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2017 Instructions for All Degree Candidates

Instructions for All Candidates Participating in Commencement

What can I bring to Commencement? What time do I show up? Where? Here is what you can expect for the big day. 

    • Still need your cap and gown? Contact the Caltech Store at 626-395-6161 or via email.
    • What should I bring to the ceremony? Don't bring purses, backpacks, flower bouquets, etc. - you will not be allowed to carry them with you, and will have to check them in at the Information Booth.
    • Can I carry a program or a water bottle? No, there will be a program and water for you under your chair.

Please read below for instructions on what to expect on Commencement morning.

Download the Information and Activities booklet (PDF)

Instructions for B.S. Candidates Participating in Commencement

Please note that undergraduates do not need to notify the Registrar’s Office that they are participating in the ceremony.  The names of all undergraduates listed in the Commencement program will be read during the ceremony.

Please read the B.S. candidate marching instructions with information on what to expect on Commencement morning.

Instructions for M.S., Eng. and Ph.D. Candidates Participating in Commencement

All graduating students completing their masters, engineers or doctoral degrees and plan to walk and have their names read during Caltech’s commencement ceremony must register by June 1, 2017.

After June 1, 2017, please contact the Registrar’s office at 626-395-6354 or by email.

Please read the Masters Degree candidate instructions with information on what to expect on Commencement morning.

Please read the Engineer's Degree candidate instructions with information on what to expect on Commencement morning.

Please read the PhD Degree candidate instructions with information on what to expect on Commencement morning.

Bursar's Office Check Out Procedures for All Graduating Students

All Caltech graduating or separating students are expected to participate in an exit interview process with the Bursar's staff before Commencement or leaving the Institute.


Candidates for the B.S., M.S., Engineer’s, and Ph.D. degrees may purchase their caps and gowns at the Grad Fair, Wednesday, April 19, 2017, 10 am – 3 pm, and at the Caltech Store through the morning of Commencement, Friday, June 16th.

Academic garb looks best when worn over dark shoes and dark lower garments. The collar of a white shirt or blouse nicely complements the academic robe. Tassels are worn on the left at all times.


It is very important that each candidate for a degree reach his/her specified line formation site, in cap and gown, no later than 8:45 a.m. on Friday morning. The Commencement exercises will begin promptly at 10:00 a.m. and latecomers may not be included in the processional. Detailed instructions on your participation in the ceremony will be distributed in the marshaling areas when you are asked to sign in.

There will be staff present to coordinate the assembling of the academic procession. Candidates will form in a line at each of these three locations:

    • B.S. degrees: along the covered walk south of Parsons-Gates
    • M.S. and Engineer’s degrees: along the covered walk at the south end of the bridge across the Millikan Library reflecting pool 
    • Ph.D. degrees: along the covered walk north of East Bridge, behind the M.S. and Engineer’s candidates

The marching order will be:

    1. Candidates for the B.S. degree
    2. Candidates for the M.S. and Engineer's degrees
    3. Candidates for the Ph.D. degree
    4. Faculty
    5. Trustees and Speaker

Candidates for degrees will follow the Marshal of their respective group to their seats on the Beckman Mall. Candidates are to remain standing until Mr. David Lee, Chairman of the Board of Trustees asks the audience to be seated at the beginning of the ceremony.

End of Ceremony

Graduates should remain standing after the Alma Mater and during the recessional march of the Faculty, Trustees, and Speakers—until the recessional music stops. There is no formal recessional for graduates.