Graduates seated at the Commencement ceremony cheering and posing for the camera

Commencement Week 2016 is full of exciting events to celebrate your accomplishments, including University Commencement on the National Mall.

As you prepare to celebrate, please remember to:

  • find out where and when to pick up your tickets
  • purchase keepsakes, including your class ring, announcements, diploma frame and much more

Apply to Graduate

icon for graduation application

Graduation Application

As a degree-seeking student, you are required to apply for graduation by submitting a graduation application in GWeb.

This applies to all programs except Law (J.D., LL.M) and SMHS-Medicine (M.D.). If you’re a Law or Medicine student, you cannot apply for graduation through GWeb. Instead, please submit an Application for Graduation (PDF) to your dean’s office.

If you missed the deadline, submit a Late Application (PDF) to your dean’s office. You will be charged a $35 late fee.

Submit a late application (PDF)
Graduation application deadlines

Application Deadlines

The deadlines for this academic year are:

  • February 1: for students completing degree requirements in the spring semester

  • March 15: for summer applicants who are eligible to "walk through"

  • July 1: for students completing degree requirements in summer sessions

  • ​October 1: for students completing the degree requirements in the fall semester

​If you missed your deadline, please submit a Late Application (PDF) to your dean’s office. You will be charged a $35 late fee.

Claim Your Commencement and School Celebration Tickets

GW Commencement Ticket

Ticket Process and Distribution Schedule

Guests need tickets to attend University Commencement and individual ceremonies. Graduates receive six guest tickets for University Commencement, while the quantity of tickets for school celebrations varies. Tickets for both events are distributed by your school and the schedule and process vary for each.

Learn more about how to get your tickets
GW Commencement Tickets

Lost and Extra Tickets

If you lose your tickets and need them reissued, submit a letter stating your situation for review and approval. If you want extra tickets, you can submit a request to be added to the waitlist. Extra tickets will be distributed if they become available.

Learn more about extra and lost tickets

Regalia and Diplomas

icons that depict cap and gown as required items to wear for commencement

Regalia (Cap and Gown)

Wear your regalia to University Commencement on the National Mall, school celebrations and individual recognition ceremonies, such as the Phi Beta Kappa Induction Ceremony and Doctoral Hooding Ceremony. You can keep your regalia, unless you are a M.D. graduate and rented it.

You can purchase your cap and gown at Commencement Fair 2016 (Thursday, March 31-Saturday, April 2) at the GW Campus Store.

Law School graduates should contact the school to purchase your regalia. M.D. graduates can rent regalia at the GW Campus Store.

Visit the campus store
icon of a diploma scroll and a letter with the address circled

Update Your Address to Receive Your Diploma

Doctoral candidates can pick up diplomas the same day as University Commencement at Colonial Central from noon to 4:00 p.m. with a valid photo ID. You can also pick up diplomas at Colonial Central May 14-May 18, 2016 from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Doctoral diplomas not picked up will be mailed to your diploma address. If you have a hold on your account you cannot pick up your diploma.

All other graduates will recieve diplomas by mail after Commencement. To ensure that your diploma is mailed to the appropriate address, log in to GWeb and update your diploma address under the personal information menu. Make sure it is an address where you will receive mail. Diplomas are mailed approximately 6-8 weeks after Commencement.

Update your address
icon of a diploma scroll and a diploma with the name circled

Confirm Your Name is Correct for Your Diploma

Non-GW employees

Ensure that your diploma includes the correct name by visiting the Office of the Registrar at Colonial Central. If you need to change your name, complete a Name/SSN/DOB Change Form (PDF). You will also need to provide a government issued ID and/or birth certificate. If you are a distance learner who has never been employed at GW in any capacity and need to update your name, you can email your completed form.

Current or previous GW employees

If you are currently or have ever been an employee of GW (student worker, GTA, etc.), visit the Faculty and Staff Service Center to check for accuracy. If you need to change your name, you need to provide your Social Security card. Distance learners who have worked for GW must still visit the center to change their name.

Diplomas take approximately 6-8 weeks to be mailed after Commencement. Once this happens, names can no longer be changed.

Get Ready to Graduate

2016 Senior Class Gift

Make Your Senior Class Gift

The Senior Class Gift Campaign, a tradition at GW since the 1980s, encourages you to leave an imprint on the university with a gift to an area of your choice. The Class of 2016 hopes to have 60% of the class give a donation.

Give now to contribute to the Senior Class Gift
Group of alumni posing for a photo in the Marvin Center

Learn About the Alumni Association

After you graduate you automatically become a member of the GW Alumni Association. As a lifetime member, you’ll be able to continue to engage with fellow graduates, current students and the GW community and help to build a culture of philanthropy.

Check out the benefits you’ll receive as an alumni
Icon of green donations and recycling in front of house icon.

Donate Items When You Move Out

Participate in the Green Move-Out by donating items you would otherwise throw away. All items will be bagged and donated to local charities.

See a list of items that will be collected

2016 Commencement Week Schedule


Commencement Week 2016 is from May 10-15. University Commencement is on May 15.

GW’s 2016 Commencement Week will take place from Tuesday, May 10, 2016 through Sunday, May 15, 2016. University Commencement is held on the National Mall Grounds, between the Washington Monument and Constitution Avenue, NW, on Sunday, May 15. Other events include the individual school celebrations, Doctoral Hooding Ceremony, Interfaith Baccalaureate Service, Phi Beta Kappa Induction Ceremony and other special receptions.

Student Speaker

Richard Ruiz, the 2015 student speaker.

Richard Ruiz, 2015 Student Speaker

Graduate student and U.S. Marine Captain Richard Ruiz was the 2015 student speaker for Commencement. He shared his story of becoming a teenage father and husband, then his perservation to become a decorated officer and earned an advanced degree.

Meet the student speaker
Enter the competition

Enter Student Speaker Competition

Up to 10 finalists are invited to audition in front of the competition judges. Deadline to submit materials is Friday, February 26, 2016.

Learn more about the process for the competition


The Cherry Tree yearbook logo

Take Your Cherry Tree Portrait

If you’d like to have a portrait taken by Victor O’Neill Studios, you will need to pay a $30 sitting fee. If you pay the fee, you will receive a free The Cherry Tree yearbook. Photo packages of your portrait can also be ordered.

View the portrait schedule
Students cheering with their arms in the air at commencement on the National Mall

Purchase Celebration DVDs

Commencement on the National Mall and school celebrations are videoed and a DVD of the events can be purchased.

Purchase a DVD of the celebrations
Doctoral candidate shaking Provost Lerman's hand after crossing the stage

Purchase Professional Photos

Photos will be taken of you by a professional photographer when you cross the stage during your school celebration. You will receive an email link and a free passport-sized digital proof of your photos three to seven days after your school celebration. You have the option to purchase the photos.

Purchase the photos through Grad Images
GW sweater and bag in the campus store

Shop for Graduation Keepsakes

Herff Jones, Inc. offers several graduation keepsakes including personalized announcements to send to your friends and family, diploma frames to display your diploma and class rings to showcase your GW affiliation. You can also visit the GW Campus Store to purchase other graduation keepsakes and GW memorabilia.

Purchase a class ring, diploma frame or announcement