Ceremony Schedule

A sleeve for a CU Denver diploma stands on top of many other sleeves for diplomas.

Please note: Applying to graduate is a separate process from registering for commencement.

Registration is required for participation in the commencement ceremony. Early registration is conducted through the Herff Jones regalia rental website: Register now!

What to Expect

CU Denver's commencement is an all-campus ceremony during which we recognize doctoral, educational specialist, master's and bachelor's degree recipients. Below is a quick overview of what to expect on the morning of commencement. Please note that there is no rehearsal for the ceremony.

1. Check In

Graduates should arrive no later than 7:45 a.m. at Exhibit Hall B in the Colorado Convention Center, which is through Exhibit Hall A (where the ceremony is held). We know this is early, but it takes some time to check in over 1,000 graduates! Come dressed in your regalia. Undergraduates wear tassels on the right side of the cap until instructed during the ceremony to move it to the left side. Master's degree candidates wear hoods. Doctoral candidates drape hoods over their left arms until hooded in the ceremony.

2. Find Your School/College

Bachelor's and master's degree candidates should locate the flag with your school/college's name on it and check in. Your school/college will have your reader card. You will present this card to volunteers during the ceremony to have your name read as you cross the stage. Please check all information on the card. Doctoral students will check in at the doctoral candidates table. If you are interested in purchasing professional photographs of you crossing the stage, confirm that the back side of the reader card includes your contact information.

3. Line Up

At 8:30 a.m., all graduates must line up in Exhibit Hall B for the procession. Follow the instructions provided by the faculty marshals, who will guide you to line up on colored lines taped to the floor. You will line up in pairs of two and you will be seated with the person you are next to, as well as the people in your line. If you and your friends are standing on different colored lines, you will be seated in different sections.

Please note: We do not line up graduates in alphabetical order. Your reader card is handed to the announcer, who will read it in the order in which you cross the stage. Don't lose the card!

Doctoral graduates process behind the Doctoral Candidates banner and lead all graduates onto the floor. Behind them, banners are carried by designated graduates at the front of each of the schools/colleges. Master's graduates line up behind the banners and bachelor's degree recipients line up behind mater's graduates.

4. Follow Faculty to Your Seat

Graduates should follow faculty marshals as the procession moves into Exhibit Hall A. Upon reaching your seating row, faculty marshals will direct you to your seats. Please fill every seat in the row. You will remain standing until the commencement marshal invites you to sit.

The following items are prohibited on the event floor: bags of any sort, alcohol, illegal drugs, artificial noise makers, banners, large signs, bottles, cans, coolers, fireworks, helium balloons, aerosol cans, defensive weapons, and pets (service animals are permitted, please contact the Commencement Office for more information).

5. Cross the Stage

Degrees are conferred in the following order: Doctoral and educational specialist degrees, and then master's and bachelor's degrees for each college and school.

Doctoral graduates are called to the stage first, followed by educational specialists. Then each college or school will ask their master’s degree graduates to come to the stage, followed by their bachelor’s degree graduates.

Master's degree and bachelor's degree graduates will be directed to both sides of the stage. Each side has a podium with an announcer who will read your name as it is printed on your reader card. Names are read alternatively from each podium. Photos are taken by professional photographers at the bottom of each ramp and as you receive your diploma cover and shake the CU Denver Chancellor's or CU System President's hand. You will reach out with your left hand to accept the diploma cover from the Chancellor or President and shake hands with your right hand (if shaking hands with a male is not culturally acceptable, you may simply accept the diploma cover from the President with your left hand).

For safety and consideration for the significance of the ceremony, graduates with children are not allowed to bring their children to the stage with them.

6. Return to Your Seat

After crossing the stage, you will exit down the stairs and return to the same seat. You'll be excited, so a faculty marshal will be there to help you find it again. As a courtesy to your fellow graduates, no one is permitted to leave until the ceremony has concluded.

7. Ceremony Completes

At the end of the ceremony, graduates recess out of the main stage area in the order that they processed in: first in, first out. Gowns and hoods (if applicable) are returned upon the conclusion of the ceremony. Caps and tassels are yours to keep!

Frequently Asked Questions: Ceremony Schedule