Carnegie Mellon University

Diploma ceremony FAQ

Questions about the Commencement Ceremonies

Questions about visiting Pittsburgh

Most questions about visiting the Pittsburgh area are answered by visiting the main CMU commencement website and will be linked to in answers to these questions.

General questions about graduating


Questions about the Commencement Ceremonies 

What is the difference between the CMU and ECE ceremonies?
The CMU Commencement Ceremony is a celebration for all B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. graduating students. There is a large processional of all graduating students, several speakers, and a general conferring of degrees by college. The main CMU ceremony takes place on Sunday, May 20, at 11:00 a.m. in the Gesling Stadium on campus. Please see the CMU Commencement website for further details and information. The ECE Diploma Ceremony is a celebration specifically for Electrical and Computer Engineering B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. students. Students will be called onstage and receive their diploma at this ceremony. The ECE Diploma Ceremony takes place on Sunday, May 20, at 2:00 p.m. at Petersen Events Center on the University of Pittsburgh campus.

What time should I arrive for the ceremony?
The CMU Commencement Ceremony begins at 11AM in Gesling Stadium, but the doors to the stadium open at 9AM for guests, and guests should be seated no later than 10:15AM for the processional of graduates. Graduates should arrive to their robing location by 10AM. This is separate from Gesling Stadium - graduates and guests should arrive in different locations.

How do I get to the ECE Diploma Ceremony?
CMU will provide shuttles from campus after the CMU Commencement Ceremony to get to the Petersen Events Center where the ECE Diploma Ceremony will take place. Shuttles will also be available to return everyone to campus after the diploma ceremony and reception are over. We strongly recommend that guests go directly from the CMU Ceremony to the ECE Diploma Ceremony in order to be on time. Parking is limited in Oakland and we recommend taking the provided shuttles. Shuttle information, and walking and driving directions are provided on the CMU Commencement page.

How long is the CMU Commencement ceremony?
The CMU Commencement ceremony begins at 11AM and lasts approximately 90 minutes. This time does tend to vary depending on the length of the processional and speakers. The ECE Diploma Ceremony will be beginning at 2PM at Petersen Event Center off campus - we recommend that guests attending both ceremonies board the CMU shuttles immediately after the end of the main ceremony to make it to the diploma ceremony on time.

How long is the ECE Diploma Ceremony?
The ECE Diploma Ceremony begins at 2PM and lasts approximately 2 hours. Light refreshments will be served after the ceremony. We recommend that anyone planning on taking a flight after this ceremony does not book anything earlier than 7PM (later is preferable) to allow for adequate time to get from the end of the ceremony to your flight.

Is it mandatory to attend either ceremony?
No, it is not required to attend either the CMU Commencement Ceremony or the ECE Diploma Ceremony. Graduates can also attend one without attending the other. Anyone that will be receiving their diploma that does not attend the ECE diploma ceremony will have their diploma mailed to them. Please make sure that your diploma mailing address (separate from your other addresses) is accurate and updated in SIO. Regardless of whether or not you are attending the ECE Diploma Ceremony, please respond to the RSVP form to let us know. Since attendance dictates what diplomas we hand out and seating for graduates, please respond on the form as promptly as you can.

Do I need to let someone know if I am attending or not attending commencement?
There is a toggle in SIO for whether or not you are attending the commencement ceremony - this is only for the CMU main ceremony. If you need to update this information please let your academic advisor know if you are not able to change it on your own. You must RSVP for the ECE Diploma Ceremony by using the RSVP form. Since attendance dictates what diplomas we hand out and seating for graduates, please respond on the form as promptly as you can.

Where can I find information about the honors ceremony?
Honors ceremonies are done by each individual college for undergraduate students only. Students that are eligible to attend the honors ceremony will be notified by invitation. Further information can be found on the CMU Commencement page.

What do I wear to the commencement ceremony?
Graduates participating in the CMU Commencement Ceremony or ECE Diploma Ceremony must wear appropriate regalia. Students that attend without regalia will not be permitted to participate in the ceremony. Regalia can be purchased at the grad fair on March 21 & 22 for all students currently on campus, or ordered directly from the University Store website if you are unable to attend the grad fair. Please find more information on commencement regalia on the CMU Commencement website. B.S. and M.S. students that are not present on campus for the grad fair may purchase their regalia on the bookstore website. The link will be posted after the grad fair is over.

What if I am not receiving a diploma?
Graduates not receiving a diploma for any reason will receive a blank diploma case at the ECE Diploma Ceremony. Audience members will not be able to detect a difference between blank cases and cases with actual diplomas in them. We request that blank diploma cases be returned to a staff member after the ceremony is over.

What if I have already received a diploma?
Graduates that have already received a diploma do NOT need to bring their diploma back with them. They will receive a blank diploma case at the ECE Diploma Ceremony. Audience members will not be able to detect a difference between blank cases and cases with actual diplomas in them. We request that blank diploma cases be returned to a staff member after the ceremony is over.

Do I need tickets for any ceremony?
Tickets are not needed for any ceremony. Seating is the most limited at the CMU Commencement Ceremony in Gesling Stadium, and it is recommend to arrive early for this ceremony (doors open at 9AM). The ECE Diploma Ceremony has plenty of seating available for all guests - the venue is much larger than we need and can accommodate many people. Graduates MUST RSVP for the ECE Diploma Ceremony. Please RSVP by clicking on this link.

Will there be food available at either ceremony?
The CMU Main Commencement Ceremony will provide complimentary water and coffee. The ECE Diploma Ceremony will provide complimentary light refreshments after the ceremony - however, this is not meant to serve as a dinner. We strongly recommend eating a hearty breakfast in the morning as this will be a tight schedule without a lot of time for meals once the day begins.

What time should I arrive for the CMU Commencement Ceremony?
Guests should arrive to Gesling Stadium and be seated by 10:15 a.m. The stadium opens at 9 a.m. Seating is limited. Graduates should arrive to their robing location by 10 a.m.

What time should I arrive for the ECE Diploma Ceremony?
The ECE Diploma Ceremony will start at 2 p.m. If attending both ceremonies, guests should depart directly from the main ceremony to get to the Petersen Events Center for the ECE diploma ceremony. We recommend taking the CMU provided shuttles to get from the stadium to Petersen Events Center as parking will be limited. Graduates will be lining up in the practice gym of the Petersen Events Center. Signage and assistance will be provided to get graduates and guests to their correct location in the Petersen - however, in the event that graduates don't take the shuttle or arrive with the main group of people, we have provided walking directions to get to the practice gym below.

Walking directions to the practice gym in Peterson Events Center:


Questions about visiting Pittsburgh

What should I know if I am an international visitor?
Information for international visitors, including information regarding applying for a B-2 tourist visa, has been provided on the main CMU Commencement Ceremony webpage. The Office of International Education also has a lot of helpful information for international visitors.

Where can I find the commencement weekend schedule?
The schedule for the various weekend commencement events can be found on the main CMU Commencement webpage.

Where should I park for the commencement ceremony?
Parking information can be found on the main CMU Commencement webpage and on the CMU Parking and Transportation Services webpage.

Where should I park for the diploma ceremony?
We strongly encourage all visitors (graduates and guests) to take the CMU provided shuttle from campus to the Petersen Events Center for the ECE Diploma Ceremony. For guests that do wish to drive, parking information can be found on the Petersen Events Center webpage.

Where should I stay when coming to Pittsburgh?
The CMU Commencement webpage has a map with various accommodations listed. We recommend that visitors book lodging as quickly as possible as spaces do tend to fill quickly. The CMU Alumni Association webpage also has a list of nearby hotels, listed in order of distance from campus.

Do you have any restaurant recommendations?
Pittsburgh Magazine publishes a "Best Of Pittsburgh" restaurant list every year. For easy online reservations, Open Table has a number of Pittsburgh restaurants on its app and website. Yelp also provides a list of Pittsburgh "Must Eat" restaurants.


General questions about graduating

When will I receive my diploma?
May graduates can receive their diploma at the ECE Diploma Ceremony. If they do not attend the ceremony, diplomas will be mailed several weeks after commencement. Please make sure your Diploma Mailing Address is updated in SIO. Diploma information can be found on the HUB webpage.

What do I do if I am receiving two undergraduate degrees?
If you are receiving two separate degrees (not an additional major) you have the option of attending one or both diploma ceremonies. If you are only attending one, please let both departments know which event you will be attending so that you can receive both diplomas at that ceremony. Diploma ceremony information can be found directly from departments or on the CMU Commencement webpage.

What do I do if I am receiving both my B.S. and my M.S. (or my M.S. and Ph.D.)?
Graduates receiving two separate levels of degrees should always purchase regalia for the highest degree being attained at that time. Graduates will also walk at the commencement ceremonies with other graduates obtaining the same degree.

Where do I get a cap and gown?
Cap and gown information can be found on the CMU Commencement page.

How do I stay connected as an alum?
Stay in touch as an ECE alum! Check out ECE alumni events, be a mentor for a current student, and more. Find information in the ECE alumni section.

What happens to my Andrew e-mail account?
Alumni emails are now being provided through the CMU Alumni Association. You can find more information on the CMU alumni webpage. Your Andrew e-mail stays active for 90 days after graduation. You can find information on transitioning your e-mail and other CMU digital information on the Computing Services webpage.