Frequently Asked Questions - Graduate Studies Commencement

​Frequently Asked Questions 

  • Who is eligible to participate?
  • Students eligible to participate in the June ceremony if:
    You have Advanced to Candidacy.
  • I am a degree candidate. How do I register?
  • Our student registration database will open in February.  
  • How do I select my faculty presenter?
  • Upon registering for commencement, doctoral students may request one faculty member to present and hood them on stage.
    Master's students will be presented by a faculty member chosen by their graduate program. You are welcome to ask your faculty if they would be willing to be the representative for your program.  
  • What time is commencement and where will it be located?
  • The Graduate Studies commencement will take place on June 15, 2023, in the University Credit Union Center (formerly The ARC Pavilion) from 3-6 p.m.
  • What time should degree candidates arrive for the commencement ceremony?
  • Students and presenting faculty are asked to arrive one hour before the ceremony begins (2 pm) and go directly to the line-up area. Please say your farewells to family/friends before you enter the line-up area.  Your guests will want to choose their seats in the University Credit Union Center when it opens at 2 p.m.  
  • Do my guests need tickets to attend my commencement?
  • All registered students will receive up to (4) guest tickets to attend the in-person ceremony. Guest tickets are managed by the Aggie Ticket Box Office. Details for reserving tickets will be provided as soon as the information becomes available. Ticket allocation is predetermined based on the anticipated graduate attendance for each ceremony, and capacity of the venue. Likewise, the amount of extra tickets available (if any) for distribution cannot be determined until after the close of registration and final approvals of any late registrations.
  • International Students: How do I request a visa support letter for my family members?
  • Students must first register for commencement and meet all eligibility requirements before a visa support letter will be generated.   See "Eligibility Requirements" above.

    International Students wishing to request a visa support letter from Graduate Studies in order to have relatives living outside the U.S. attend the commencement, need to e-mail their request to and include the following information: Once your eligibility is reviewed and approved you will be sent a PDF letter that can be forwarded via e-mail.  If you would like a hard-copy letter please let us know and you will be notified when the letter is ready for pick-up at Graduate Studies. (If you would rather have the letter mailed to a U.S. address, please state this in your e-mail and include your mailing address. We do not mail letters outside the U.S.)
    1. Degree candidate's name
    2. ​​Degree candidate's gender (for referencing in the letter)
    3. ​​Degree candidate's Graduate Program
    4. ​​Degree candidate's degree upon completion
    5. ​​Name(s) of guest(s) and relation to degree candidate (i.e., Mother: Cheng Liu)
  • Is there a dress code for commencement ceremonies?
  • While there is no formal dress code, commencement is an important event, and many people choose to dress up for the occasion. The only requirement is wearing academic attire called 'regalia', which consists of a cap, gown, tassel, and hood, which can be rented through UC Davis Stores. Please wear walking (comfortable) shoes. High heels are not recommended because the commencement stage has narrow steps.  
  • What will my hood and tassel look like?
  • The color of your hood and tassel is determined by your school and degree. The commencement tassel will be provided with your cap and gown rental. Visit the UC Davis Stores website for more information.
  • Where do I get my regalia (cap, gown, tassel and hood) and other gift items for commencement?
  • Regalia (cap, tassel, gown and hood), announcements, diploma frames, and graduation gifts can all be purchased online through the UC Davis Stores
  • Will I receive my diploma at the commencement ceremony?
  • Once you have completed your degree requirements and filed to graduate contact the Office of the Registrar for the diploma and official transcripts showing the awarding of your degree.

    A scroll commemorating the ceremony is presented to each participant at commencement.

  • Will someone be taking pictures and videos?
  • Yes, a professional photographer will be taking individual photographs of each candidate after they walk off the stage. Your free digital proof will be e-mailed within 5-7 days following commencement.

    Family members and friends should take photographs of candidates either before or after commencement. Photos taken by family or friends will be permitted from their seats or from the designated photo areas in the stands above the arena floor. Tripods are NOT allowed into the University Credit Union Center

  • Are there provisions for graduating students with disabilities?
  • Yes. Special arrangements can be made for students with disabilities. If you require any special accommodations, please register online as early as possible. For example, if a sign language interpreter is required or if you need assistance crossing the stage, we will need to be notified at least two months prior to the ceremony so that we can make the necessary arrangements. Your special accommodation requests MUST be entered in the "Special Needs" section when you register online. We are able to offer special accommodations to students only.

    You should also visit the Disability Resources page for more information on available accommodations.
  • What if my guest has limited mobility or special needs?
  • Details to be announced.

  • Where am I allowed to park on campus?
  • Details to be announced.
  • Will there be food or drink vendors at the commencement ceremony?
  • No. Other than bottled water, no food or drink is permitted inside the Pavilion.  However, due to the length of the ceremony, snacks can be brought in for children and elderly guests. 
  • Will the UC Davis stores be open during commencement?
  • UC Davis Stores will likely be open during commencement weekend.
  • What about bringing children?
  • All are welcome to come and celebrate the graduate commencement ceremony as guests.  Only graduates are permitted on the floor of the arena. Guests, including children, are seated in the upper levels of The University Credit Union Center (U Center).  As the ceremony is three hours in length snacks are permitted for children. The area around the U Center is a large grassy field and kids and adults can go outside during the ceremony, please bring water and sunscreen.    
  • What hotels are in the area?
  • Please see the Yolo County Visitors Bureau for a listing of hotels, restaurants, and more. Sacramento is the capital of California and is located twenty miles from Davis. Please see their visitors' guide for more information.
  • What will the temperature be inside the University Credit Union Center (formally The ARC Pavilion)?
  • The University Credit Union Center is a large structure and many people will attend commencement, please dress knowing it will most likely be warm indoors.  We recommend walking shoes without heels because much of the guest seating is on bleachers. The ceremony will proceed rain or shine, so please check the weather in advance of the ceremony.
  • Will the ceremony be webcast?
  • Yes, the Graduate Studies commencement will be shown live via a webcast for friends and family members unable to attend the ceremony.  This is a wonderful feature that allows them to experience the event. The webcast will also stay online for several months following the ceremony.  Please see the UC Davis Commencement Webcasts website.  
  • Who can help me with registration technical issues?
  • If you are having problems accessing or using the registration database on the Commencement website, please contact the Commencement Coordinator.
  • How do I access my guest tickets?
  • All registered students will receive up to (4) guest tickets to attend the in-person ceremony. Guest tickets are managed by the Aggie Ticket Box Office. Any ticket system issues, please contact the box office directly at at (530) 752-2471. The ticket office will reply during their regular business hours of Monday-Friday between 10 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. 

    All guests must have a ticket, except children under the age of two. Age determination is handled by ticket-takers and security.

    Tickets may be displayed via your mobile device or printed out.  It is recommended that you DO NOT WAIT until the day of the ceremony to access your tickets, AND that you add your tickets to your phone’s virtual wallet or print a hard copy in case of connectivity issues.
  • Can I transfer my tickets to another graduate?
  • Guest tickets are specifically assigned to each ceremony day/time and are non-transferrable to other ceremonies. However, if you are not planning to use all four of your tickets, you may “gift” them to another graduate in the SAME ceremony day/time by forwarding it/them once you’ve downloaded them via email or hardcopy.

    University policy prohibits the selling of commencement tickets for money or for any commercial value. Violation will result in referral to Student Judicial Affairs.

    Please note that ticket allocation is based upon the actual number of students participating in the ceremony, and capacity of the venue.

    The ceremony can also be viewed via live streaming webcast and afterwards on-demand at:

Helpful Tips

  • Make reservations early. Make sure to confirm all lodging arrangements as far in advance as possible, especially if you prefer to be in Davis. During commencement weekend, local hotels will fill up fast. The same goes for some of the more upscale restaurants: save yourself the wait and make a reservation in advance.
  • If possible, resist driving downtown. During commencement weekend, streets will be congested with pedestrians, bicyclists, and vehicles. Save yourself the hassle of finding parking and waiting in traffic by walking downtown. It is very convenient.
  • If you get lost, there are maps located around the Davis campus and throughout downtown Davis.  Each campus building has a sign that denotes the name of the building. Remember which building(s) you parked near. If you are still having trouble finding your way, ask any staff or student for directions. If you prefer a paper map they can be obtained at TAPS, Graduate Studies, and at informational signs at parking area entrances.  There is also a 'UC Davis Mobile' application for campus and parking area maps and Unitrans bus schedules.