Frequently Asked Questions

The FAQ will be updated regularly to address questions from graduates, their families and friends, and the UChicago community. 

The 534th Convocation ceremony, during which degrees are officially conferred to all graduates of 2021, will broadcast on Wednesday, June 9, 2021 at 4:00 p.m. CDT. The in-person diploma and hooding ceremonies for the units holding in-person events will subsequently take place from Thursday, June 10 – Sunday, June 13. Please visit the 534th Convocation Schedule of Ceremonies page for a full list of activities.  

Students are encouraged to contact their dean of students offices if they have any questions about their division’s or school’s plan.

The University’s ability to hold any in-person gatherings will depend on the state of the virus and public health guidance at the time.

Based on public health guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) and UChicago Medicine, it is not feasible for the University to host an in-person gathering for over three thousand socially distanced graduates and guests.

Following the virtual Convocation on June 9, numerous in-person, diploma and hooding ceremonies are being organized and hosted by individual schools and divisions from June 10 – June 13. All of these events are considerably smaller than an in-person, University-wide Convocation event would be. On-campus ceremonies are open to graduands, participating faculty and staff, and – depending on the school/division - two guests per graduand. For details on individual ceremonies, please contact your school or division or visit the convocation website at convocation.uchicago.edu.

Decisions related to diploma and hooding ceremonies are specific to each school and division. Some schools elected to conduct their ceremonies virtually or to not allow guest attendance out of an abundance of caution and given the advanced state of current ceremony planning.

Decisions related to diploma and hooding ceremonies are specific to each school and division. Schools that are hosting ceremonies in larger spaces away from the University’s main campus have greater flexibility to safely provide space for guests, subject to additional verifications of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test and public health guidance.

Health and safety protocols for in-person ceremonies have been developed in consultation with the University of Chicago Medicine and the CDPH, and require participants to follow the requirements of the UChicago Health Pact. Face coverings will be required for attendance at all on-campus in-person ceremonies and 6 feet of social distancing will be maintained in all seating areas. For details on individual ceremonies, please contact your school or division or visit the convocation website at convocation.uchicago.edu.

Yes. Face coverings are mandatory for all participants and guests while on campus, including in outdoor areas when others are within 6 feet.  There is an approved exception allowing a graduate to remove her/his mask when posing momentarily for a photo on a marked spot after receiving her/his diploma, and momentarily in other photo booth areas where an individual is alone and 10-foot distanced from a photographer and others.  While federal, state, and local ordinances may allow exceptions for members of the same household or those who are fully vaccinated, there is no system in place to validate the vaccination status of participants and guests at on-campus events. While at diploma ceremonies, social distancing appropriate for your household and vaccination status should be maintained.

Yes. Guests must register and be ticketed to attend on-campus diploma ceremonies. A link to register will be provided to graduands by schools and divisions who have elected to allow guest attendance at their in-person ceremonies. We strongly recommend that guests be fully vaccinated and over the age of 18. Guests will need to abide by the terms of the University of Chicago’s visitor attestation, but will not need to submit a signed copy. All travelers from outside of Illinois must adhere to guidelines provided in the City of Chicago Emergency Travel Order for domestic travel and Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance for international travel.  Guests should be aware that admission to the event will not be allowed without prior registration.

Guest limits will not change. We recognize that health and safety guidelines and restrictions continue to evolve and change in response to the fluid state of the pandemic and the percentage of vaccinated individuals, but the limited capacity of the on-campus diploma and hooding ceremony locations will not allow for socially distanced accommodation of more than two guests per student.

No. All degrees are conferred by President Zimmer at the University Convocation Ceremony, which will be entirely virtual this year. 

Students who live outside of Chicago are invited to attend in-person diploma ceremonies being held by their academic units, and are responsible for complying with the requirements of the City of Chicago’s Emergency Travel Order, the Illinois Department of Public Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the UChicago Health Pact, while also adhering to masking and social distancing protocols in effect on the day of the event.

For those traveling to the U.S. for convocation, please refer to the most current direction from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention regarding entry to the U.S., which can be found at: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/testing-air-travel.html.

Students traveling from outside the United States should continually monitor the CDC for the latest advice, and check with their airlines prior to their departure date regarding any additional entry requirements to the United States.

For the health and safety of our community, all ceremony attendees will be required to wear a properly fitted face covering and comply with the conditions of the UChicago Health Pact, regardless of their vaccination status. These requirements will be strictly enforced.

You will not be required to undergo a COVID-19 test in order to participate in an in-person diploma ceremony. Students will be required to take appropriate precautions, including wearing properly fitted face coverings and maintaining a safe distance from other participants. Students who test positive or are experiencing symptoms will not be able to participate in-person unless they meet the criteria of the University’s Protocol for Addressing Confirmed or Suspected COVID-19 Exposures. Students who suffer from existing conditions that may place them at high risk from COVID-19 should exercise caution when deciding whether it is safe to attend an in-person diploma ceremony.

Students should continue to monitor their health symptoms daily. If you develop symptoms prior to the ceremony, you should not come to campus and attend virtually instead.

In order to closely monitor and effectively manage the size of each ceremony and compliance with required health and safety requirements, in-person diploma ceremonies are for graduates, two guests, and participating faculty and staff. 

Guests must register and be ticketed to attend on-campus diploma ceremonies. A link to register will be provided to graduands by schools and divisions who have elected to allow guest attendance at their in-person ceremonies. We strongly recommend that guests be fully vaccinated and over the age of 18. Guests will need to abide by the terms of the University of Chicago’s visitor attestation, but will not need to submit a signed copy. All travelers from outside of Illinois must adhere to guidelines provided in the City of Chicago Emergency Travel Order for domestic travel and Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance for international travel.  Guests should be aware that admission to the event will not be allowed without prior registration. 

On campus ceremonies are open to graduands, participating faculty and staff, and – depending on the school/division - two guests per graduand. For details on individual ceremonies, please contact your school or division or visit the convocation website at convocation.uchicago.edu.

Guests must register and be ticketed to attend on-campus diploma ceremonies. A link to register will be provided to graduands by schools and divisions who have elected to allow guest attendance at their in-person ceremonies. We strongly recommend that guests be fully vaccinated and over the age of 18. Guests will need to abide by the terms of the University of Chicago’s visitor attestation, but will not need to submit a signed copy. All travelers from outside of Illinois must adhere to guidelines provided in the City of Chicago Emergency Travel Order for domestic travel and Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance for international travel.  Guests should be aware that admission to the event will not be allowed without prior registration.

We anticipate that the City of Chicago’s travel and quarantine restrictions may still be in place in June 2021, so any family and friends traveling to Chicago will likely be required to comply with the City’s Emergency Travel Order, which may include quarantining for up to 10 days. 

For families traveling to Chicago to pick up graduands students, three Chicago hotels are offering courtesy blocks for UChicago families. Please click the following links, should accommodations be needed:

Chicago Department of Public Health’s health and safety guidelines related to gatherings continue to evolve, and it is difficult to predict what capacity will be allowable will be in June, and whether or not a larger venue away from campus would be advantageous Further, there is high potential for a large venue to be repurposed for pandemic related activity, such as vaccine distribution, as is happening in some locations in Chicago currently. 

While the College's Class of 2020 will not be invited to participate in the 2021 diploma ceremonies, the College plans to host an in-person celebration for the Class of 2020 during the upcoming Homecoming Weekend, which will take place October 22-24, 2021 (if permissible based on the state of the pandemic at that time as well as guidance from public health experts).

Each division and school will make the decision as to whether the Class of 2020 will participate in their 2021 diploma and hooding ceremonies. Please contact your dean of students’ office for further information.

Information surrounding the University's most up-to-date safety protocols can be found on goforward.uchicago.edu

Class rings, announcements and diploma frames can be purchased from the University Bookstore.

The convocation website will be updated regularly as new information becomes available, and graduates and their family members may email the Office of University Events & Ceremonies at convocation@uchicago.edu with immediate questions.