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University of Wisconsin–Madison
May 12 & 13, 2017

Information for Graduates

Congratulations on your upcoming graduation! The university salutes your achievements and extends its best wishes for your future success. Please review the following information in preparation for your commencement ceremony.

The Basics

Instructions for graduates

Doctoral and Medical Professional Ceremony
Friday, May 12 5:30 p.m.
Kohl Center
Doors open at 3:30 p.m., graduates are asked to be seated by 5:10 p.m.

Law, Master’s and Bachelor’s Ceremony
Saturday, May 13 Noon
Camp Randall Stadium
Gates open at 10 a.m., graduates are asked to be seated by 11:15 a.m.

Apply to graduate

All students must apply to graduate. The deadline to apply and to have your name included in the commencement program was Friday, March 31, 2017. Visit the Student Center’s instruction page or watch the demo. Master’s and Ph.D. students can also find information on the Graduate School’s “Completing Your Degree” webpage.

Reserve your Cap and Gown

View the University Book Store’s timeline for picking up attire. Call (608) 257-3784, extension 5924, if you have questions.

Eligible undergraduate degree candidates will also pick up an honors stole, for which a refundable deposit is required. Honors candidates do not need to pre-order stoles; the University Book Store will receive a list of honors candidates in advance. Read about the significance of the cap and gown.

Attend the proper ceremony

Two commencement ceremonies will be held in Spring 2017. Make sure you show up at the right one! No tickets are required for either ceremony, and there is no limit to the number of guests a graduate may bring.

Attend the recognition event hosted by your school, college, department or division

Each school, college, division or program may host its own event during commencement weekend. For questions related to these events, please contact your school or college. Check to see when the special recognition event for your major or program will be hosted.

Complete your Graduation Plans Survey

Please take a few minutes to update us online about your post-graduate plans. All responses will be aggregated so that we can communicate the important contributions and accomplishments of UW-Madison graduates. This information will also be used to improve our academic programs.


Photo opportunities will be provided throughout the spring semester for graduates:


Thursday, April 6, 8:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m., at Union South, see TITU for day of room location
Wednesday, April 19, 8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m., at Memorial Union, see TITU for day of room location
Tuesday, April 25, 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., at Memorial Union, see TITU for day of room location
Tuesday, May 2, 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m., at Memorial Union, see TITU for day of room location

Photos with Abe on Bascom Hill

Wednesday, April 26, 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Friday, April 28, 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Tuesday, May 2 (Rain Date)

Photos on the 50-yard line at Camp Randall Stadium

Saturday, May 6, 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Photos at Your Commencement Ceremony

All graduates will also have the opportunity to have formal graduate portraits taken during their commencement ceremony.

Participants in the Friday evening ceremony for doctoral candidates will have their photo taken as they cross the stage to receive their diploma cover, and a solo portrait after they exit the stage. Photo stations at Gates A and B will be available before and after the ceremony for graduate portraits with friends and family.

Participants in the Saturday ceremony for law, master’s and bachelor’s degree candidates will have their photos taken as they enter the stadium, before taking their seats. Photo stations will also be available following the ceremony to ensure that everyone has an opportunity to have their portrait taken. The red diploma cover will be provided as a prop, you do not need to bring one with you.

UW–Madison is proud to work with Empire Photography, a locally owned small business established in 1983 by UW–Madison alumni Mark and Maggie Smith. Pre-register with Empire Photography in order to receive your proofs within 48 hours of the event.

Faculty Escorts

Commencement is a celebration of the achievements of our graduates, and in this regard the escorts of the candidates are intended to be their major professors who have contributed significantly to their academic growth and success. Degree candidates are responsible for identifying an appropriate professor to serve as a faculty escort, and asking that person to perform the role. Degree candidates will be asked to provide the name of their faculty escort when they complete the “apply to graduate” application. Although the identities of the escorts are not confirmed, we do ask that this practice of major professor escorts be followed whenever possible.

The faculty escort for a doctor of philosophy, doctor of musical arts and master of fine arts candidate sits with the candidate during the ceremony and accompanies the candidate across the platform during the march.

A faculty escort is expected to wear academic attire appropriate to her or his degree.

There are instances when a major professor is not able to escort a candidate, and in those circumstances other degree committee members or other departmental faculty fulfill the escort role. When that is not possible, the marshals at commencement are prepared to serve as the escort.

During the Ceremony

Faculty escorts always should seat themselves and march on the candidate’s right, allowing the candidate to move ahead as he/she approach center stage to receive the diploma folder from the dean of the Graduate School. The candidate and escort then return to their seats.

Faculty escorts with more than one candidate should sit with all of her/his candidates as close as possible to the front of the Ph.D./DMA/MFA section. This “group” of graduates and escort will march together to the platform on-ramp. The escort may accompany all of the candidates as a group across the platform or the escort may accompany one candidate at a time across the platform while the remaining candidates wait by the on-ramp until the escort returns and repeats the routine.