Graduate & Guest

December Commencement 2023 FAQ

What is the difference between graduation and Commencement?

Commencement is a Ceremony held in December for selected academic programs and again in May that honors students who just have or will soon graduate. Graduation is degree conferral after all official grades are posted by the date outlined on the Academic Calendar.

If you are not enrolled in one of the selected programs for the December Ceremony, you will receive registration and regalia ordering information in your student email account in January 2024 in preparation for the May 2024 ceremonies.

What academic schools are eligible for the December 2023 Commencement Ceremony? What if my academic school is not listed but I expect to finish my degree in December?

The following academic schools are participating in the December 2023 Ceremony, only:

  • Forsyth School of Dental Hygiene
  • School of Medical Imaging and Therapeutics
  • School of Nursing
  • School of Physician Assistant Studies - Manchester/Worcester

If your academic program is affiliated with a different academic school (ex: School of Pharmacy, School of Arts & Sciences) then your academic school/program will be joining us for the May 2024 ceremonies.

I completed my degree in December, but my program is not listed for the December Commencement, what does that mean?

Candidates who have conferred/completed their degree in December but are not enrolled in the Forsyth School of Dental Hygiene, School of Medical Imaging & Therapeutics, School of Nursing and School of Physician Assistant Studies (M/W) are invited to our May 2024 ceremonies. For those who conferred their degree in December, your diploma will be ordered and mailed to the home address on file in self-service. The Commencement Team will contact your student email in late January for regalia ordering and logistics about our May 2024 Ceremony.

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

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

What is Commencement week?

Those participating in Commencement may also participate in award, pinning, or academic-specific ceremonies. Graduates can contact their academic deans/directors regarding academic-specific ceremonies and logistics. Commencement week also covers other notable events like regalia pick up and the graduate exit survey completion.

When will graduates find out information about academic ceremonies?

At the conclusion of the Commencement ceremony, each academic program will be hosting an academic ceremony that may involve special recognition, pinning and/or award. Academic programs will outreach to graduates regarding academic ceremony logistics. Candidates are welcome to outreach to their academic program regarding logistics specific to the academic ceremonies.

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. The Commencement Student Speaker and Singer will be asked to join a pre-Commencement rehearsal. 

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. Submit a Commencement speaker application, with a copy of your Commencement address and a resume/CV by 4:30p.m. on October 25, 2023.

Applicants are 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.

Applications will be reviewed by the search committee and a select number of students will be invited to interview on Zoom. The selected Student Commencement Speaker is required to participate in pre-Commencement rehearsal and will be seated on the main stage during the ceremony.

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 a MCPHS student. This student will sing the National Anthem of the United States of America to all those in attendance at the Commencement Ceremony. Priority will go to students who are also graduate candidates.

Submit a recording and singer application before October 25, 2023. Applications will be reviewed by the search committee. The selected Student Commencement Singer is required to participate in pre-Commencement rehearsal.

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

Graduates must display their MCPHS ID at regalia pick up.

I cannot pick up my regalia and tickets at the date/times listed, what do I do?

Regalia/ticket pick up is announced in October to allow candidates to plan accordingly for pick up. We are unable to coordinate alternative pick up times. Candidates that are unable to pick up are welcome to have a designee is pick up tickets and regalia on a graduate’s behalf. The designee picking up will need to display an email from the student (MCPHS email) to the designee detailing this information.

Example: Dear (insert name of designee),

I, (type your full name and from your MCPHS student email account) give (type name of designee) permission to pick up my Commencement related items.


Do not copy the Commencement Team.  

How do graduates get tickets?

Tickets are required for guests to attend. When graduates pick up regalia, they will also receive 6 tickets to distribute to guests. Please note that tickets must be presented to enter the event and seating at the venue is first-come, first-served. There are no additional tickets available. Children under 3 years of age do not require a ticket to enter. The ticket for the Commencement Ceremony is also for the academic ceremonies.

Graduates do not need a ticket to enter. There are no additional tickets available.

My family will be traveling internationally, can I request a visitation letter?

Graduates with international guests can request a visitation letter. The Commencement Team will email a copy of the letter to your student email account. Visitation letters requested after November 1st will not be granted. Visitation letters by no means, guarantee entry in the United States. Request a visitation letter.

What are the arrangements for guests with ADA needs?

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 entrance at the DCU Center should attendees enter through?

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

What parking and/or transit options are available for graduates and guests?

There are several city-owned parking garages and lots in the downtown area surrounding the DCU Center. There are several conveniently located garages to the DCU Center, for more information please visit: Visit the DCU website for more information.

For alternative travel options: Visit the DCU website for more information

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 more information  

How long is the Commencement Ceremony?

The Commencement Ceremony will be approximately 90 – 120 minutes in length. Following the Ceremony, there will be a short intermission before the individual academic ceremonies hosted by the academic programs begin.

Are graduates and faculty required to stay for the entire Commencement?

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

What do graduates need to do once they arrive?

All graduates must proceed to the graduate check-in area when the doors open to receive their stage card and line up to process into the arena. Guests are not permitted in the graduate check-in area.

Where will graduates be seated?

Graduates will be seated on the arena floor in alphabetical order based on academic school and academic program.

When will graduates receive their diploma?

Graduates will receive their diploma at the end of the academic ceremonies. Graduates must display a valid ID at diploma pick up. Diplomas will be picked up in alphabetical order. Graduates 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.

Can candidates decorate the regalia cap and wear cords/stoles? Are there Commencement accessories to purchase?

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.

Honor cords will be distributed to eligible undergraduate candidates at graduate check-in on the day of the Commencement Ceremony. Please refer to the Student Handbook to determine eligibility.

Can attendees take a video and/or photos at the event?

Attendees are able to take photos and video of the event. Attendees are not allowed on the arena floor.

If graduates do not attend Commencement, how do graduates get their diplomas?

Candidates who graduate and do not attend the Ceremony will receive their diploma via mail. Candidates can view and change their home/local addresses before December 1, 2023 by logging in to Self-Service. Changes made after December 1st will result in delays or non-shipment.

Will the Commencement Ceremony be livestreamed and/or recorded?

The university-wide main Commencement Ceremony will be livestreamed from the DCU Center. The Commencement Ceremony 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. The academic ceremonies will not be live-streamed.

Will the Ceremony be postponed due to the weather?

Despite potential inclement weather, the event will continue as planned. We encourage graduates and guests to prepare accordingly. Any updates regarding the Commencement Ceremony will be communicated to graduates via email and available on our website.

Are there hotel amenities available?

Graduates and guests can visit the DCU Center website for more information.

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

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.