Congratulations! You have entered your final semesters at Mason Gross School of the Arts and are about to complete your degree. We are so proud of what you accomplished so far and look forward to ushering you across the finish line to graduation. This page contains important information to help prepare you for this big event–please review the appropriate sections below carefully and email if you have any questions.

General Information

When is the Commencement Ceremony?

The Rutgers New Brunswick campus holds commencement ceremonies in the month of May once each year which include:

  • A large university commencement ceremony for all of Rutgers New Brunswick at the football stadium.
  • Smaller academic school convocations where individual students are recognized. Mason Gross holds our school convocation at the State Theater in New Brunswick. Details will be provided in the spring term.
  • Mason Gross students completing a major at another Rutgers academic unit are encouraged to participate in those ceremonies as well (schedule permitting).
  • Students from other academic units completing the Mason Gross BA, MA, EdM, or PhD programs are encouraged to attend the Mason Gross Convocation in addition to attending the convocation with their unit of matriculation (schedule permitting).
Academic Regalia Information
  • Academic regalia sales for Commencement open in February of the same year.
  • Students should purchase their regalia through the Barnes & Noble at Rutgers online store.
  • Academic regalia colors for the cap and gown should match the colors for the graduating student’s school of matriculation (regardless of the ceremony they are attending). For example, students attending the Mason Gross Convocation receiving a BFA, BM, MM, MFA, AD, or DMA will be wearing black regalia. However, students attending the Mason Gross Convocation receiving a BA from SAS in Music, Dance, Theater, or Art will be wearing red regalia.
Will there be a rehearsal for the ceremonies?

No. Both University Commencement and the Mason Gross Convocation are unrehearsed events. Administration and your advisors will be providing you with the information and instructions you need to make sure the ceremony runs smoothy. All we ask is that you read all emails sent labeled Commencement/Convocation, pay attention to staff the day of your event and follow all directions given.

Do I have to apply to graduate?

Yes! All students scheduled to graduate must complete a diploma application to have their degrees confirmed and attend graduation. For more information on diploma applications and deadlines please visit


Participation in Commencement and Convocation

Bachelor’s degree and master’s degree candidates are invited to participate in Commencement and Convocation exercises during the calendar year in which they are graduating.  Commencement is held once each year in May for students who complete all degree requirements in the previous January, current May, and following August.

  • May 2022 Graduation Ceremony
    • Degree Completion Months: January 2022, May 2022, August 2022
  • May 2023 Graduation Ceremony
    • Degree Completion Months: January 2023, May 2023, August 2023

Candidates for the Doctor of Musical Arts degree are invited to participate in May Commencement and Convocation exercises once all requirements for their degree are complete and confirmed by their advising faculty.

  • May 2022 Graduation Ceremony
    • Degree Completion Months: August 2021, January 2022, May 2022
  • May 2023 Graduation Ceremony
    • Degree Completion Months: August 2022, January 2023, May 2023
Will I be able to walk if I have requirements to complete after the May Graduation Ceremony?

Bachelor’s and master’s degree candidates with six or less outstanding degree credits will be permitted to walk in the May graduation ceremony if their graduation date is set at August of the same calendar year. The student must be registered to complete the six or less outstanding credits during summer session of the same calendar year and apply for an August graduation date to qualify to walk in May.

Will I be able to walk if I have temporary grades at the end of the spring semester?

Yes. Bachelor’s and master’s degree candidates with six or less outstanding degree credits because of temporary or incomplete grades will be permitted to walk at the May graduation of that calendar year if they provide evidence of a plan to complete the work required for a final grade before the next academic fall term begins. The degree completion date must be August of the same calendar year to walk in May.

When will I get my diploma?

Commencement ceremonies typically take place before final grades are available. Degrees are confirmed after final grades become available. Therefore participation in Commencement and Convocation exercises does not necessarily signify graduation from the University.

Students completing their degrees in a spring term are typically notified electronically of their completion by June 1 and receive their diploma in the mail by mid-July. Students will not receive their diploma at the Mason Gross Convocation.

What are the requirements to graduate with honors and receive chords?

Bachelor’s degree candidates with the following cumulative GPAs at the conclusion of their final fall term will be given chords and announced with honors at the May Mason Gross Convocation Ceremony.

  • Cum laude: cumulative GPA 3.500–3.699
  • Magna cum laude: cumulative GPA 3.700–3.849
  • Summa laude: cumulative GPA 3.850–4.000

Note: Honors on the diploma and final transcripts will be confirmed after the student’s final semester’s cumulative GPA is calculated.

Mason Gross Convocation

Graduation Awards

A select number of students graduating from Mason Gross who fit certain criteria may be selected to receive a graduation award which will be presented to them at the Mason Gross Convocation Ceremony.

  • There are departmental awards and a school wide prize.
  • Department awards are assigned by the department faculty. ‘
  • The Scott Cagenello School Wide Prize is given to a student who has demonstrated a commitment to helping others in the school and wider community. Nominations for this award can be submitted through an online form by staff, faculty and the students themselves. A link to the submission form will be provided at a later time.
Mortar Board Contest

Decorate the top of your regalia cap for the annual Mason Gross Convocation Mortar Board Contest! Be creative, be bold, stand out, and make it fun! All students who decorate their Mortar Boards will be entered into the contest to win a prize and the winner(s) will be announced at the Mason Gross Convocation. Don’t miss your chance to show off your creativity one last time before you graduate.

Student Speaker Submissions

Each year, Mason Gross selects a graduating undergraduate student to deliver an address at the Mason Gross Convocation. Students may self-nominate to fulfill this duty by submitting a draft of their speech (approximately 3–5 minutes in length) to with the subject line “Student Speaker Submission.” Drafts should be submitted before spring semester mid-terms. An email with more information inviting graduating undergraduate students to submit will be sent early in the spring term, but if you know you will be graduating you can start writing now!

Doctor of Musical Arts Hooding

Students receiving their Doctoral of Musical Arts Degree will be hooded at the Mason Gross Convocation. Students should purchase the appropriate regalia to be properly hooded at the ceremony.