduate will mount the ramp to the stage and, when his or her name is called, proceed right across the stage to shake hands with Dean Hellman and President DeGioia, and receive the diploma translation.
- Remaining in order, each graduate should proceed to be hooded. Hand the hooder your hood, remove your cap, and turn to face the audience so the hooder can place the hood on your shoulders.
- Exit the stage to the right and return to your same seat via the Center aisle. Please remain quiet until all of the members of the class have left the stage.
What information is in the commencement program?
The names of summer 2019, fall 2019, and spring 2020 degree recipients are printed in the commencement program. The names and honors included in the Commencement program reflect the academic record as of early May 2020. Based on Spring 2020 semester grades reported after the deadline in early May, the final honors status can be different from that printed. We apologize for the incompatibility of the print deadline and the grade reporting deadline.
How will I know if the commencement ceremony is on Healy Lawn or in McDonough Arena?
If rain threatens the ceremony, we make a “rain call” and reconfigure our ceremony in McDonough Arena. Students will meet in the tent located outside of the gym and will be placed in alphabetical order by degree program and then by last name for the procession. Diplomas for GSFS degree recipients will be distributed in the Healey Family Student Center immediately following the ceremony.
Once the rain call is made, the University’s Inclement Weather telephone message will be updated with the ceremony location. The telephone number is (202) 687-SNOW (202-687-7669). You may also check the Georgetown University Commencement website for this information.
What about caps and gowns?
Caps, gowns and hoods are required for the SFS Commencement Ceremony. The hood must be that of the MA, MS, or MGHD degree, respectively. Students may purchase caps, gowns and hoods at the University Bookstore. Click here for more information about academic regalia.
What about tickets?
Tickets are not required for the SFS commencement ceremony, rain or shine.
Where can I get invitations?
The bookstore has vendors who sell personalized commencement invitations.
Who will be the commencement speaker?
The Georgetown University Office of Communications announces the names of commencement speakers for all Georgetown ceremonies about a week before Commencement Weekend.
When do GSFS students receive the diploma?
Diplomas for GSFS May graduates are distributed in the Healey Family Student Center immediately after the ceremony. Diplomas are also issued throughout the year for students who complete their degree requirements prior to May. Please note that your diploma is written in Latin. You will receive the translation as you cross the stage during the Commencement ceremony. The Georgetown diploma measures 17″ (43 cm) wide by 14″ (35.5 cm) high. Diploma frames are available at the Georgetown University Bookstore.
What about transcripts?
The graduate degree for GSFS is posted to the transcript each semester as degrees are awarded. Transcripts can be requested from the Georgetown University Registrar.
What happens if I owe the university money? Can I still graduate?
Students with an unpaid balance may participate in Commencement activities, but University policy states that any student with an unpaid balance will not receive a diploma or transcript until the account is settled. Please check the status of your account in early May to make certain that your account is clear. All outstanding balances (library fines, parking tickets, etc.) must be paid before Commencement. The Office of Billing and Payment Services will not be open Commencement Weekend, so accounts must be cleared in advance of the weekend. The Office of Billing and Payment Services can be reached by phone at +1 (202) 687-7100.
Will pictures be taken at the commencement ceremony?
Graduate photos taken at the SFS ceremony are taken by GradImages. They will be contacting students directly by mail. If you have any questions, please call them directly at +1 (800) 261-2576.
Someone that I invited requires special accommodations. What should I do?
Handicap-accessible shuttle service will be running throughout Commencement Weekend from parking lots to both Healy Hall (bus stop at Leavey) and McDonough Gymnasium.