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Frequently Asked Questions

Answers to commonly asked questions about the June commencement event, the October conferral, and more can be found below.

Still have questions? Contact the offices supporting commencement.

How can I participate in the June virtual commencement event?

On June 11, 2021, Caltech's 127th commencement will broadcast at 10:00 a.m. Pacific on the Commencement website. During the virtual event, all students who are eligible to graduate on June 11 will have their names read aloud along with a personalized "grad slide" that will display their name and degree information. Click here to see a sample grad slide.
Graduating students will be invited to further customize their grad slide through the forthcoming Graduate Information Form, which opens on May 1 and will remain open through May 19. The Graduate Information Form will be emailed out to graduating students and will be linked on the Get Ready page of the Commencement website beginning May 1. Through the Graduate Information Form, students will:
● Submit a photo of themselves to be used on their grad slide● Customize their grad slide by listing Caltech clubs and affiliations● Submit their name as it should read in the printed program● Confirm their preferred mailing addresses for printed commencement announcements, printed event program, and other shipped items● Submit their name pronunciation. Caltech's deans and division chairs will use this submitted pronunciation when they record the name readings that will accompany the grad slides during the virtual event—the virtual "walk across the stage" moment.
Students who would like to upload a cap and gown photo for their grad slide should order their regalia as soon as possible. Online ordering for regalia opens on April 5. Please note: orders placed after April 30 may not arrive in time to wear regalia in your grad slide photo.

We will also be sharing additional opportunities to celebrate this milestone. Graduates may participate in virtual events hosted by different groups across campus in the lead up to June 11, connect and share memories with other Caltech grads on social media, and more.

I heard that other California universities are holding in-person graduations this year. Why isn't Caltech doing that?

Current public health restrictions prevent Caltech from realizing the essential ceremony elements in an in-person gathering that reflects Caltech's close-knit community and our values. In particular, the health guidelines that are presently in place would limit an in-person ceremony to students who are currently residing in California, and would therefore exclude students living elsewhere in the US, as well as our substantial international community. We also found the guidelines to be particular restrictive for friends and family. The Institute was not prepared to plan any commencement event that necessarily excludes substantial numbers of students receiving degrees.
As such, we have decided to proceed with celebrating our graduates in two stages: a virtual ceremony this June that allows for the timely conferral of degrees for the 2021 graduates; and then, in the fall, an inclusive, in-person event that enables us to bring 2020 and 2021 graduates together with friends, family, and colleagues in the familiar confines of our main campus.

Caltech announced that the 2021 graduation would take place in two parts: the virtual event this June and an in-person celebration event at a later date. When is the in-person celebration event going to take place?

The Institute is committed to holding an in-person celebration event for both undergraduate and graduate students whose degrees were awarded at the June 2020 virtual commencement event and the June 2021 virtual commencement event, as well as for graduate students whose degrees were conferred at the October 2020 Board of Trustees meeting. The exact date of that in-person celebration has not yet been determined due to the ever-changing situation surrounding COVID-19. However, we are aiming to hold this event in the fall of 2021. As soon as we have a date for that in-person celebration, we will notify you of our plans and process for participating. Please know that participating in the June virtual commencement event will not preclude you from participating in the in-person event.
While all the details are not yet finalized, the event will be open to friends and family, and we will include the traditional hooding ceremony for our PhD degree recipients and an opportunity for all students to walk across the stage and be recognized in the presence of the gathered Caltech community. Faculty and staff are eager to join families in celebrating the achievement of their students in our on-campus setting.

I received my degree in October by vote of the Board of Trustees. Can I participate in the June 2021 virtual commencement event?

Yes, if you received your degree in October 2020, you are eligible to participate in the June 2021 virtual commencement and will receive all relevant email communications regarding the virtual event. Please refer to the Get Ready page to see the steps required to prepare for commencement.

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Image of students at Commencement.
students at Commencement with confetti