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Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

Detailed student information can be found on the Candidate Information page.
Detailed guest information can be found on the Guest Information page.
Detailed faculty information can be found on the Faculty Information page.

A common misconception is that graduation and commencement are interchangeable terms, when in fact:

Graduation is the completion of all degree requirements and receipt of the diploma. 

Commencement is the ceremony that celebrates the completion of a degree. Participation in the ceremony does not imply you have officially graduated. Conversely, it is not required to participate in the ceremony to receive your diploma.

The RSVP for commencement will open after the deadline to graduate has passed (October 1 for Fall and March 1 for Spring). You will be contacted with specific dates for the RSVP opening and closing via your UMSL email. The RSVP can be accessed at umsl.edu/gradwalk. This application will only be available to you if you have applied and been approved to graduate. More information about the RSVP will also be updated on the main page of the Commencement website.

The College of Optometry ceremony will take place in the Touhill Performing Arts Center. All other commencement ceremonies take place in the Mark Twain Building on UMSL's campus.

For many reasons, including environmental factors, we stopped printing copies of the commencement program in fall 2019. Providing a digital-only version has served us well as it gives us the benefit of an extended deadline to include more graduates' names in the final program. Understanding that some people prefer a printed version, we make it easy for everyone to download and print it for themselves. You can find a PDF version of the program, here. 

At this time, we are not requiring tickets or limiting guest numbers. However, this may change with any new developments in community health.

The doors will open 90 minutes prior to the start of your ceremony's scheduled start time. Please make sure you give yourself enough time to arrive and be in place for your ceremony's procession. We recommend arriving at least 45 minutes before your ceremony's scheduled start time. 

Please use Express Scripts Parking and Lot K/West Drive Parking. Shuttle buses will run from the parking areas to the Mark Twain Building. See the parking page for more information.


  • Accessible seating for guests is available on a first-come basis in the back of the gym.
  • Students, please inform the Coordinator of Disability Access Services immediately of any special arrangements that will enable you to participate fully in the commencement exercises by calling 314-516-6554.

Taking pictures and video recording is allowed, but tripods and monopods are not permitted. Cameras must be battery operated and patrons must remain seated while taking photographs and recording video. No standing will be permitted and ushers will ask guests to return to their seats.

All ceremonies are lived streamed and recorded and can be viewed on the Live Streaming and Recordings section of this website.

Grad Images will take photos of each graduate. Proofs are emailed to each graduate's personal email account within a week of commencement, and photos may be ordered at that time. If you do not receive proofs, please call 1-800-261-2576.

Yes. Live streaming is available for each ceremony and recordings of past ceremonies may be viewed online.

  • Firearms 
  • Food and beverages (drinking fountains are available in the main lobby) 
  • Alcohol 
  • Airhorns or noisemakers 
  • Balloons (you will be asked to store balloons in the First Aid office)

Each ceremony will be approximately 1 to 1.5 hours in length.

No, food and drinks are not sold or permitted in the Mark Twain Building. Drinking fountains are available in the main lobby. In the event of a medical incident, please see First Aid in Room 202 for assistance.

Use your cell phone to call (314) 516-5155. If there isn't an emergency but a nurse is needed, visit First Aid (Room 202) just inside the main entrance doors. 

Yes. All candidates come to the stage, their names (and Latin honors, if applicable) are read, they are congratulated by the Provost and Chancellor, and photos are taken by Grad Images.

Diplomas will be mailed to graduates 6-8 weeks after the ceremony, when grades have been computed and each candidate's eligibility for graduation is confirmed. If you have a question about how your name will appear on the diploma, contact the Registrar's Office at (314) 516-5548.