Frequently Asked Questions

graduating student.

On this page:

How long is the ceremony?

Typically doors open at 8:15 a.m., with the ceremony starting at 9:00 a.m. and lasts for about two hours, with a brief reception in the Center for the Arts atrium to follow.

Does Social Work have its own ceremony?

Yes - all programs offered in the SSW graduate together, including the interdisciplinary degree programs. All programs are recognized separately and every student walks and is hooded separately. All students have their names announced and are ordered by degree program, but are not ordered alphabetically.

Where do my guests park?

Baird and Slee Lots on Augspurger Road. There will be signs directing guests where to park - including disabled parking.

How many tickets am I allowed?

Tickets are not required and seating is on a first-come, first-seated basis.

Is the Center for the Arts (CFA) handicapped accessible?

Yes. It is important for people with special needs to arrive early enough to facilitate seating. Only one companion can sit in the accessible aisle with the person in a wheelchair.

What items are prohibited? (for guests and students)

  • Large bags.
  • Backpacks.
  • Umbrellas (except the small, collapsible kind).
  • Laser Objects.
  • Weapons.
  • Alcohol.
  • Illegal drugs and/or related paraphernalia.
  • Signs/sticks.
  • Flags/banners.
  • Balloons.
  • Beach balls.
  • Fireworks or explosives.
  • Voice amplifiers.
  • Noise-making devices.
  • Animals (except in the case of service animals trained to perform needed tasks for attendees with disabilities).
  • Any item, that in the judgment of venue management, may pose a safety hazard or diminish the enjoyment of an event by other guests.

Do we need to make prior requests for accessible seating?

No. Arrive early and talk to an usher outside the main stage doorways.

I have small children attending; can I bring a baby stroller?

Guests with small children may bring a baby stroller into the Center for the Arts, however strollers are not allowed in the seats or aisles of the theater due to the hazards they create in the event of an emergency. Strollers may be left in the entrance of the theater at your own risk; ushers inside the theater can direct you to appropriate parking areas for strollers. Please note that guests with children who are talking, crying or moving around in a manner that is distracting to other guests or the ceremony may be asked to step outside of the theater.

May a guest, or my child or baby walk across stage, or be held, with me?

No. Guests, including children and babies, are not allowed to process across stage with you during the ceremony due to safety regulations.

I am a graduating student with a disability that may impact my ability to participate in commencement. Who should I contact?

Please contact Dana Horne, SSW commencement coordinator at or 716-645-1229.

Who should I contact if I have a guest with a disability that may need assistance?

Please refer guests to the Guests with Disabilities page.

May I take photos or selfies while on stage?

No. There is plenty of opportunity for friends and family to take pictures of you while on stage, and there are professionals taking photos of you as well. Taking selfies slows down the ceremony, and distracts and detracts from the ceremony itself.

Will there be a professional photographer?

Yes. Proofs will be emailed to each student about one week after commencement. Family members wishing to take photographs are welcome to do so but may NOT stand in the aisle before their graduate is on the steps leading to the podium.

GradImages is the contracted photography studio. Please direct all post-ceremony inquiries to the studio: 1-800-261-2576.

Please notify family photographers not to obstruct the aisle and prevent hooded students from returning to their seats. Ushers will keep the aisles clear.

Will the ceremony be available for online viewing?

Live-streaming will be available at 9:00 a.m. EST.

After commencement weekend, a video link will be posted online through which you may watch a recording of the ceremony. Visit the video page for links and information.

Where do I report and when?

Students must be in the robing area by 8:00 a.m. the morning of commencement. Proceed to the lower level of the Center for the Arts. You must bring your cap, black master's gown, tassel and hood. You will be lined up by degree in the staging area. You cannot leave any personal belongings in the robing area, so please leave any valuables, bags and purses in your vehicle or with your guests.

Is there a rehearsal?

No. We have a Commencement - What to Expect [4:27 min] video available to view.

Is there a graduation party?

The SSW GSA generally plans a graduation party.

Where do I get my cap, tassel, hood and gown?

The University Bookstore has caps, tassels, hoods and gowns. Please note the University Bookstore often runs out of social work hoods and tassels as it gets closer to the graduation date; purchase your regalia well in advance of commencement. See the Cap & Gown information page. JD/MSWs may wear the JD robes if they are graduating from Law School that year and are hooded with the MSW hood.

Please consider donating your gown to the MSW program after graduation. Many students who could not otherwise attend graduation have done so because of the generosity of students who donate gowns.

May I wear special honors cords or other insignia on my gown?

Yes. You may wear any cord or insignia that you earned during your graduate level study.

Please note: UB graduate students do not graduate with honors levels as they do at the undergraduate level.

I will not complete my degree in May; can I still participate in the ceremony?

Any student conferred on or before September 2019 can march in the ceremony. This includes part-time students completing field placement over the summer.

When will I receive my diploma?

The Office of the Registrar mails your diploma to your permanent address approximately six to eight weeks after the conferral date.

You are responsible for ensuring your address is up to date.