Skip to content

View graduation checklists, information surrounding regalia and tickets, day-of schedules, and more.

This page will be updated as information becomes available, so visit early and often to keep yourself apprised of all things Commencement!

Commencement 101

What to expect on Class Day and Commencement Day.

What is Class Day?

Class Day is a celebration of the achievements of the graduating class! The day prior to Commencement, we celebrate with speeches–including a keynote from the HLS Class Day Speaker–and the presentation of awards in a ceremony that typically begins mid-afternoon.

Following the ceremony, the celebration continues with a casual reception for degree candidates and their guests. Tickets are not required for Class Day events.

Class Day Schedule

  • Class Day Ceremony | Holmes Field, 2:30pm

    Class Day will begin at 2:30pm on Holmes Field to celebrate the Class of 2024 with speeches, a keynote address from the HLS Class Day Speaker, and the presentation of awards. The ceremony typically ends around 4pm.

  • Class Day Reception | Caspersen and Crossroads Patios, 4:00pm

    The Class Day Reception is a casual reception following the ceremony for all graduates and guests. The reception will end around 6pm.

Commencement Day is comprised of the following events:

The ceremonial University Morning Exercises, where the Harvard President and the University Commencement Speaker deliver their addresses, and the President confers degrees.

The Law School Diploma Ceremony where the Law School Dean presents diplomas to each graduate.

Commencement Day Schedule

  • Sunrise Breakfast | Haas Lounge/Crossroads, 6:15am (est)

    Commencement Day will begin with a Sunrise Breakfast (call time usually around 6:00am!) where you will get a lanyard. This lanyard, along with your Harvard ID, is required to enter the Yard. You will also receive everyone’s favorite keepsake, the Graduate’s Gavel! 

  • Class March | Kumble Plaza/Crossroads, 6:45am (est)

    All HLS graduates assemble in front of Harkness Commons’ main entrance to join Dean Manning and the Class Marshals in a procession to the Yard. Degree candidates typically march to Sever Gate for entry into Tercentenary Theatre. Following this procession, you will be seated in a designated section of Tercentenary Theatre for the duration of the University Morning Exercises. Have no fear, restrooms, water, and coffee are available in the Theatre. Backpacks, however, will not be permitted, and bags must be less than 12”x12”x12” and are subject to inspection before entering. More information on Morning Exercises can be reviewed here.

    Note: All degree candidates must be in academic regalia, wearing a University lanyard with your Harvard ID. 

  • Morning Exercises | Tercentenary Theatre, 9:30am (est)

    Watch the pomp and circumstance of the University’s historic Morning Exercises with fellow degree candidates from across Harvard. Note that backpacks will not be permitted in the Yard, and bags must be less than 12”x12”x12” and are subject to inspection before entering. More information on Morning Exercises can be reviewed here.

    Note: All degree candidates must be in academic regalia, wearing a University lanyard with your Harvard ID. 

    Please note that the start time of Morning Exercises is tentative until confirmed by the University.

  • HLS Diploma Ceremony & Lunch | Holmes Field, 1:15pm (est)

    Immediately following the University Morning Exercises, return to Holmes Field for lunch and to begin the HLS Diploma Ceremony.

    In order to begin the ceremony on time and minimize disruption throughout, we ask that degree candidates arrange to meet guests on the Law School campus at the conclusion of the Diploma Ceremony.

Need-to-know: The HLS Diploma Ceremony

  • Degree candidates will be called by program and then by section. 
  • Following the Morning Exercises, SJDs, LLMs, JD/MBAs, and HKS Joint Degree students should proceed to Hauser Hall immediately for lineup. 
  • Sections will be called to Hauser for lineup throughout the Diploma Ceremony. Please listen carefully!
  • In Hauser, you will be given a pronunciation card with the phonetic spelling of your name, which you’ll hand to the announcer prior to crossing the stage. Commencement staff will have extra copies and blank cards on hand.
  • After exiting the stage, you will receive your diploma and gather with your section-mates on the steps of Langdell Hall for a section photo.
  • Graduates and guests with pre-purchased lunch tickets may pick up lunch in the Lunch Tent throughout the ceremony.

What to wear

Business casual attire is common dress for the Class Day and Commencement ceremonies and you are advised to wear shoes appropriate for walking on grassy areas.

All ceremonies are held outdoors, except in the event of severe weather.

Have International Guests?

For J.D. students with international guests, the Registrar’s Office can provide an invitation letter to support visa applications. You may request a Commencement invitation by completing a Document Request Form.

LL.M. and S.J.D. students will receive support letters via the Graduate Program office.

We encourage your guests to submit visa applications as soon as possible.


Tickets, Regalia, & Lunch

Heads up: all must be ordered in advance!

Entry Tickets

  • Tickets are required for the University Morning Exercises held in Harvard Yard on Commencement Day
    • Each Degree Candidate receives two guest tickets to Morning Exercises (your ticket is your Harvard ID)
    • Please note: Morning Exercise tickets are generated by the University and cannot be replaced if they are lost
  • Tickets are not required for any ceremonies or events on the HLS campus

Your Morning Exercise tickets can be reserved through the HLS Exit and Commencement Survey, typically distributed in late April.

Lunch Tickets

All tickets will be available for pick-up by graduates starting in mid-May.

Regalia

All students participating in May Commencement Ceremonies are required to wear the official Harvard regalia, as approved by The Harvard University Commencement Office and distributed by The Harvard Coop.

Pickup regalia in WCC 1023 on May 16, 17, 20, 21, and 22 from 10am-4pm. Pickup is also available on May 18 from 11am-4pm.

Students who did not order regalia by the April 7 deadline, must visit the HLS Coop ASAP to place a late order. Please note that a late fee will apply, and sizing is not guaranteed for late orders.   

Regalia must be returned to the HLS Coop in WCC 1023 on May 24 from 10am-4pm, May 25 from 11am-4pm, or May 28-30 from 11am-4pm. 

Note: Regalia is not required for Class Day


Affinity Celebrations

Congratulations on reaching your upcoming graduation! We extend an invitation to graduating students to participate in University-wide Affinity Celebrations Honoring Graduating Students.

Hosted by community partners and alumni, these student led gatherings celebrate the diverse cultures, communities, and identities present at Harvard. These events center the cultural and community traditions and values of graduates and provide opportunities to honor those who helped them reach this milestone. These celebrations offer keynote speakers, performances, regalia accessories, and cultural celebrations.

Affinity celebrations are open to all Harvard graduates who pre-register to attend. Those interested in participating in one or more of the affinity celebrations or ordering a regalia accessory, should complete this registration form by Monday, April 22, 2024.

The affinity celebrations are optional and take place prior to Harvard University and School-based commencements. Affinity celebrations do not serve as graduation or convocation ceremonies.


Graduating Student Checklists

Please note, checklists have not yet been updated for the Class of 2024. To-do items and deadlines will likely be similar, however, please check back later in the spring term for specifics.


Severe Weather