Commencement

Frequently Asked Questions Photo Header

Below you will find frequently asked questions on eligibility, the virtual ceremony, commencement box, and regalia, diploma, and distinction cords. Please use the buttons to go directly to the related FAQs.


Eligibility FAQs


Ceremony FAQs


  • How do I know which ceremony to attend or participate in?

    All in-person commencement ceremonies have the same program and speakers. There are not separated based on school/college how they have been in the past. With this in mind, we recommend registering for the in-person ceremony that best fits your schedule. We have multiple ceremony dates and times to accommodate you.

    To RSVP for your in-person ceremony, log in to your Commencement Registration account.

    For our graduates celebrating virtually, the virtual ceremony will be available beginning Friday, May 7 at 1 p.m. via the Livestream Page. Graduates and their families can access the virtual ceremony at any point after it has gone live.

  • Will I be individually recognized at my commencement ceremony?

    Yes! Individual graduate recognition will be a part of both the in-person and virtual ceremonies. All graduates will have their name read aloud with your individual graduate slide displaying their name, degree earned, Latin honors (if applicable) and a personal photo (if uploaded via the graduate’s Commencement Registration).

  • What health and safety protocols will be taken for the in-person ceremonies?

    All current university, county, and state health and safety guidelines will be strictly followed during UNCW’s in-person ceremonies. Please review the requirements below and complete the acknowledgement.

    Face Coverings and Masks
    All graduates, guests, and staff will be required to wear cloth face coverings or masks for the entirety of the ceremony. Cloth face coverings and masks should be worn properly over the nose and mouth. There will be no entry into Trask Coliseum without a face covering or mask. If a graduate or guest does not follow the face covering requirement while inside Trask Coliseum, they will be asked to leave.

    Social Distancing
    Six feet of social distancing will be maintained at all times, with the exception of a graduate and their guest. Graduates and guests will be seated directly next to each other with six feet of social distancing around the pairs. To maintain distancing, graduates will not leave their seats during the ceremony and will instead be individually recognized from their seat by standing when their name is called.

    Experiencing COVID-19 Symptoms or Possible Exposure
    If graduates or their guest are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or believe they may have been exposed to COVID-19, they should not attend their in-person ceremony. All graduates are recognized in the virtual ceremony and so graduates may celebrate virtually if they are experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms. The virtual ceremony also remains available for one year so graduates can celebrate once their symptoms have improved.

    COVID-19 Surveillance Testing
    We highly encourage all graduates to participate in UNCW’s COVID-19 Surveillance Testing during the week of May 3. If graduates obtain a positive test result, they should not attend their in-person ceremony. All graduates are recognized in the virtual ceremony and so graduates may celebrate virtually if they obtain a positive test result and require quarantine. For more information about surveillance testing, visit the Best for the Nest webpage.

    We also encourage graduates’ guests to obtain a negative COVID-19 test result prior to arriving to campus. Guests who obtain a positive test result should not attend the in-person ceremonies. All ceremonies are live streamed via the UNCW Commencement Website and so guests may view the ceremonies remotely.

    While COVID-19 testing is highly encouraged to participate, we will not require test results for entrance into Trask Coliseum.

  • How does in-person ticketing work?

    In-person ceremonies will require tickets for entrance into Trask Coliseum.

    Grad Pass
    Graduates who have RSVPed for an in-person ceremony will be issued a GradPass on Wednesday, April 21. The GradPass is an electronic ticket that will have an assigned seat number and scannable QR code for entrance to Trask Coliseum. Graduates will need to display their QR code via a smartphone or a printed download as they arrive for their ceremony.

    Guest Tickets
    All graduates registered for an in-person ceremony will automatically receive one (1) guest ticket for their in-person ceremony. This guest will sit directly next to them during the ceremony and six feet of social distancing will be observed around the graduate/guest pair. The guest electronic ticket will have an assigned seat number and scannable QR code for entrance to Trask Coliseum. Guests will need to display their QR code via a smartphone or a printed download of it as they arrive for the ceremony.

    Accessing GradPass and Guest Tickets
    Graduates will be able to access and download their GradPass and guest ticket by logging back into their Commencement Registration account on or after Wednesday, April 21. Beginning on April 21 through Commencement, graduates will have access to their GradPass and guest ticket via their Commencement Registration account.

Commencement Box FAQs


  • How do I get a commencement box?

    All May graduates will need to complete the Commencement Box Request Form by Monday, April 26, 2021. We require this form to ensure we have an accurate address on file for you. 

  • Is my diploma included the commencement box?

    A diploma holder will be included in your box, but it will not contain your official diploma. Diplomas are ordered by the Office of the Registrar about 6-8 weeks after your date of graduation. Diplomas are mailed directly from the vendor to the diploma mailing address listed on your graduation application.

    If you have any questions regarding your diploma, reach out to the Office of the Registrar at graduation@uncw.edu .

  • When will my commencement box arrive?

    We expect commencement boxes to ship at the end of April and will arrive during the first week of May. All graduates who complete a request form by Monday, April 26 should receive their commencement box before the Spring Commencement Exercises on Saturday, May 8.

Regalia, Diploma, Distinction Cords FAQs


  • Can I still get my regalia for the virtual ceremony?

    Yes, May graduates are still able to receive their regalia. For information on obtaining your regalia, please visit the Cap and Gown Information page .

  • Do I have to pay for my regalia?

    Main campus students pay a commencement fee which covers the cost of their regalia, meaning main campus students will not need to pay to have their cap and gown sent to them. However, if you are a main campus student, you will need to place an order for your cap and gown through our Herff Jones ordering site beginning March 1. For more information, visit the Cap and Gown Information page .

    Distance Education and Extension students (i.e. students graduating from an online or extension program) do not pay a commencement fee, but are still welcome to purchase their regalia. If you are a Distance Education or Extension student, please visit the Cap and Gown Information page for ordering instructions.

  • When will my regalia arrive?

    Cap and gowns are shipped directly from our vendor, Herff Jones. Typically it will take about 2-3 weeks after you place your order to receive your delivery. To receive your regalia before the virtual ceremonies on Saturday, May 8, you will need to place your order before Wednesday, April 21.

  • How and when will I receive my diploma?

    Diplomas are ordered through the Office of the Registrar about 6-8 weeks after your date of graduation. Diplomas are mailed directly from the vendor to the diploma mailing address listed on your graduation application.

    If you have any questions regarding your diploma, reach out to the Office of the Registrar at graduation@uncw.edu .

  • Where do I get my distinction cords?

    Main Campus graduates who qualify for an academic distinction will have their cords arrive inside of their commencement box.

    Distance Education and Extension graduates who qualify for an academic distinction will have the option to purchase their cords. Distance Education and Extension graduates who qualify for distinction will receive an email in April with ordering information. 

  • Where can I get announcements, class rings, diploma frames, etc.?

    Announcements, class rings, diploma frames, and other commencement merchandise can be purchased through our regalia vendor, Herff Jones. Once regalia ordering has opened on March 1, graduates will be able to place an order for any commencement merchandise or memorabilia through the online Herff Jones store.