Commencement

Frequently Asked Questions

This list of frequently asked questions was last updated on April 8 and will continue to be updated as additional information becomes available.

This year's modified version of Commencement will be held from Friday, April 30 to Sunday, May 2. Please see the schedule of events for additional information.

Commencement 2021 is being planned and held in a manner that is healthy and safe, including being fully compliant with the University’s COVID-19 Campus Safety Policy and the rules and regulations governing events promulgated by the State of Rhode Island. Brown recognizes that graduating is a tremendous milestone that celebrates the end of a journey of learning, discovery and building lifelong friendships and connections. And we understand the disappointment of marking this momentous occasion without family and friends witnessing the event in-person, but safety remains our first priority.

Graduating students who are actively enrolled in and compliant with the University’s COVID-19 testing program (graduating Warren Alpert Medical School students are not enrolled in testing given their clinical rotations and are eligible to be vaccinated) may attend in person.

For undergraduates, “graduating students” is defined as those students who have or are on track to complete all of their degree requirements by the end of April 2021 and whose degrees will be voted by the faculty at the special faculty meeting on April 30, 2021 and 2021.5 mid-year students. This includes students currently in their eighth semester, studying on campus or remotely; students who completed their requirements at the end of last summer 2020 or in December 2020 (2020.5 mid-years); and students who are expected to complete their degree requirements to graduate from Brown over the summer or fall of 2021 (2021.5 mid-years).

Graduating students who are not currently studying on-campus, including undergraduate students who completed their requirements at the end of last summer 2020 or in December 2020 (2020.5 mid-years) and graduate students who completed their degrees in October or February, may only attend in person if they can participate in the campus testing program for at least 10 days prior to Commencement — this means entering the testing program no later than April 21, 2021. Students must engage in testing for this entire period regardless of their COVID-19 vaccination status.

No one will be admitted to the College Green for any in-person ceremony without being in testing compliance (including having had a recent negative test result) and displaying a registration wristband. Due to health and safety considerations there can be no exceptions to these requirements.

Undergraduate students who completed their requirements at the end of last summer 2020 or in December 2020 (2020.5 mid-years) and students who are expected to complete their degree requirements to graduate from Brown over the summer or fall of 2021 (2021.5 mid-years) may attend Commencement 2021 in person.

Students in these groups who are not already on-campus (because they completed their requirements in December or they are currently remote) may only attend in person if they can participate in the campus testing program for at least 10 days prior to Commencement — this means entering the testing program no later than April 21, 2021. Students must engage in testing for this entire period regardless of their COVID-19 vaccination status. Those students have received or will shortly receive a communication from the University regarding how to let us know if they wish to attend Commencement in person.

No. Families and friends should not book travel and accommodations because they will attend virtually rather than in person. If plans have already been made, we encourage you to review the refund policies of your carriers and hotels.

All events will be streamed to the Commencement website and detailed communications will be sent leading up to the weekend.

Yes. The University only graduates and generates diplomas for students who complete the application to graduate in Banner. When in Banner, log into the secure area, go to student and applicant, student records, and apply to graduate. The deadline to apply is April 1.

Due to public health conditions, and unlike previous years, rental of regalia for medical and graduate students will not be permitted. Keepsake regalia for all graduating students (undergraduate, medical and graduate) may be purchased online from the Brown Bookstore. Custom regalia is also available for graduates pursuing academia as a profession to purchase. Regalia should be worn for your Commencement ceremony. Commissioning students and those with military service have the option to wear formal military attire in place of the cap and gown if they so choose and if permitted according to their status with the military. 

Please note the following deadlines for purchasing regalia:

  • Keepsake Master’s, Medical and Doctoral Regalia – April 14
  • Keepsake Undergraduate Regalia – April 23
  • Custom Hood – April 2
  • Custom Regalia – March 22

 

No. Diploma ceremonies will not be held due to the challenge of overseeing and staffing such a large number of events and ensuring compliance with health and safety standards. Undergraduate and graduate students will receive their diploma and Commencement program by mail after the weekend (please note that they will begin to be mailed after the weekend and that process will take several weeks; digital diploma copies will be available about a week after Commencement).

Departments are being encouraged to hold virtual celebrations with their students, which can take place during the week preceding Commencement.

The Registrar's Office will mail diplomas to all students after Commencement to the address provided when you applied to graduate. The Registrar's Office will send out a confirmation email once throughout the application cycle which ends on April 1. Please read and follow the instructions in that confirmation to ensure your diploma gets to its destination. 

Note: Because the number of graduating medical students is small and they are eligible to be vaccinated we may allow for contactless presentation of diplomas at the Alpert Medical School ceremony, and a plan for doing so is being developed and assessed.   

Yes. A printed Commencement program will be mailed with your diploma after Commencement.

Class rings, announcements and diploma frames can be purchased from the Brown Bookstore.

You may purchase a yearbook and schedule a senior portrait by visiting Liber Brunensis.

Virtual Reunion 2021 will be held from Friday, April 30 to Sunday, May 2. Reunion 2021 classes (those ending in 1's and 6's) and Reunion 2020 classes (those ending in 0's and 5's) will participate. Additional information will be made available on the Reunion website.

As was previously communicated, Brown had hoped to host a double Commencement and Reunion Weekend this spring that included members of the Class of 2020. Unfortunately, the public health situation has made this unfeasible. A committee comprised of members of the Class of 2020 is being formed to work with the University to plan for an in-person Commencement celebration during Commencement/Reunion Weekend 2022. The committee will convene in early summer. Members of the Class of 2020 are asked to send an email if interested in joining the committee.

Email [email protected] with any questions.