Commencement Date Change

February 25, 2021

Dear Graduate Students, Princeton University will reschedule Commencement 2021 to Sunday, May 16, with the goal of hosting an outdoor ceremony at Princeton Stadium. The event would be held in compliance with social distancing and public health protocols set by the state of New Jersey.

The University considered a range of options for Commencement this year, including only hosting a virtual event, and decided to prioritize planning for an in-person ceremony. Based on current guidelines, the University believes it can host a meaningful Commencement experience for its graduating students. We will continue to monitor the public health situation and state guidelines in the weeks ahead – should circumstances change significantly, we may need to pivot to a virtual Commencement ceremony.

Graduate students who have received or will receive a Ph.D. or final master’s degree during the current 2020-21 academic year, who are on-campus or in the local area, and are part of the University’s asymptomatic testing program may attend Commencement. Undergraduate members of the Class of 2021 who are on campus or in the Mercer County/Plainsboro area and are part of the University’s asymptomatic testing program may also attend Commencement.

Additionally, the University hopes to invite enrolled seniors and graduating masters and doctoral students who are currently studying remotely to participate in the Commencement ceremony on campus, informed by New Jersey’s health and travel guidelines. Graduating students must be in good standing to attend the ceremony.

The University is actively exploring whether it will be possible to include guests at the event, informed by the public health landscape and state regulations. The University is discussing options with state authorities and will share more information as it becomes available. Should guests be allowed, there would be a maximum of two guests per student. Families are encouraged not to make non-refundable travel arrangements.

Commencement will be livestreamed for students, families and other members of the University community who do not attend in person. The start time for the ceremony will be announced closer to the date of the event. In the event of severe weather, the in-person ceremony will be moved to Monday, May 17.

The official conferral date of degrees will remain May 25, 2021. Students will receive their diplomas, certificates and official Commencement programs by mail after that date.

The Graduate Hooding ceremony for masters and doctoral students will be held virtually on Monday, May 24. Degree deadlines for graduate students remain the same. The Graduate School will be in contact with advanced degree candidates who may be eligible to participate in the virtual Hooding.

The University will continue to engage with the state of New Jersey as we develop plans for year-end events. We hope to announce additional details regarding Commencement by early April.

Princeton previously announced that Reunions for alumni will be held virtually this May.


Office of the Dean of the Graduate School
Princeton University
Clio Hall, Princeton, NJ 08544