The University of Iowa

Graduate Doctoral Commencement Ceremony

Friday, December 15, 2023 - 9:00am Hancher Auditorium
Graduate College Stage and Crowd
Friday, December 15, 2023 - 9:00am
141 Park Road
Iowa City, IA 52242

Doors open one hour prior to the start of the ceremony. The ceremony will be livestreamed with captions enabled.

Katie Bottorff

Ceremony Information

To be eligible to participate, you must be a Summer or Fall 2023 degree applicant who submitted an RSVP in MyUI prior to the deadline (TBD). The Graduate College typically does not allow students to participate in commencement ceremonies at times when they are not eligible except in rare circumstances. Approval by the Associate Dean of Administrative Affairs in the Graduate College is required to participate in a commencement ceremony other than the ceremony students are eligible for based on their degree application. Reasons for an exception could include:

  • A significant health issue (themselves or immediate family members)
  • Student has left for employment in another country before their assigned ceremony takes place
  • A required clinical rotation (or similar requirement) outside of the state coinciding with the assigned commencement ceremony, such as Clinical or Counseling Psychology, Music Therapy, or MSTP students engaged in medical residency

In the vast majority of approved exception requests, students would be permitted to participate in a ceremony immediately following the assigned ceremony. For example, Fall degree applicants would be permitted to participate in the ceremony held the following spring. Early participation is very rarely approved. 

Exception forms should be submitted by the Director of Graduate Studies or the collegiate Associate Dean for Graduate Education. Submissions need to include a letter of support from the Director of Graduate Studies or the Associate Dean for Graduate Education, as well as a description from the student of the reasons for the exception request. The request form can be found here. Please direct any questions to Forms should be submitted to the Graduate College at least one month before the ceremony, if at all possible, to allow time for a decision to be made.

At this time, tickets are not required for Fall 2023 Graduate College ceremonies. This is subject to change.

Immediately following the doctoral ceremony, there will be a reception in Hancher Auditorium to honor our graduates until 12:00 PM. Graduates, guests, and faculty hooders are welcome to attend. Light refreshments will be provided in both the Smith Lobby and Stanley Café.

The Graduate College is seeking nominations for a student speaker for the doctoral commencement ceremony. While graduating students can nominate themselves, as well as fellow graduating students, nominations can be submitted by faculty or staff. The nomination form, found here, is now open and must include a resume/CV, a video speech sample, and a letter of support from a faculty or staff member explaining why they feel the nominee would be a positive and compelling commencement speaker and outstanding representative of their class. Incomplete applications will not be considered. The nomination deadline is Wednesday, October 11th, at 5pm. A speaker will be selected no later than October 25th to allow sufficient time for speech writing. Completed speeches must be submitted to the Graduate College Commencement Team ( by 5pm on Monday, November 27th.

Graduate student regalia can be rented or purchased online at The deadline for renting regalia is Wednesday, November 15th, at 10:59 PM Central Time. The deadline for purchasing regalia is Monday, October 23rd, at 10:59 PM Central Time. If you have questions, please contact Herff Jones at or (952) 447-4449. It is your responsibility to return rented regalia to Herff Jones within one week of the ceremony. Regalia cannot be returned at the ceremony and must be shipped directly to Herff Jones using the prepaid shipping label included in your regalia box.

Business attire is suggested but not required. Graduates are cautioned regarding their choice of footwear, as stairs and floor may be difficult to navigate. Wearing high-heeled footwear is not advised. Bags or purses may not be carried or left in the graduate staging or seating areas, with the exception of medically necessary items. Please plan to not bring these items in or leave them with your guests. 

Decorating caps and gowns is not permitted. Flowers are not to be worn on gowns or carried in hand. Caps are to be worn with the tams or mortar boards horizontal and the tassel on the left. Tams/mortar boards should be worn during the Processional, Recessional, and while degrees are being conferred. However, they may be removed at other times.

If a faculty hooder does not have a set of academic regalia, regalia can be rented from Herff Jones at before Wednesday, November 15th, at 10:59 PM Central Time. Faculty will not be able to pick up their rented regalia at the ceremony unless otherwise specified by Herff Jones. Please be prepared to provide a shipping address when ordering. Regalia must be returned to Herff Jones within one week of the ceremony using the prepaid shipping label included in the regalia box. Regalia cannot be returned at the ceremony. If you have questions regarding regalia ordering, please contact Herff Jones at or (952) 447-4449.

There is return information included in the regalia box, along with a prepaid return label. If you lost your prepaid label or did not receive one in your package, please use the link below to request a new label. Your confirmation number to request a new label begins with CPA and is found in your confirmation email. You may use any box to ship the regalia back, it does not have to be the box it was shipped to you in.