Frequently Asked Questions

Congratulations on your accomplishments! Find answers to your most pressing questions here or visit the Family & Friends, Faculty, and Staff FAQ pages.

Read our 2017 Commencement venue selection process

I registered to graduate with the Office of the Registrar. Am I ready for the ceremony?

No, you must register to participate in the Commencement Ceremony and order regalia.

What dates do I need to be aware of?

April 14: Deadline to apply to graduate (undergraduates) or submit a degree request (graduate students) and for your name to appear in the Commencement Ceremony printed program. Find out more.

May 1 – 19: Registration is open for the Commencement Ceremony

May 23, 24, 25: Grad Fair

June 13: Arrive at Safeco Field to participate in the Commencement Ceremony

  • Graduate students participating in the Hooding Ceremony: arrive at 1:00 p.m.
  • Graduate students not participating in the Hooding Ceremony and all Undergraduate students: arrive at 2:00 p.m.
  • Accommodated guest ticket-holders arrive: 2:15 p.m.
  • General guest ticket-holders arrive: 3:00 p.m.
  • Ceremony begins: 4:00 p.m.

Can I participate in the commencement ceremony even if I am taking summer courses?

Yes, please file your graduation application with your advisor by April 14.

Is there a difference between Graduation and Commencement?

Yes. Commencement is the ceremony that brings students, faculty and family together to celebrate your graduation. At Commencement, you will wear degree-appropriate regalia, participate in a formal ceremony with your classmates and faculty, and receive a diploma cover. Graduation is final confirmation that you have completed all degree requirements. Your diploma will be sent to you approximately 4 months after your last quarter once the Office of the Registrar has confirmed that you have completed all degree requirements.

Do I need a ticket?

Yes, all graduates need a graduate ticket. One will be generated for you when you register for the ceremony, and you will pick it up at Grad Fair. All graduates are required to present a graduate entrance ticket along with a UWID or other ID to gain entrance to the student line-up areas. No student will be admitted without a ticket and appropriate ID.

How many guest tickets do I get?

Students participating in the ceremony may receive up to 10 guest tickets. You may also request an additional two. If there are tickets remaining after all 10+2 tickets have been claimed, additional tickets will be available by lottery draw. Those who request an additional 1 or 2 on the registration form will be entered into the lottery. Only ticketed guests may enter the stadium; please do not invite guests who do not have tickets. Tickets can be ordered on the registration form and picked up at Grad Fair.

What about access and seating for the elderly and those needing accommodations such as wheelchairs or listening assistance?

Students should request accommodated tickets for their guests requiring extra time to access their seats, have mobility issues or accommodations or need assistive listening devices. Accommodated guest entry opens at 2:15 p.m. at Home Plate Entry AND Media Entry. Safeco Field and UW Bothell ushers will help guide guests to accessible seating. Assistive listening devices will be available on the concourse, and guests requiring ASL services will be escorted to a designated section.

If I don't get enough tickets, can family and friends at home watch the ceremony?

Yes, family and friends who cannot attend can watch a live-stream of the ceremony on the UW Bothell website:

Do I need a ticket for a child or infant?

Children ages 2 and under do not need a ticket.

Is there a Commencement fee?

Not at this time. However, all participants are responsible for purchasing their cap and gown. Cap and gown information can be found here.  

Where do I park?

Parking is available at the Safeco Parking Garage on Edgar Martinez Way and the CenturyLink Garage. Parking will be available for purchase day-of for $15.

Where do I go on Commencement Day?

Accommodated guests may enter the stadium from Home Plate Entry or the Media Entry. Both entrances have elevators and Home Plate Entry also has escalators. General guests may enter the stadium from Home Plate Entry.

How long is the ceremony?

There ceremony is expected to be 3 hours long.

How do I find my family after the ceremony?

After the ceremony, students will process through underground tunnels and exit the stadium at the Right Field Entry. Please do NOT plan to meet your family along Edgar Martinez Way. There will be designated meetup locations by school on the tree-lined plaza west of the Safeco Field Garage.

Are there student instructions for the day of the ceremony?

Yes, detailed day-of student instructions will be available as soon as possible.

Is there a rehearsal for the ceremony?

No, there is no rehearsal. If you’re curious what the ceremony generally looks like, watch the 2016 ceremony. Keep in mind the ceremony may change significantly at a new venue.

Can I sit next to my friends at the ceremony?

Graduates are organized by School. You may sit next to whomever you like within your school. When you line up, make sure you line up in front or behind who you want to sit next to.

Where can I store my belongings?

Do not bring anything you cannot carry with you across the stage as you receive your diploma. There is no storage of personal belongings. Please leave them with your friends and family prior to entering Safeco Field or at home.

What do I receive when I cross the stage?

You will receive a diploma cover, and your diploma will be mailed to you approximately 4 months after graduation.

I am participating in the ceremony and have limited mobility or special needs.

Field access for accommodated students is limited - if you have any mobility issues or special needs, be sure to make your requests for accommodations on the registration form for the ceremony. Find out more about accommodations here to ensure we plan the appropriate accommodations at the ceremony.

I completed my purchases on the registration form but want to add something to it – how do I do that?

Once your form has been submitted, you will not be able to make changes online. Any changes required to your order (e.g., extra tassel) may be requested at Grad Fair when picking up your order.

Can I get a diploma cover if I do NOT participate in the ceremony?

Yes. Diploma covers are provided to students who participate in the ceremony, but if you are not participating, you may purchase one through the ceremony registration form. Choose that you are not participating in the ceremony, and you will be directed to make other purchases. The diploma cover is available for $19 and can be picked up at Grad Fair.

I’m eligible for an honor cord, how can I get one?

Honor cords are provided by the Commencement Office to all eligible students. If you have a question about your eligibility, please contact the Registrar. Students awarded an honor cord may choose to receive it at Grad Fair or at the Awards & Recognition Ceremony.

What is Grad Fair?

Grad Fair is when you pick up your regalia and ticket, guest tickets, and anything else you purchased on the registration form. Grad Fair occurs May 23, 24, and 25, 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. at North Creek Events Center.

What if I can’t make those dates?

Late Pick-Up will be Tuesday June 6 at UW2 Commons Lobby, 4 - 7 p.m. If you can’t make Grad Fair or Late Pick-Up, you can ask someone else to pick up for you at either event; however they must have your student ID number in order to pick up your regalia and order.

I need to change my pick-up date!

Please feel free to pick up your regalia and order any time during Grad Fair.

Can I borrow regalia?

Yes, you can borrow regalia from a friend if the gown is appropriate to your degree (BA vs MA), fits the guidelines for the University of Washington academic regalia, and is correct for your height. You must also wear a degree-appropriate tassel, which can be purchased separately. Mortarboards may be purchased separately as well. Please email the Commencement Office a photo of the gown you hope to wear at the ceremony for approval at

Can I decorate my cap?

Yes, you can decorate your cap. The UW Bothell Alumni Council will also have a cap decorating event on Thursday May 25th at Grad Fair and day-of the ceremony at the graduate line-up and check-in areas.

My gown is too small/big!

Purchased gowns can be exchanged if you bring the gown and your order form to Grad Fair or Late Pick-Up. Please keep in mind the gowns are not fitted and are meant to be loose.

What color tassel do I need? Can I wear the purple and gold tassel at the ceremony?

Your tassel color will be automatically generated when you fill out the ceremony participation form based on your degree.

You must wear your degree tassel at the ceremony.

What are stoles? Can I wear them?

The only stoles approved by the Commencement Office may be worn at the ceremony.

The purple or gold Stole of Gratitude are not meant for graduates to wear. A graduate can give the stole to a family member or friend who has offered support to wear during the ceremony.