Applying to Graduate

When you apply to graduate, you inform Penn that you expect your diploma to be conferred for a given semester (spring, summer or fall). The system will be accepting applications until November 12, 2018. 

Ph.D. Students

  • Ph.D.  students  must complete the 2 step application process:
  • Apply to graduate and RSVP here with GSE and...
  • Apply to graduate here with the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences to have your degree conferred

** Please note you will be provided the link to the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences application upon completion of the GSE application**

Ed.D., M.Phil.Ed & M.S.Ed. Students

The GSE Ceremony

The GSE commencement ceremony will be held on Saturday, May 18, 2019 at 9AM in the Palestra, 233 S. 33rd  St.,  which is directly north of Franklin Field. Grads will register and line up for the processional in the Rockwell Gym of the Tse Center (Formerly Hutchinson Gym). Please refer to this diagram of  the Palestra for a visual orientation.

Our free Penn GSE app through Guidebook will be updated to reflect the 2019 Commencement details when they become  available. We strongly recommend that you allow sufficient time to arrive early: It's also alumni weekend so traffic around campus will be heavily congested.

Doors of the Palestra will open for guest seating at 7:30AM. Graduates should arrive at 7:45AM for registration. The processional will begin at 8:45AM, and the ceremony will end at 11:00am.  You may bring an unlimited number of guests to the GSE ceremony. Tickets are NOT required for either the GSE ceremony or the reception.

The ceremony will begin with a welcome from the Dean, followed by the  commencement address given by our Commencement speaker. After the keynote address & award presentations, each doctoral student will be called onto the stage to be hooded by the advisor/chair and have the degree conferred.

Then each master's student will be called onto the stage and have the degree conferred. After descending the stage, please pause for a photo taken by a professional photographer.  After the degrees have been conferred, graduates and guests are invited to a reception on campus.


The reception will be held immediately after the ceremony in Penn Commons. Updates will be provided as details become available.


**Please click here to see how regalia should be worn**

The Hood

The hoods are lined in silk with the official color or colors of the institution which granted the highest degree held by the wearer; more than one color is shown by division of the field color in a variety of ways, such as by chevron or chevrons. University of Pennsylvania graduates wear a hood lined in red with a blue chevron. The binding or edging of the hood is in velvet, with widths of two inches, three inches and five inches for the bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees respectively; the color of the border indicates the field of study to which the degree pertains.

You must bring/wear your regalia to the Palestra to participate in the ceremony. We do NOT have spare caps and gowns. Only students with the correct regalia may participate in the ceremony.

Articles of clothing which will be visible at the neck and below the gown should be in keeping with the conservative style of the academic attire. We do not recommend high heels as the ramps inside the facility, which is where you will process in, are very steep.The hood should be secured so that it will not slip off the shoulders - you should bring a safety pin for this purpose. The cap, which needs bobby pins to stay on your head, is worn parallel to the ground; the tassel is worn in front and on the right side until the degree has been conferred.

Academic regalia is required for degree candidates at Commencement. Regalia can be ordered from the Penn Bookstore. All graduates must purchase or rent regalia to participate in the graduation festivities. Doctoral students have the option to either purchase or rent their regalia, while all other students should purchase their regalia.  Be sure to check that you receive the correct hood for your degree when you pick up your regalia. if you arrive for the ceremony with the wrong hood it will be too late to rectify the matter.


 Diplomas are mailed by the University via First Class mail and will be sent to the permanent address listed in Penn-in-Touch, unless a different address is specified in the “Temporary Address Field” effective from June 1 – July 15.   Addresses should be updated in Penn-in-Touch no later than June 1. International diplomas can take up to eight weeks for delivery. To arrange for expedited mailing or to pick up the diploma, contact the Diploma Coordinator by June 1.  Please click here for more information.

Accommodations for Persons with Disabilities

The Palestra is accessible to persons with disabilities. Doors for the accessible seating area will open at 7:15 a.m. We recommend that guests with disabilities arrive at the 33rd Street entrance, where they will be directed to the accessible seating area. Accessible seating is limited and on a first come, first served basis. Only one escort is permitted to sit with the guest with disabilities.


We strongly recommend that all attendees arrive early and allow ample time for parking.  Click here for a list of all campus parking lots.

*Email and PennCard After Graduation

Please note that your GSE student email address will expire approximately six months after your graduation date. Any other internal GSE IT resources and access, as well as Penn Card access, will expire immediately following your graduation.


Please review our Graduation FAQs. If your question is not answered there, please call 215-898-6456 for questions regarding the Penn GSE ceremony. For questions regarding the Penn ceremony, please contact the Commencement Coordinator at either (215)898-7005 or

University Commencement

The University Commencement Ceremony will be held on Monday, May 14th in Franklin Field at 9:30AM. Click here for the University Commencement Brochure. The procession of degree candidates will start to enter the field at about 9:30 a.m. The ceremony is scheduled to begin at 10:15 a.m. and end at approximately noon. Complete information is available here.

All graduates are encouraged to attend both the University and GSE commencement ceremonies. No RSVP's are required for the University ceremony. The gates to Franklin Field will open at 8:30 a.m., and it is recommended that attendees arrive as early as possible.

Guests should enter through the southeast gates (intersection of South St. and Convention Ave.) to Franklin Field and will be seated in the southeast, east, and northeast stands of the stadium. Guests with tickets for disability seating should enter at the southwest gates (on 33rd and South Sts.)

Student Procession

 Students will arrive by 8:45 a.m. at Hamilton Village, 39th and Locust Walk, for their procession, which will step off promptly at 9:00 a.m.  

More Information

Families and friends of graduates can find more information regarding Commencement and graduation activities here or by calling (215) 573-GRAD (4723).


The University supplies each graduating student with 8 announcements and envelopes for the University-wide ceremony, NOT the GSE ceremony, for mailing to family and friends. These invitations are available at the 1st floor reception desk GSE, 3700 Walnut Street in early April. Graduates may bring an unlimited number of guests to the University Commencement Ceremony and tickets are not required.


First, please review our Graduation FAQs. If your question is not answered here, please email or call 215-898-6456 for questions regarding the Penn GSE ceremony. For questions regarding the Penn ceremony, please contact the Commencement Coordinator at either (215)898-7005 or