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Frequently Asked Questions

Please view the following answers for some of our most frequently asked questions regarding Commencement. If you still have questions regarding Commencement or graduation, please contact the Student Services Center at or 919.515.NCSU (6278). For questions regarding your college or department ceremonies, contact your appropriate department.

  • What is the difference between graduation and commencement?

Graduation refers to the completion of all degree requirements. Commencement is the ceremony that celebrates graduation.

  • What is the difference between the university and departmental ceremonies?

The University Commencement ceremony is the official Commencement ceremony that recognizes the entire graduating class across all disciplines and degree levels. The various colleges and departments host additional ceremonies to honor their respective graduates. Neither are mandatory to attend.

  • When is the University Commencement Ceremony?

The University Commencement ceremony will take place on Saturday, May 4, 2024 in PNC Arena.

  • Where is PNC Arena?

PNC Arena is located at 1400 Edwards Mill Road, Raleigh, NC 27607

  • Do I have to register or RSVP for the University Commencement Ceremony?

Students will RSVP to attend the Commencement ceremony. Additional information regarding this process will be available early in the spring term for Spring 2024 graduates.

  • Who walks across the stage at Commencement?

Only doctoral candidates will walk across the stage. All other students will be asked to stand and be recognized with the other graduates of their respective colleges by their deans.

  • What time should guests arrive?

All graduates and guests should plan to be seated in the arena no later than 30 minutes prior to the start of the ceremony. Please plan your travel and arrival accordingly.

  • How will students be seated?

Bachelor’s and master’s students will not be seated by college, but instead by order of arrival. Doctoral candidates will be seated together in walking order.

  • How long should the ceremony last?

The University Commencement ceremony should last approximately 2 – 2.5 hours.

  • Will there be a recessional?

There will not be a formal recessional.

  • Will the ceremony be live-streamed? Will it be recorded?

Yes, the ceremony will be live-streamed via and the NC State Facebook page.

  • Is there a rehearsal for Commencement

No, there is not rehearsal for Commencement for students.

  • What if there is bad weather?

Commencement takes place indoors and will occur rain or shine.

  • Where can I park for Commencement?

Graduates and guests are encouraged to park in the PNC Arena lot. Please follow staff directions upon arrival.

  • What am I allowed to bring into PNC Arena? What Items are prohibited?

All graduates, guests, faculty, participants, and staff in attendance will be required to adhere to the PNC Bag Policy.

  • What health or safety guidelines will be in place?

All graduates, guests, faculty, participants and staff will all be required to adhere to necessary health and safety protocols, including NC State’s Community Standards.

  • Is there a summer commencement ceremony?

No, there is not a Summer Commencement ceremony.

  • I’m graduating in the summer. Will I be able to attend the Spring or Fall commencement ceremony?

Summer graduates are invited to Fall commencement and are not eligible to attend the Spring ceremony.

  • I’m graduating in the summer. Will my name be printed in the program?

Summer graduates are included in the Fall Commencement program. The ceremony program will be published online the day of the event. If you have questions about Fall Commencement, you may contact the Commencement email address linked here.

  • Where do graduates assemble?

All degree candidates must enter through the delivery entrance on the north (back) side of the arena. There is no candidate access from the concourse level to the floor level. For the easiest access to the graduate assembly area, parking is available in the North Lots. There is not charge for parking at PNC Arena for Commencement. Be advised that there may be a heavy flow of traffic into and out of PNC Arena on Commencement day, and you and your guests should plan accordingly.

  • Where do faculty members assemble?

Faculty should enter through the delivery entrance on the north (back) side of the arena.

  • Where do guests and visitors enter?

Guests should enter through the east or west entrances of PNC arena and follow staff instructions for seating.

  • What resources or services will be available for deaf or hard-of-hearing attendees?

The ceremony will feature the availability of live closed-captioning, both on the jumbotron and on mobile devices. To view live captioning on your mobile device during the ceremony, visit

  • Where is there accessible seating for graduates?

There will be accessible seating for graduates. Marshals, university staff, and volunteers will be available to assist graduates in finding appropriate seating.

  • Where is there accessible seating for guests?

More information on accessibility resources can be found on our Accessibility page.

  • Are graduates expected to wear regalia to the ceremony?

Yes, graduates are expected to wear academic regalia to the Commencement ceremony.

  • How can I buy cords or stoles for Commencement?

Stoles (or sashes) designating students graduating with honors (Cum Laude, Magna Cum Laude, Summa Cum Laude) are currently available for purchase from Wolfpack Outfitters. Other stoles or cords for student groups or other student recognitions (such as student-athletes, honor societies, fraternities/sororities, senior gift donor, etc.) are provided/sold directly by the appropriate department, organization, or student group.

  • I’m not sure what my GPA will be when I graduate, so which honors stole should I purchase?

Academic honors are designated at Commencement based on the GPA that you enter into your final term with, as final grades are not calculated until after Commencement. If your GPA is a 3.48 when entering your final term, you will be recognized as graduating Cum Laude until final grades are calculated.

  • What side of the mortarboard (cap) does my tassel go on?

Bachelor’s degree candidates drape the tassel on the right side of the cap, and will ‘turn’ it at the conclusion of the Commencement ceremony.

Professional, Master’s, and Doctoral degree candidates drape the tassel on the left side of the cap.

  • What is the Grad Fair?

Grad Fair is an event hosted by the NC State Stores each semester prior to Commencement. Grad Fair is an opportunity to purchase or pick up all of your graduation and commencement needs at one time, in one convenient location.

  • Where/when will department and college ceremonies be held?

See the schedule of Departmental and College Ceremonies. Schedule information is subject to change and you should contact the appropriate department for the latest information.

  • Where can I receive a program?

All attendees will receive an abridged ceremony program upon entry. A digital program that includes full ceremony details – as well as graduate names and honors – will be available online.

  • Will there be a way for me to pick up an abridged program if I can’t attend the Commencement ceremony?

Yes, if you were not able to receive an abridged program at Commencement, you can contact or visit the Student Services Center to pick one up beginning on the first business day after the ceremony.

  • How will my name appear in the digital program?

Graduates now have the option to enter a “Diploma Name” in MyPack Portal to be printed on their official diploma as well as in the digital program and other University Commencement materials. Without a change request, graduate legal names will be used in the digital program and printed on their diploma. More information on personal information for graduation purposes is available on the Student Services Center website.

  • Can I change how my name appears in the digital program?

If a student’s legal name appears incorrect in the system, they may submit a Name Change Request Form to the Student Services Center. Otherwise, a student can change their “Diploma Name” in MyPack Portal. All requests for name changes must be received no later than the deadline to update Privacy Settings.

  • Will my honors be designated in the digital program?

Bachelor’s degree candidates’ honors status appears in the official Commencement program based on how they enter their final semester, as final grades are not calculated until after the Commencement ceremony. For example, a student who entered their final term with a 3.70 GPA will receive the Magna Cum Laude designation next to their name in the program.

  • I am graduating with multiple degrees. Will my name be listed for each of my degrees?

Yes, as long as you have submitted an application to graduate for both degrees.

  • I have multiple majors but I am only graduating with one degree this semester. Will my name still appear in the program?

Yes, as long as you have submitted an application to graduate for that degree.

  • I don’t want my name included in the program or official graduation publications. What do I need to do?

If you are graduating but would prefer not to have your name listed in the official Commencement program and other official publications, you have the right to restrict your personal information from being displayed. This can be done in MyPack Portal, and MUST be done by the deadline. For more information on how to update your Privacy Restrictions in MyPack, along with the deadlines for updating your Privacy Restrictions for graduation purposes, visit the Student Services Center website.

  • When will I receive my diploma?

All graduates will receive their diploma after final graduation clearance has taken place. See the Student Services Center website for details.

  • Where can I find a list of graduates?

A list of graduates will be available on the Student Services Center website after each term; this list only includes students whose privacy settings do not restrict their information from being publicly displayed.