George Mason University



Commencement Fair 

Degree Celebrations

Caps and Gowns

Guest Attendance

Directions and Parking



What’s the difference between Commencement and Degree Celebrations?


  • Degrees are officially conferred by the University President
  • The entire university community is invited.
  • Ceremony begins with graduates processing through campus
  • Official university guest speaker delivers the Commencement address.
  • Selected student speaker representing the class of 2018 delivers the address.
  • Event is televised
  • Tickets are not required for guests.
  • Ph.D. graduates are individually recognized and photographed on stage receiving their degrees. All graduates are acknowledged, and degrees are conferred by deans/directors and university president.
  • Caps and gowns are worn.

Degree Celebrations

The celebration of graduation sponsored by individual schools:

  • Individual school/college graduates only
  • All guests are welcome; tickets are not required except where noted*
  • All graduates are individually recognized and photographed on stage receiving their degrees.
  • Each school/college selects speakers.
  • Caps and gowns are worn.

Graduates are encouraged to attend both the university-wide commencement ceremony and their specific degree celebrations.​


EagleBank Arena, Friday, May 18, 2018, at 10 a.m.

Doors open for audience members at 9 a.m.

Graduates must assemble at 9 a.m on the Mason Pond Drive.

The commencement ceremony is a time for us to gather the university as a whole to celebrate our shared achievements. This is the largest gathering and the keystone event of George Mason University's graduation festivities. Individuals receiving their doctoral degrees will be individually recognized and cross the stage at Commencement. All other graduates will be recognized and asked to stand by their major fields of study.

May 2018 Commencement Fair

March 6, March 7 and March 8 - 10am to 7pm – Johnson Center Atrium – Fairfax Campus 

Purchase caps, gowns, announcements, rings and other items; have photo taken in regalia; and pick up Commencement information in one location.​

Commemorative items, announcements, and diploma accessories are available from the following vendors.

Personalized Announcements

Diploma Frames

College Rings

Degree Celebrations

Your college or school organizes and hosts your degree celebration, which is where you will be recognized by name and photographed on stage. 

  • All guests are welcome; tickets are not required except where noted. (Please See Table)
  • All graduates are individually recognized and photographed on stage.
  • Celebrations include select speakers and performances.
  • Caps and gowns are worn.

Graduates are encouraged to attend both the official university commencement ceremony and their​ college or school's degree celebration ceremony. 

College/School Date Time Place
School of Integrative Studies CHSS Wednesday, May 16 10:00 a.m. Concert Hall
College of Science  Wednesday, May 16 2 p.m. EagleBank Arena
College of Health and Human Services Thursday, May 17 10 a.m EagleBank Arena
College of Visual and Performing Arts * Ticketed Event​ Thursday, May 17​ 1:30 p.m Concert Hall​
Volgenau School of Engineering Thursday, May 17 2 p.m. EagleBank Arena
School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution Thursday, May 17 6 p.m. Concert Hall
Schar School of Policy and Government​​ Thursday, May 17 7 p.m.​​ EagleBank Arena​
CHSS I: Humanities: Doctoral, Masters, Undergraduates Detailed Information Friday, May 18 3 p.m. EagleBank Arena
CHSS II: Social Sciences: Doctoral, Masters, Undergraduates Detailed Information Friday, May 18 7:30 p.m. EagleBank Arena
Recreation, Health, and Tourism (CEHD)​ Friday, May 18​ 2 p.m. ​ Concert Hall​
Graduate School of Education (CEHD)​ Saturday, May 19​ 10 a.m.​ EagleBank Arena​
School of Business Saturday, May 19 2 p.m. EagleBank Arena
Antonin Scalia Law School  Saturday, May 19 2 p.m. Concert Hall

Caps and Gowns

Graduation at Mason is a traditional ceremony in which graduates and faculty wear caps and gowns.

If you missed the Graduation Fair, you can purchase regalia at any Mason bookstore on a first-come, first-served basis. The Science and Technology and Arlington Campus bookstores will also sell caps and gowns.

It is required that you wear the appropriate academic regalia.

2018 Cap and Gown Prices (plus tax)  
Bachelor Keeper Outfit  (cap, gown, and tassel) $62.98
 Master Keeper Outfit (cap, gown, tassel, and hood) $107.98
Doctoral Rental Outfit (cap, gown, tassel, and hood) $157.98
Regalia is available from the George Mason Bookstore only.   

Master’s candidates wear a master’s hood.

Master's Hood Colors  
Arts White
Education Light Blue
Music Pink
Public Health Salmon
Business Drab
Social Work Citron
Fine Arts Brown
Nursing Apricot
Engineering  Orange
Science Gold
Health/Physical Education Sage Green
Public Administration/Policy Peacock Blue

Commencement Guest Attendance 

Seating is open and available on a general admission basis. Guest tickets for the Commencement ceremony are not required. Doors open at 9 a.m. for all guests. It is advisable to arrive at this time.

If EagleBank Arena reaches capacity, the overflow viewing area will be in the Concert Hall on Mason Pond Drive, across Patriot Circle from the arena. Shuttles will be available at the South Entrance to transport anyone needing assistance to the Concert Hall.

Rain Plan

If it is raining on the morning of Friday, May 18,  there will be no procession for bachelor's and master's candidates from the Johnson Center North Plaza.

Instead, graduates should enter the EagleBank Arena via the loading dock door on the lower level of the East side. You will be seated by college and by major on the floor. Look for signs indicating your college and major.

Faculty marshals will be there to assist you. Call 703-993-1000 if you're unsure about the line-up location because of weather conditions.

**PhD candidates will meet on the east concourse of Eagle Bank Arena.**

Reminder: Beverages of any kind and smoking are not permitted in either the academic procession or the EagleBank Arena. Graduates violating this policy will not be permitted to participate in Commencement exercises.​

George Mason University Deans lead the faculty procession at George Mason University's commencement ceremony.

Getting Here and Parking

Please allow plenty of time to get to campus and park. Traffic in the general area is heavy on a normal day. Expect significant delays on your way to campus, and plan accordingly. 

For graduates, please remember that you will parade through campus with your department/school before the commencement ceremony. All academic departments will muster at the Johnson Center North Plaza at 9 a.m..

All campus parking lots are available for guest parking.

Handicapped and special-assistance parking is available in Lot A, adjacent to the EagleBank Arena’s South Entrance.

Important: Do not park at University Mall. It is private property, and your vehicle may be towed. ​

Accessibility Details

Handicapped-accessible parking is available in Lot A of EagleBank Arena closest to the South Entrance.

Guests requiring special assistance may be seated with one companion guest in easy-access sections of EagleBank Arena. Ushers will be available in the lobby to assist those requiring handicapped and special-assistance seating. Accessible seating is located near the portal entrances with clear views of commencement procedings. 

For Degree Celebrations taking place at the Center for the Arts Concert Hall, handicap-accessible parking is available directly in front of the concert hall off of Mason Pond Drive. Ushers will be in the lobby of the concert hall to assist guests in need of special accessibility seating. 

Go Boldly, Patriots! ​