Frequently Asked Questions


How is UMBC celebrating commencement?

Winter 2021 Commencement will include three ceremonies:

  • Tuesday, December 21, 10 a.m.: Graduate Commencement;
  • Wednesday, December 22, 10 a.m.: College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences; School of Social Work; and Erickson School of Aging Studies Commencement; and
  • Wednesday, December 22, 3 p.m.: College of Natural and Mathematical Sciences, College of Engineering and Information Technology, and Division of Undergraduate Academic Affairs Commencement.

Graduates will be able to attend in-person and will walk across the stage to receive acknowledgment of their achievement. All ceremonies will include masking and physical distancing. At this time, we intend to accommodate two guests per graduate. This is subject to change based upon the conditions and circumstances necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic. We will also offer a virtual option for graduates and family members who cannot attend. We continue to work on making the virtual experience exciting and engaging and appreciate the support of our community in this effort.

All graduates will be required to register for commencement no later than 5 p.m. on Sunday, November 28, 2021. We will not be able to accommodate late registrations. We will make a final determination on capacity and release family member tickets on Wednesday, December 1, 2021.

Where will the link be to view the ceremonies online?

On the morning of the ceremony, the link to view it will be on the top of this page. Please share with your family and friends.

How do I register for the events?

Graduates who have been cleared to graduate by either the Graduate School or the Registrar’s office will receive an email with information on how to register for the online ceremony. All graduates that which to participate in person must register by 5 pm, November 28.

Do I have to participate in the ceremony in person?

No. Graduates are not required to participate in-person.

What about my Cap and Gown?

Cap and Gown purchases are handled by a third party company, Herff Jones.

Regalia IS required for graduates to participate in the in-person ceremony.

Regalia is NOT required for the online ceremony. However, if students wish to order regalia for photos, they may do so.

Undergraduates may purchase caps and gowns through the bookstore. Caps and gowns will be shipped to the address you provide when ordering. If you are a returning graduate from 2020 or spring of 2021, and you purchased your regalia for those online celebrations, you can wear that regalia if you participate in the in-person ceremonies.

Ph.D. and Master’s degrees candidates may choose to rent regalia through the bookstore. If rented, the regalia will be mailed with a return shipping label. You are responsible for the return of the regalia, and you will need to rent regalia again if you choose to participate in a future in-person ceremony.

When will I receive my diploma?

Students will earn their degrees and be able to graduate this semester, consistent with academic standards.

All undergraduate students who have graduated, per the final review process conducted by the Registrar’s Office, will receive their undergraduate diploma in the mail. Undergraduate diplomas are not distributed at the commencement ceremony. Students can expect to receive their diploma at their mailing address four to six weeks after their degree has been conferred. For additional information regarding your undergraduate diploma, please visit the Registrar’s Office website.

All graduate students who have completed degree requirements and been approved for graduation by the Graduate School will receive their graduate diploma in the mail. Students can expect to receive their diploma at the mailing address given on their supplemental application for graduation.

Will I receive my Commencement Honors stole or my 4.0 cord?

Honors are based upon coursework taken over the duration of a student’s entire undergraduate academic career at UMBC. To be eligible for Commencement Honors, students must have earned at least 60 graded credits at UMBC (excluding Pass/Fail and Audit grades) with a GPA as follows:

  • Summa cum laude (“With highest honor”): Students graduating with a GPA between 3.95 and 4.0.
  • Magna cum laude (“With high honor”): Students graduating with a GPA between 3.75 and 3.9499.
  • Cum laude (“With honor”): Students graduating with a GPA between 3.5 and 3.7499.

Returning graduates that participate in the in-person ceremony should bring their honors cords and/or stoles to the ceremony with them, we will not provide additional cords or stoles to graduates that have already received them.

While students may be provisionally recognized with Honors at the time of the commencement ceremony and in the commencement program (refer to Eligibility for Undergraduate Commencement Participation), the official determination of Honors occurs after the commencement ceremony, once final semester grades have been submitted and calculated. The diploma of the University and the final official transcript are the only documents that officially award Honors at the time the degree is conferred by the University.

For additional information regarding Commencement and University Honors, please visit the Registrar’s Office website.