Frequently Asked Questions

Please view the following answers to 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.

  • Is there a summer commencement ceremony?
    No, there is not a summer Commencement ceremony.
  • I’m graduating in the summer. Should I attend the Fall or Spring Commencement ceremony?
    Summer graduates are typically included in the Fall Commencement exercises. As Bachelor’s and Master’s graduates do not walk at Commencement, it is the student’s choice of which ceremony to attend. Summer Doctoral graduates should contact the Graduate School with any questions regarding which ceremony to attend.
  • I’m graduating in the summer. Will my name be printed in the Fall or Spring program?
    Summer graduates are included in the Fall Commencement program, with no exceptions. Summer graduates who do not plan to attend the Fall ceremony may contact the Student Services Center to receive a program if desired.
  • 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, which take place across campus. Neither are mandatory to attend.
  • Where is PNC Arena?
    PNC Arena is located at 1400 Edwards Mill Rd, about 10 minutes away from Main Campus. It is directly across from Carter-Finley Stadium, home to Wolfpack Football. You can find more information about the arena at
  • I’m graduating in the Fall but would like to walk at the Spring Commencement ceremony, or vice versa. Am I able to?
    Bachelor’s and Master’s degree candidates do not walk at either the Fall or Spring Commencement ceremonies, and therefore it is the student’s choice of which ceremony to attend. Doctoral graduates should contact the Graduate School with any questions regarding which ceremony to attend.
  • Do I have to register or RSVP for the University Commencement ceremony?
    There is no registration or RSVP required to participate in or attend Commencement for Bachelor’s or Master’s candidates. Doctoral candidates will be required to submit a Doctoral Graduation Attendance Notification (DGAN) if they plan to attend the ceremony.
  • Who walks across the stage at Commencement?
    Only students graduating with a Doctor of Education (Ed.D), Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D), or Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) walk at the University Commencement ceremony.
  • Do I need tickets for Commencement?
    No, tickets are not required for the Commencement ceremony at PNC Arena. Students should check with their department or college about whether tickets are required for their respective ceremonies.
  • What time should guests arrive?
    Guests should plan to arrive no later than 8:30 a.m. The processional begins promptly at 9:00 a.m., and all attendees should anticipate heavier than normal traffic flowing into the arena.
  • How long should the ceremony last?
    The University Commencement ceremony at PNC Arena should end no later than 11:30 a.m.
  • Will there be a recessional?
    There is a recessional at the end of the ceremony for the Platform Party, the faculty, and the Doctoral graduates and sponsors only.
  • Will the ceremony be live-streamed? Will it be recorded?
    Yes! The University Commencement ceremony at PNC Arena will be live-streamed to Facebook, YouTube, and WolfpackTV. The full video will also be recorded and made available on the Student Services Center YouTube channel shortly after the ceremony.
  • Is there a rehearsal for Commencement?
    No, there is no rehearsal for Commencement.
  • What if there is bad weather?
    Commencement takes place rain or shine. If there is inclement weather or other unforeseen circumstances that prevent the ceremony from taking place, graduates, faculty and guests will be notified as soon as possible. The homepage will be the best place to find the most current updates.
  • Where can I park for Commencement?
    Parking is available free of charge for all Commencement attendees at PNC Arena. For information about parking at PNC Arena and on campus during the Commencement activities, view our Parking and Transportation page.
  • What am I allowed to bring into PNC Arena? What items are prohibited?
    PNC Arena has implemented a new Clear Bag Policy that will be in effect for all NC State Commencement ceremonies. Graduating students, as well as faculty participating in the processional, will not be expected to adhere to the policy, so long as they arrive via the North side lower-level delivery entrance.¬†All guests, including any graduating students who do not arrive via the appropriate entrance, will be required to adhere to the policy and may be asked to return your belongings to your vehicle if deemed inappropriate for entry by PNC Arena security. More details about the Clear Bag Policy, as well as a list of all items that are prohibited and permitted inside the arena, are available on the PNC Arena website. NC State University Commencement follows PNC Arena’s guidelines and policies. All graduates and guests are subject to search upon entering the arena for Commencement.
  • Where do candidates assemble?
    Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctoral and DVM candidates can find information on their assembly protocol on the Graduate Protocol page. Signs will be posted to designate where assembly begins for each college or group.
  • Where do faculty members assemble?
    Faculty who are not sponsoring Doctoral graduates will assemble directly behind the stage. Doctoral faculty sponsors will line up with their students in walking order. For more information on faculty assembly procedures, view the Faculty Protocol page.
  • Where do guests and visitors enter?
    Guests should enter through the main entrance at the front (South) end of the arena.
  • Where is the family and guest seating area?
    Family and guest seating is located in all sections of the arena except where indicated. Families and guests may not be seated on the main floor as it is reserved for graduation candidates only. See the seating map for details.
  • Where are the restrooms for graduates and volunteers?
    Graduation candidates and Commencement volunteers can find the restroom located in the breezeway just beyond the Green Room where the faculty assemble. There is also a restroom for volunteers in the Green Room.
  • Where is the robing room for the Platform Party?
    The robing room for the platform party is located in the Interview Lounge, Room 1307 on the ground level. Platform Party members will receive additional details prior to the ceremony.
  • Do degree candidates line up in any order?
    See the Graduate Protocol page for details.
  • I’m graduating with multiple degrees in different colleges; which college do I sit with at Commencement?
    If a student is graduating with degrees in different colleges, it is entirely up to the student to decide with which college to sit.
  • What resources or services will be available for deaf or hard-of-hearing attendees?
    Closed-captioning will be projected in real time on the arena’s display screens (“jumbotron”), overlaying the video of the ceremony. With PNC Arena’s new display system, graduates seated on the arena floor will also be able to view the screens and captioning from their vantage point if needed. Assistive listening devices are also available via Guest Services, located across from section 127 on the Main Concourse.
  • Where is there accessible seating for graduates?
    There is accessible seating available for graduates on the floor. Please see the seating map for a detailed layout.
  • Where is there accessible seating for guests?
    Accessible seating for guests is located throughout the arena, and a map is viewable courtesy of Ticketmaster. Accessible seating beneath sections 108 and 130 is not available during Commencement. Guests must enter on the main concourse level; there is no accessible seating on the floor level for guests during Commencement


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

  • How can I buy cords or stoles for Commencement?
    Stoles (or sashes) designating students graduating with honors (Cum Laude, Magna Cum Laude, or Summa Cum Laude) are available for purchase from Wolfpack Outfitters or the NC State Stores website. 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 buy?
    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 my 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 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. See more information about Grad Fair on our Regalia page.
  • 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.
  • Do I need tickets for my department or college ceremony?
    Contact your department or college regarding whether tickets are required for the ceremony.
  • I’m graduating with multiple degrees and the times of my department/college ceremonies conflict with each other. Which one should I attend?
    It is entirely up to you to decide which of your departmental ceremonies to attend.
  • Where can I get a program?
    All graduates are provided a program as they arrive in the assembly area. Guests are provided a program as they enter the arena.
  • Will there be a way for me to pick up a program if I can’t attend the Commencement ceremony?
    Yes; if you were not able to receive a 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 program?
    Graduates’ names appear in the official Commencement program as they appear on your diploma and on official transcripts. 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 program?
    If you would like your name to appear in the program differently from how it appears on official records, you must submit an official Name Change Form to the Student Services Center. All requests for name changes must be received no later than the deadline to update Privacy Settings.
  • Will my honors be designated in the program?
    Bachelor’s degree candidates’ honors appear in the official Commencement program based on how they enter into 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?
    Doctor of Education, Doctor of Philosophy, and Doctor of Veterinary Medicine graduates who attend the ceremony will receive their diploma immediately following the recessional at Commencement. All other graduates will receive their diploma after final graduation clearance has taken place. See the Student Services Center website for details.
  • Are there on-campus accommodations for visitors?
    Visitors to campus should view the Lodging page for information on local accommodations.
  • 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.