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Participating in Commencement

The Difference Between Commencement and Graduation

Completing the work required to earn an academic degree is a separate event from the public commencement ceremony that symbolically commemorates that academic achievement. In fact, UTA students who participate in commencement ceremonies are considered "candidates" for graduation. The final awarding of degrees and honors is contingent upon the satisfactory completion of the appropriate requirements by each candidate.

Their graduation is not official until grades are posted, outstanding fees are paid, and transcripts are completed. Only then do graduates receive their official diploma, which is sent to them several weeks after the end of their final semester.

Commencement Ceremonies at UTA

As of June 1, 2017, graduates may ONLY walk either the semester they finish their degree (fall semester for those finishing in summer) or the following long semester. For example:

  • If you finish in May 2018, you may walk in May 2018 or December 2018.
  • If you finish in August 2018 or December 2018, you may either walk in December 2018 or May 2019.

Graduates who finished their degrees in May 2017 or before are grandfathered in to a previous rule of no time restriction for walking.

This change is due to the fact that there is a limited amount of space and a growing class of graduates. Therefore, the University has to accommodate those finishing that semester first and then accommodate others as space allows.

Commencement Protocol

An academic commencement is a formal ceremony, where decorum and respect for the customs of the occasion enhances the experience for the graduates and their guests alike. Therefore, in accordance with hundreds of years of academic tradition, students, guests, and the platform party are asked to observe the following:

  • Graduates must wear formal academic attire which is available at the UTA Bookstore.
  • Graduates and their family and guests must arrive as scheduled to attend their School or College commencement ceremony.
  • Graduates arriving at the College Park Center after the check-in process for graduates closes will not be permitted to participate in their ceremony.
  • Doors open and guest seating begins one hour prior to the start of the ceremony.
  • Possession of a ticket does not guarantee admittance.
  • All attendees must remain seated during the ceremony.
  • Cell phones and pagers must be turned off.
  • No food or drink permitted in the event venue.
  • All graduates and their guests are asked to remain for the entire ceremony out of respect for all university graduates.
  • The possession or use of alcohol, noisemakers, firecrackers, balloons, flags, banners or illegal substances is strictly prohibited.
  • Any graduate or guest who is excessively disruptive during the commencement ceremony will be excused from the event venue.

Registering to Participate in Commencement

Students must indicate their intent to participate in Commencement ceremonies by registering with the dean’s office for their college or school. This is in addition to applying for graduation with the Registrar’s office. Please visit your college or school’s website for more information and deadlines.

Please note: Students in the College of Liberal Arts are not required to register.

Ceremony Information


All commencement ceremonies are held in the College Park Center.

Graduate Arrival Time

The academic procession, consisting of bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degree candidates, participating faculty, and platform party members will assemble inside the College Park Center west entrance one hour before their School or College ceremony begins. Present your ticket for entry.

Do not bring personal items such as purses, bags or cell phones.

Family and Guest Arrival Time

To allow for parking, the walk or UTA Police escort to the event venue, and ticket collection, it is strongly recommended that guests arrive 60 minutes prior to the ceremony (see Schedule of Events). All guests are subject to bag check before entry.

Guests arriving more than ten minutes late may not be permitted into the venue.

Assembly and Robing

At the lineup site, all candidates will be grouped by degree or major and will receive a card on which they can confirm the phonetic spelling of their name as they would like it to be read on stage.

In accordance with tradition, all participants in commencement ceremonies are expected to dress in full academic regalia with the exception of the keynote speaker. Appropriate business attire should be worn underneath the gowns. Graduates will be directed to line up in order of program and major, and will walk together in those groups, be seated, and receive their degrees according to those groups.


Special thanks to the UTA Jazz Orchestra, Tim Ishii, Director, for providing the music during all commencement ceremonies.


The academic procession begins when the graduates and platform party leave the lineup site, led by an appointee of the University called the marshal. From this point in time until the completion of the recession after the ceremony, the traditionally formal protocol of the occasion directs the proceedings, and the respectful solemnity of all participants and guests is expected.

Seating for Graduates

Bachelor's, master's and doctoral degree candidates will be seated on the floor level at the front of arena.

Seating for Guests

Guests will be seated in arena seating. Wheelchair and handicapped seating is available upon request. Strollers are discouraged and not permitted in the aisles but can be checked in at Guest Services.

Presentation of Degrees

After introductions and keynote address, candidates will participate in the ceremonial presentation of degrees (hard copies of diplomas will be mailed 4-6 weeks following commencement). Doctoral degree candidates are called to the stage first and acknowledged individually, then master's degree candidates, then bachelor's degree candidates. A professional photographer will take two photos of each degree candidate crossing the stage. The listing of a student's name in the printed program in no way implies or ensures his or her graduation or the award of honors.


The academic recession, led by the marshal, concludes the formal program. After the graduates and platform party have completed the recession, guests can meet graduates on the Mortiz Plaza north of the College Park Center.


Before and after each commencement ceremony, representatives from the UTA Bookstore and the Student Alumni Association will provide graduates and their families the opportunity to purchase commemorative items and roses.

Photos and Videos

For information on general ceremony coverage, as well as individual photos for purchase, please see Photos and Videos.

Requests for Accommodation

To request accommodations, please see Guests with Disabilities.

Graduate Exit Survey

How was your UTA experience? Every UTA undergraduate is asked to provide this feedback on a graduate exit survey. You will receive instructions for completing this online survey 4-6 weeks prior to your commencement ceremony. Your feedback will help make UTA the best that it can be for future Mavericks.