Ceremony Information

About the Ceremony

Candidate Communication

All commencement related information will be sent to the degree candidate’s Crimson email account. It is the responsibility of the degree candidate to ensure that the Crimson account is clear to receive email and that the email is read and managed appropriately.

All degree candidates must arrive 90 minutes before the start of their ceremony. More arrival instructions are located under Ceremony Day Instructions.

The candidate processional begins approximately 20-25 minutes prior to the published start time of the ceremony. This processional denotes the start of each commencement ceremony. Family members and guests should be seated at these times and remain seated throughout the ceremony. Each commencement ceremony will be approximately two hours in length. Ceremony length may be shorter, depending on the number of candidates participating.

Candidates will ascend the stairs on the right hand side of the stage and descend the stairs on the left side of the stage. After crossing the stage, all candidates must return to their seat and remain seated until the ceremony has concluded. The ceremony will conclude with a formal recessional led by the platform party, followed by the faculty, and ending with the degree candidates.

The ceremonies will be web cast live at https://www.ua.edu/commencement/

Ceremony Attendance

Participation in the commencement ceremony is not required for Bachelor’s and Master’s level degree candidates. Doctoral level degree candidates are required to participate in the ceremony, unless excused by the Graduate School. Doctoral students should contact the Graduate School directly at gradschool@ua.edu with questions.

Degree candidates may only participate in the commencement ceremony for the term in which they have applied to graduate. The Spring term ceremony is in May, the Summer term ceremony is in August, and the Fall term ceremony is in December. Ceremony dates and times for each semester can be found on the Academic Calendar. Students can indicate their intent to participate in the commencement ceremony when filling out the online degree application. Additionally, all applicants have the ability to change their initial response through myBama. If updates are needed, log in to myBama and click Student on the left side menu. Click on the “Apply to Graduate” button in the Student Services channel and then click “View Graduation Applications” at the bottom of the page. Select your degree application(s) and follow the instructions on the page.

Guests of degree candidates do not need tickets to attend the ceremony. There is open seating in the Coliseum on a first come, first served basis. We kindly ask that you refrain from saving seats out of consideration for other guests.

Flowers for Graduates

Roses will be for sale by the local chapter of Mortar Board inside the Coleman Coliseum at the North and East doors. Roses will be available by the dozen [$30.00] or half-dozen [$20.00] on a first-come first-serve basis. All sales are cash only, and proceeds support student scholarships. Mortar Board is the premier national honor society recognizing college seniors for superior achievement in scholarship, leadership and service.

Commencement Day Instructions

WHERE & WHEN TO REPORT: All degree candidates must report to the Crisp Indoor Practice Facility, located directly to the West of Coleman Coliseum, no later than 90 minutes prior to the published start time of their ceremony in complete academic regalia.

UPON ARRIVAL: All degree candidates should enter the Crisp Indoor Practice Facility, find the assembly location of their college to check-in and receive a reader card and then get their photo taken. The line moves quickly so all graduates need to be photo ready prior to getting in line. The reader card bears the candidate’s name and is used to recognize each candidate as they cross the stage. The reader card will be scanned so it should not be lost, bent, torn, folded or creased in any way. Photos will be NOT be taken within 45 minutes of the ceremony so it is important to be on time. This is the only time portrait photos will be taken.

PROCESSIONAL: College marshals will meet candidates at the assembly locations inside the Crisp Indoor Practice Facility and direct movement throughout the ceremony. The candidate lines will begin processing out of Crisp and into Coleman Coliseum approximately 30 minutes prior to the start time of the ceremony. Candidates will follow their college marshal to the appropriate seating location on the arena floor or in the stands. All candidates should remain standing until the ceremony begins and they are instructed to be seated.

DEGREE CONFERRAL: College marshals will direct candidates to the stage at the appropriate time to receive their degrees. All candidates should bring their reader card to the stage with them. Doctoral students should bring their hood to the stage with them (see the "Hooding Instructions for Doctoral Candidates"). After crossing the stage, all candidates must return to their seats.

DURATION: The commencement ceremony will last approximately 2 hours. Out of respect for all degree candidates, once seated, all participants are expected to stay until the conclusion of the ceremony.

LATE ARRIVALS: Late arrivals run the risk of not sitting with their college and not having their photo taken. Degree candidates arriving after the start of the ceremony must check-in at the southeast portal on the ground floor of Coleman Coliseum. Event staff will try to assist you.

Commencement Etiquette

Commencement is a ceremonious occasion honoring important educational accomplishments. Decorum and courtesy are important to you and your family, as well as, your fellow degree candidates and their families.

    • Once seated, all participants are expected to stay until the conclusion of the ceremony which is marked by the candidate recessional.
    • Adherence to the University’s alcohol policy is expected.
    • Improper attire, signs and insignia will be monitored and may be removed.
    • Cell phones and other electronic equipment should be silenced.
    • All candidates should plan to meet their guests in the lobby or outside Coleman Coliseum following the ceremony. Guests are not allowed on the arena floor or the stage.

While graduation is a festive occasion, the ceremony itself is marked by dignity and a degree of formality. Students and guests are expected to maintain a measure of decorum consonant with the occasion.

DON’Ts

  • Signs, fireworks, bottles, beach balls, cans, drugs, alcohol are strictly prohibited.
  • Noisemakers, e.g., marine air horns, trumpet, etc., are strictly prohibited.
  • Accessibility seating areas are for those people with disabilities as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act. These areas are not appropriate for strollers and/or large bags. One person may be seated in this area with the person in need of accessibility seating.

EXPECTED

  • STUDENTS
    • Students are expected to wear appropriate clothing beneath their regalia.
    • Students and guests are expected to refrain from disruptive behavior.
    • Students are expected to return to their seats after the on stage presentation and remain seated for the duration of the ceremony.
    • Students will not be allowed to carry small children or pets to the stage with them for the candidate presentation.
  • GUESTS
    • Family members and/or guests are not permitted on the arena floor.
    • The University of Alabama maintains the proud and historic tradition of permitting degree candidates to shake hands with the President as their name is spoken. The last degree candidate is as important as the first so we ask that you be considerate.
    • We ask that all of our guests remain seated for the entire ceremony.

Regalia

Full academic regalia is required for all degree candidates participating in the University of Alabama commencement ceremony. It is the responsibility of the degree candidate to secure academic regalia prior to the ceremony and bring it to the ceremony.

Regalia should be obtained through the University Supply Store. Regalia for Undergraduate and Masters candidates is available for immediate purchase during normal business hours at the Ferguson Center location. Doctoral students wishing to purchase academic regalia should contact the Supply Store directly at 1 (800) 825-6802 or 205-348-6168. After the published deadline, additional fees may be assessed. Academic Calendar.

Honor Cords & Stoles

LATIN HONORS: Undergraduate students are eligible for Latin Honors in accordance with the policy as outlined in the Undergraduate Catalog. The honor will be listed in the commencement program and printed on the reader card for announcement during the ceremony. The undergraduate Latin honors designation printed in the commencement program and on the candidate’s reader card is calculated based on the student’s cumulative University of Alabama grade point average at the end of the semester prior to the semester of graduation.

All honors will be recalculated after the final grading period for the semester has closed during the week following commencement. For that reason, the honor announced during the ceremony may be different than the final honor that appears on the student’s transcript and on the diploma. In some cases, the degree candidate may not actually graduate with an honor designation. Degree candidates who are eligible for Latin Honors should contact the Student Services office of their college or school for information regarding the distribution of honor stoles.

UNIVERSITY HONORS: Undergraduate degree candidates who are eligible for University Honors through the Honors College should email honors@ua.edu or call 205-348-5500 for distribution information.

Attire and Belongings

All degree candidates should wear comfortable shoes. Graduates should consider wearing long-sleeve cotton shirts, slacks, skirts, or dresses. Ties are optional. All degree candidates should remember to bring their regalia items, including any hoods, mortarboards, gowns, and cards.

Unfortunately, we cannot provide storage for personal items during the ceremony. Any valuables or personal items should be left with family members or guests. The University is not responsible for any unattended personal items left in the Crisp Indoor Practice Facility or Coleman Coliseum.

Hooding Instructions for Doctoral Candidates

Doctoral candidates should arrive with their hood at the Crisp Indoor Practice Facility prior to lining up. The hood should be folded and draped across the left arm for processional into the Coliseum (instructions below).  After the ceremony starts, upon direction from the marshal, doctoral candidates will approach the stage with the hood still draped across the left arm.  Once the doctoral candidate has reached the stage, the hood will be passed to the dissertation professor who will then place the hood over the candidate’s head as the name is announced.  After the hooding, the candidate will continue across the stage, shaking hands with the President before exiting the stage.

Student in commencement robe holds stole

Step 1

With the pointed end of the hood in your right hand, hold the hood in front of you with velvet edge to the floor.

Student in commencement robe folds stole lengthwise

Step 2

Fold the hood in half lengthwise.

Student in commencement robe has stole over left arm

Step 3

Place the hood over your left arm, velvet edge closest to your hand and pointed end of the hood on the outside of your arm.