Commencement Frequently Asked Questions


Will 2020 Winter Commencement be held in person or online?

UMGC will celebrate its summer and fall 2020 degree recipients and candidates with a virtual commencement that premieres on Saturday, December 19, 2020, with a special live program beginning at 12 noon eastern time and running for approximately 25 minutes.

Other elements of virtual commencement may be viewed at your convenience, and the short program will be available for on-demand viewing if you miss the live broadcast.

How do my loved ones and I access the virtual winter commencement?

Commencement Services will email you the link to access the ceremony in advance. Virtual Winter Commencement opens December 19, 2020. Start checking your email about 24 hours before the live program.

The access link will also be posted on our Adelphi Commencement homepage.

Do I have to buy regalia to participate in virtual commencement?

No. You don't have to buy anything, and there is no fee to participate.

That said, you are welcome to purchase regalia (or rent it, if you're a doctoral candidate) for picture taking or as a keepsake from the occasion.

And a class ring or diploma frame is always a nice gift from loved ones or to yourself.

Visit to purchase these and other official UMGC items.

Will there be a "makeup" in-person winter commencement?

While we have had to postpone our in-person winter commencement because of the ongoing coronavirus crisis, we do plan to hold an in-person event sometime in the future (when federal, state, and local health guidelines allow) that will give you the opportunity to cross the stage and hear your name called. In the meantime, we look forward to celebrating with you virtually on December 19.

If I participate in the virtual commencement, will I be able to attend the in-person "makeup" commencement in the future?


Participating in the virtual celebration does not prevent you from walking at the future in-person "makeup" commencement.

Who will be recognized at 2020 Virtual Winter Commencement?

More than 6,500 students will be recognized during virtual winter commencement. This group comprises doctoral, master's, bachelor's, and associate degree recipients and candidates from the summer and fall 2020 terms.

Each student will have a multimedia slide featuring his or her name, degree, academic honors (for bachelor's degree recipients only), and a personalized photo and message if desired. Clicking on the slide lets you and your loved ones hear your name read by a professional name reader.

Do I have to register for Virtual Winter Commencement?

No, but you will be asked to record your name to help our name readers with the correct pronunciation.

We will also offer you the opportunity to personalize your name slide by adding a photo and/or a short message to your loved ones using our MarchingOrder system.

Watch for an email from Commencement Services with instructions and the link to submit your info.

What about doctoral candidates?

Doctoral degree recipients from the summer and fall 2020 terms were not scheduled to walk during the in-person winter 2020 commencement. (The in-person doctoral commencement is held once annually, in May.) However, during these unprecedented times, we thought it would be nice to include this group in our virtual winter celebration.

If you are a summer or fall 2020 doctoral graduate, you will still be invited to attend the in-person 2021 Doctoral Commencement, currently scheduled for May 13, 2021. Participating in this virtual celebration does not affect your future in-person commencement.

As plans for 2021 become clearer in the early spring, you will receive information from Commencement Services about that in-person ceremony.

Will there be any commencement mailings?

Yes. We will mail you a Grad Pack by Thanksgiving that contains goodies to help get you in the commencement spirit!

Your pack will include a black mortarboard cap and souvenir Class of 2020 tassel. We encourage you to decorate that cap and submit your best design to our cap decorating challenge (and on social media using #UMGCGrad). Watch for more information about the cap decorating challenge by email.

How long is virtual commencement?

Virtual commencement is a web page that goes live on December 19, 2020. You and your loved ones may visit that page at any time from December 19 through April 1, 2021

On December 19 only, a special live program will start at 12 noon and last approximately 25 minutes.

Are graduation and commencement the same thing?

At UMGC, graduation and commencement are different.

Graduation is the act of completing all of your requirements and earning your diploma. For students in most programs, diplomas are awarded three times a year (August, December, and May) at the end of the summer, fall, and spring terms. Certain graduate students have a four-term schedule, with degrees awarded at the end of the summer, fall, winter, and spring terms.

Remember, you have to apply and pay a fee to graduate (i.e., receive your diploma). Applying to graduate by the appropriate deadline is what makes you eligible to participate in commencement.

Commencement is the formal ceremony that celebrates you and your accomplishments.

Contact Graduation Services if you have questions about graduation (that is, applying for your diploma) by emailing