Graduate & Guest

Spring 2023

What is the difference between graduation and Commencement?

Commencement is often referred to as graduation, but they are different.

Graduation is when your degree is confirmed by the Registrar. Confirmation of degree completion will take place once all official grades are posted by the conferral/graduation date outlined in the Academic Calendar.

The Commencement ceremony is just that – a ceremony. The Commencement Team plans the logistics for the University-wide ceremony.

How can I make sure I do not miss any information regarding Commencement?

All members of the MCPHS community are encouraged to check their MCPHS email daily for important announcements. Information regarding the ceremonies will be emailed and posted on the commencement website. 

What is Commencement week?

Those participating in Commencement on May 11, 2023, may also participate in award, pinning or academic specific ceremonies. Candidates can contact their Academic Deans or Academic Program Directors regarding academic specific ceremonies. Commencement Week also covers other notable events like regalia pick up and the candidate exit survey completion.

When will candidates find out information about Academic Ceremonies?

Academic programs will outreach to candidates regarding Academic Ceremony logistics. Candidates can outreach to their Academic Deans or Academic Program Directors with questions. Please note Commencement information, logistics, tickets, and registration are separate from the Academic Ceremonies.

How do I know if I am eligible to attend the May 2023 Commencement?

The Commencement ceremonies will honor undergraduate, candidate, and doctoral candidates from all the following graduation/conferral dates from all campuses, including online students: December 2022, May 2023, September 2023.

I am not sure if I will be able to attend Commencement, should I still register?

Yes. Please register to attend the ceremony if you are unsure if you will indeed attend. If you register to attend, and eventually are unable to attend, no action is necessary.  

I am interested in applying to be the Student Commencement Speaker, what do I have to do?

The Student Commencement Speaker is an honor given to a graduating MCPHS student. This student will deliver a 3–5-minute speech to all those in attendance at the Commencement ceremony. To submit a Commencement speaker application, please complete the form linked below. You will need to submit a copy of your Commencement Address and a resume/CV with your application. Applicants will be required to have a 3.0 minimum cumulative grade point average at the time of application. Applicants must not currently be on academic probation or be under student disciplinary sanctions or student disciplinary review. Applicants must have excellent written and oral communication skills.

Additional Information: Application opens on February 6th and is due Friday, March 17th at 12pm. Applications will be reviewed by the search committee and a select number of student will be invited to an interview on Zoom. The selected Student Commencement Speaker is required to participate in pre-Commencement activities and will be seated on the main stage during the program.

Apply to be the Student Commencement Speaker

I am interested in applying to be the Student Commencement Singer, what do I have to do?

The Student Commencement Singer is an honor given to an MCPHS student. This student will sing the National Anthem at the Commencement ceremony. Priority will go to students who are graduating. Please submit a recording and application to be the Student Commencement Singer. Application opens on February 6th and are due Friday, March 17th at 12pm.

Apply to be the Student Commencement Singer

I am a faculty/staff member and a candidate, what do I do?

All eligible candidates are to register for regalia and Commencement whether they plan to attend or not. If you are faculty/staff but will be participating as a candidate, please follow all the same information for candidates.

If candidates do not attend Commencement, how do candidates get their diploma?

Candidates who confer their degree in May 2023 and do not attend the ceremony will receive their diploma via mail to the home address on file in Self-Service. Candidates can view and change home address on the Student Information Update page. Address changes made after March 1, 2023, may not be received in time. Do not wait to update your HOME address.

Candidates who are expected to confer their degree on a later date, such as September 2023 candidates will receive their degree via mail once their degree is conferred by the Registrar. It is imperative candidates ensure their HOME (not local) address is correct.

If candidates do not attend Commencement, how do candidates get their regalia?

Candidates can pick up their regalia on regalia pick up days during Commencement week. Candidates are also welcome to ask a peer to pick up on their behalf.

Are faculty, staff and students required to register to attend Commencement?

All candidates MUST register by March 20th . Faculty and staff who are attending must also register by March 20th. The deadline is March 20th, to ensure tickets, regalia and all other ordering and planning is done in time for the ceremonies. Late submissions will not be accepted. Please note the student petition to candidate to the Registrar does not qualify as registration to attend.

How do I get tickets for Commencement?

Tickets are required to attend the Commencement ceremonies. When candidates pick up cap and gown regalia, they will also receive 6 tickets to distribute to guests. 

Tickets must be presented to enter Commencement and seating at the venue is first-come, first-served. Children under 3 years of age do not require a ticket to enter.

In order to provide a fair and reasonable number of tickets to this special event, the Commencement Team is unable to honor any special requests for additional tickets. Candidates are welcome to connect with their peers for unused tickets.  

When picking up regalia, do I need my student ID?

Candidates must display their MCPHS ID or an ID card with a photo. If another student is picking up tickets and regalia on a candidate's behalf, the student picking up will need to display an email from the MCPHS account to their MCPHS account detailing this information.

Do not CC the Commencement email in your communication. 

Can candidates request visitation letters for international guests to attend Commencement?

Yes. Candidates can request Visitation Letters for International Guests before April 7, 2023. Once the online form is completed the Commencement Team will email candidates their visitation letters. Please note letters will be emailed within five business days on Wednesdays and Fridays. The issuance of visitation letters does not guarantee entrance into the United States.

Are there hotels available in Worcester Massachusetts?

Candidates and guests can visit the DCU Center for more information.

What are the arrangements for guests with ADA needs at Commencement?

Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis with a designated seating area for guests with ADA and/or mobility impairments. Wheelchairs are allowed in the venue; however, wheelchairs are not provided by the venue. Upon arriving, seek direction from guest relations staff to the designated areas. Guests with ADA needs are asked to enter through Door 13.

What parking and/or transit options are available for Commencement?

There are several city-owned parking garages and lots in the downtown area surrounding the DCU Center. Please visit the DCU website for more information about parking and transportation.

I have questions about candidate honor cords?

Please visit the Student Handbook regarding honor cords.

How will my name appear on my diploma?

Your name of record will be printed on your diploma. You may view your name of record via Self-Service.  If your full name is incorrect, please follow the name change request process on the Student Information Update page.  Name changes after March 1, 2023, may not be reflected on your diploma. Please contact the Commencement Team for further clarification.

Is there a rehearsal for Commencement?

There is no rehearsal for Commencement. Candidates are welcome to visit our YouTube Channel and view our previous ceremonies to have a general idea of what to expect. Please remember to review the DCU bag policy below, before coming to Commencement.

Does the DCU have a bag policy?

Yes. Small wristlets of a MAXIMUM SIZE of 5x7 inches will be permitted. Medical bags & diaper bags will be allowed and will be checked prior to entry. All other bags such as cross body, larger totes, back packs, duffle bags, etc. will NOT be permitted.

Visit the DCU website for information regarding their policies.

What entrance at the DCU Center should attendees enter through?

  • Candidates – please enter through Doors 1 & 2
  • Guests – please enter through Doors 10, 11 & 12
  • Guests with ADA needs – please enter through Door 13

What do candidates need to do once they arrive?

All candidates must proceed to the graduate check-in area when the doors open to receive their stage card and lineup number. Once check-in is complete, candidates must proceed directly to the lineup area. Guests are not permitted in the graduate check-in area.

Where will candidates be seated?

Candidates will be seated on the arena floor in alphabetical order based on Academic School and Academic Program.

When will candidates receive their diploma?

Candidates will receive their diploma at the end of the ceremony on May 11th pending degree conferral and financial clearance. Candidates must display a valid ID at diploma pick up. Diplomas will be picked up in alphabetical order. Candidates with a “hold” either with Student Financial Services or the Registrar will be unable to pick up their diplomas until their hold is resolved. If you do not attend the ceremonies the Commencement Team will ship the diploma via USPS to the HOME address on file.

Once candidates process across the stage, please go back to your seat. Out of respect to the remainder of the candidates, attendees will be directed back to their seats. Diplomas will not be given out until Commencement concludes.

Can candidates wear stoles, regalia cords or decorate their regalia caps?

Yes. Graduates are welcome to purchase graduate cords and stoles and decorate their regalia cap. Jostens offers various commencement accessories that graduates can purchase by visiting the Jostens website.

Are photos/video permitted at Commencement?

Yes. Photos and videos are permitted. Guests are not allowed on the main arena floor or on the staircases leading down to the main floor. Livestream links will be made available on the Commencement website on the day of the ceremonies. Recordings of the livestream will also be available. 

Once the stage photo is captured, candidates will receive an email notification within 5-7 business days from our photo vendor. If you have questions about the photo after Commencement, candidates can contact GradImages:

Will Commencement be live-streamed and/or recorded?

The university-wide Commencement will be live-streamed from the DCU Center. It will also be recorded and shared on our YouTube channel in the coming weeks after Commencement. Please visit our website or subscribe to our YouTube channel for when this is posted.

Do I have to stay for the entire Commencement?

Yes. Once candidates process across the stage, please go back to your seat. Out of respect to the remainder of the candidates, attendees will be directed back to their seats. Diplomas will not be given out until Commencement concludes.

How long is the Commencement ceremony?

The Commencement ceremony will be approximately 90 – 120 minutes in length.

What is the dress code for Commencement?

We recommend business casual. All candidates attending are required to wear regalia (cap and gown).

I picked up regalia and there is an item missing, what do I do?

Don’t panic. Our regalia vendor will be at the DCU Center prior to the ceremony to assist with adjusting regalia items. If you’re not attending the ceremony and are missing an item, please contact the Commencement Team within 48 hours for further assistance.

What does the graduation/Commencement fee cover?

It is a one-time fee that is assessed to all candidates regardless of whether they intend to physically attend Commencement or which Commencement they attend. All candidates are responsible to pay the fee in order to complete their degree requirements, have their degree awarded/conferred, receive their diploma and regalia (cap/gown). The fee is a one-time, non-refundable fee that is added to the student account.

I still have questions, who can I contact?

Please contact the Commencement Team by emailing Commencement@mcphs.edu. The Commencement Team will respond within 24-48 hours. Please note due to the anticipated high volume of emails we respectfully ask candidates to refrain from emailing multiple times.