Commencement Information

The Blacksburg Spring 2014 Graduate Commencement Ceremony will be held at 12:00 pm on Friday, May 16, 2014 in Cassell Coliseum.
The National Capital Region Graduate Commencement Ceremony information may be found at
Please visit for additional University Commencement information.
Degree or Certificate Conferral Request
Graduation and the commencement ceremony is a long awaited and joyous time for students, families, and friends. To participate, it is important that, in addition to taking your final exam and, if required, submitting your final paper, thesis, or dissertation, you submit a Degree or Certificate Conferral Request  through Hokie SPA. Doing so will trigger the printing of your name in the commencement bulletin and your student account will be charged $25. Please note that if your student record is marked "confidential,"  then your name will NOT appear in the Commencement Bulletin. To verify and update the status of your record, please go to HokieSPA  ** HokiePLUS ** Confidentiality Options. In the event that you do not graduate in the expected term, you must submit a new Degree or Certificate Conferral Request  for the new term in which you plan to graduate.

The Degree or Certificate Conferral Request  must be submitted by the following deadlines in order to have your name published in the Commencement Bulletin:

Academic Term
Deadline to submit AFD
Summer 1
June 1
Summer 2
August 1
October 1
March 1








Doctoral candidates participating in the commencement ceremony will receive their diplomas on stage. All other doctoral candidates and master's degree and certificate recipients will receive their diplomas by mail.

Diplomas are 11 inches by 14 inches with the exception of BMES diplomas, which are 13.5 inches by 15.5 inches.

Participation in Commencement
All graduate degree candidates must confirm their plans to attend Commencement by May 1, 2014. Questions pertaining to eligibility to participate should be directed to the Graduate School at 540-231-8636.

Doctoral candidates who will have met all requirements for graduation by May 9, 2014, are eligible to participate in Commencement. Doctoral candidates should report to the Spring Road side of Cassell Coliseum. From there, follow the signage to the lower level and check-in area. Check-in will begin at 10:30 a.m  and end at 11:30 a.m.

Major professors participating in the hooding ceremony should report to the Spring Road side of Cassell Coliseum. From there, follow the signage to the lower level and check-in area. Please check in upon arrival so that your name may be read. Check-in will begin at 10:30 a.m. and end at  11:30 a.m.

Master's, education specialist, and certificate candidates who are eligible to participate in Commencement should report to Cassell Coliseum, between 10:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. and follow the signage to the check-in location in Gym 213.

Faculty participation is encouraged. Please report to the Spring Road side of Cassell Coliseum. From there, follow the signage to the lower level and check-in area.

There is no limit to the number of guests that you may invite, and no tickets are required for this ceremony. Formal commencement invitations are not provided due to budget constraints. Individuals who wish to send personalized invitations for their guests can order them at most local print shops and bookstores.

International Invitations to Commencement: International students with a pending or awarded graduate degree from Virginia Tech may login to HokieSPA and under their Degree Menu request the International Invitation to Commencement:

  • select from a list of degrees earned or will earn
  • the system will generate the International Invitation to Commencement per guest (no limit) as a PDF for printing or saving to the user's desktop
  • make the request at any time of day and have the letter immediately available

Processional begins at 11:45 a.m: anyone who hasn't checked in by 11:30  a.m. will not be allowed in the processional.

Guests and Seating
Families and guests are urged to arrive in time to be seated at least 15 minutes before the ceremony begins. Security procedures will subject all packages, bags, purses, and so on, to search prior to entry to the coliseum. Please avoid bringing such items to the coliseum.

Accessible seating for persons with impaired mobility is available at Cassell Coliseum, as is accessible parking. A sign language interpreter will be provided for the University and Graduate School ceremonies. Interpreters for individual college ceremonies are arranged by request with a two-week notice through the office of Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD). For additional information concerning accessibility, wheelchair seating, and disability accommodations, contact SSD at or call 540/231-0858 or TTY 540/231-0853. "Special Needs" (impaired mobility) parking passes are available (not required if you have a state-issued DMV handicap tag) for pickup by students at 250 South Main Street, Suite 300, prior to the commencement ceremony.

Degree-Conferring Dates
In addition to the traditional twice-a-year commencement, two additional "Degree-Conferring Dates" have been established each year. These dates appear on the diploma for qualified graduates. The added degree-conferring dates fall on the last day of final examinations of First Summer Term and Second Summer Term. For a full list of Degree-Conferring Dates, see our Dates & Deadlines page. No commencement ceremonies are conducted during the summer. Students who complete degree requirements at these times may attend the next commencement, but they are requested to notify the Graduate School. All degrees conferred between commencements are listed in the commencement program.

Diplomas for graduates will be mailed directly to the student. For information on how to change the name that will appear on your diploma, see the Name Change Instructions page.

How to Select the Proper Hood Color
The hoods for the Doctor of Philosophy will be edged with dark blue. Doctoral gowns are faced with black velvet with three bars across the sleeves. Tassels for doctoral students are gold.

The colors for the edging of hoods for master's students are determined by the college and discipline granting the degree, as listed in the table below. The tassels of caps for Master's students are black.

Academic Regalia Colors by College
College Discipline Color
Agriculture & Life Sciences  
All Disciplines with 1 Exception Maize (Pale Yellow)
Biochemistry Bright Gold (Golden Yellow)
Architecture & Urban Studies  
All Disciplines with 2 Exceptions Blue Violet
Environmental Design & Planning (Ph.D.) Ph.D. Blue
Public Administration Peacock Blue
Pamplin College of Business  
All Disciplines Drab (Yellow-Brown)
All Disciplines Orange
Liberal Arts & Human Sciences  
Apparel, Housing & Resource Management Maroon
Communication Crimson
Educational Leadership & Policy Studies Light Blue
Foreign Language & Literatures
Human Development
Interdisciplinary Studies
International Studies White
Music Pink
Philosophy Ph.D. Blue
Political Science
School of Education Light Blue
School of the Arts
Science & Technology in Society
Teaching & Learning Light Blue
Theatre Arts
Natural Resources
All Disciplines
Russet (Rust)
All Disciplines with 1 Exception Bright Gold (Golden Yellow)
Veterinary Medicine
PhD Gold Tassel / Blue Hood
MS Black Tassel / Yellow Hood
  MPH Salmon Pink

For more information on academic regalia, please contact the Virginia Tech Bookstore .

Family and friends of graduating students who plan to attend commencement ceremonies and celebrations in Blacksburg May 15 to 18 may wish to consider convenient overnight accommodations right on campus.  Virginia Tech will again provide residence hall rooms and suites for families and guests of graduates. Guests may opt for a two-night or three-night package which include on campus parking and all- you- care-to-eat meals in Virginia Tech’s award-winning D2 Dining Center.  Visit the Conference and Guest Services website to make reservations.