Student FAQs

Do I need to apply to graduate?

Yes! Applying to graduate is the important first step in the process, whether you plan to attend the Commencement ceremony or not.

How do I apply to graduate?

There are a number of ways to apply. You can find all of the details on the application process here.

If I have not completed all of the requirements for my degree, can I still participate in Commencement?

If you have completed at least 114 credits and are registered for the remaining 6 credits required to graduate by the end of summer, you can participate in the Commencement ceremony.

When and where is Commencement?

Commencement 2020 will be held on Saturday, May 9th, 2020 in Portland, Maine at the Cross Insurance Arena (formerly the Cumberland County Civic Center). As this is USM's only annual Commencement event, students who complete their degrees at other times during the year will be invited to participate in the May ceremony.

How do I apply to be the student Commencement speaker?

Learn more about the application process here. Please note the deadline to apply is March 10th by 4 PM! 

Will the ceremony be livestreamed on the web for friends and family who cannot attend in person?

Yes! An updated link for the livestream will be posted on the front page of the Commencement website closer to the event date.

Do I need to request tickets?

Yes! Per the Cross Insurance Arena's policy, every single person attending the ceremony is required to have a ticket. 

How do I request tickets?

This information can be found on our Commencement Ticket Reservation page. Please note that tickets for the 2020 Commencement ceremony will not be made available for request until March 2020.

How many tickets can I request?

Graduates eligible to participate in Commencement 2020 can reserve one ticket for themselves and up to five guest tickets. You will also have the option to request up to three additional tickets when reserving your student/guest tickets. This will automatically add you to the commencement ticket waitlist. Please note:  Eligible students will be able to reserve commencement tickets the day after applying for graduation. Initial student/guest ticket reservations ends April 30th. Waitlist ticket requests will be distributed on a first come, first serve basis starting May 1st.

What time do I need to arrive at Commencement?

The doors open at 7:00 AM and the ceremony will start at 9:00 AM. Graduates should arrive no later than 8:00 AM, check in, and then follow the tape on the floor that correlates with their major. There will be plenty of staff on site to help guide you. Graduates (with ticket and regalia) must enter at the Spring & Center Street Entrance.

How long will the ceremony last?

The ceremony will last approximately three hours.

What should I bring?

Graduates should bring their ticket, cap, tassle, and gown. We recommend dressing lightly under your gown as it tends to get warm in the arena. Large bags and backpacks will not be allowed in the arena. You are also discouraged from bringing any valuables or items you aren't comfortable carrying onto the floor with you. There is no storage available during the ceremony. If you are unsure of what to bring, please check out the Cross Insurance Arena's list of prohibited items.

What should I wear?

Students are required to wear school regalia. Caps and gowns will be available in the USM Bookstore beginning in late April. They are then available until the day before graduation. If you cannot make it into the Bookstore on the Portland campus it can be shipped to your home or to the Gorham or Lewiston campuses. Regalia will be available to pre-order through the USM Bookstore website starting in April but will not be ready for picking up or shipping until April 30th.
Please note that pre-ordering is mainly intented for graduates whose regalia is being paid for by a third party.  The Bookstore stocks a wide range of sizes and there is no need to pre-order if you are between 4'9'' and 6'8".  If you are 4'9" and shorter or 6'8" and taller please pre-order or contact us by May 4th so we can be sure to have the right gown for you.

More information about academic dress and USM history can be found here.

Where can I park?

Free parking will be available on the Portland campus with shuttle bus service between the Woodbury Campus Center and the Cross Insurance Arena starting at 7:15 AM. Parking will also be available in the parking garage next to the Cross Insurance Arena. Carpooling is encouraged.

Will I be able to purchase a professional Commencement photo of myself?

Yes! A professional photo will be taken of each graduate during the ceremony by Grad Images.  For more information about this service please visit At Commencement Grad Images staff will provide you with a card title "Grad Images" to complete with your name, address, phone number, and email so that they can mail you a proof of your photo and you can review the proof online.

If I owe the University money, can I still participate in the Commencement ceremony?

Yes! You can still walk in the ceremony as long as you have met graduation requirements, but you will not receive your dipolma until your account is settled.

How do I get my name listed in the program?

When you apply to graduate make sure you check the box on the application that says "include my name in printed materials". There is also a box that says "exclude my name from printed materials." If you would prefer to not have your name in the program make sure to choose that option instead.

How are Latin honors determined?

Cum Laude honors are for students with a GPA of at least 3.60 and less than 3.75, Magna Cum Laude honors are for students with a GPA of at least 3.75 and less than 3.90, Summa Cum Laude honors are for students with a GPA of at least a 3.9 and above.

How do I get my diploma?

Your diploma will be mailed to you once your appropriate Dean or Department has certified that you have met all degree requirements and your degree has been awarded. This process usually takes 4-6 weeks.

How big will my diploma be and where can I find a frame for it?

Undergraduate diplomas measure 7x9 inches and Graduate diplomas measure 8 1/2x11. Frames can be ordered through the USM Bookstore here. Check out the USM Bookstore Graduation page for information on other items available for purchase. 

If I am a double major, will I get two diplomas?

A student who completes two majors will receive one diploma that lists both majors.

What if I lose my diploma?

Don't worry! You can order a replacement diploma here.

How can I stay connected to USM past graduation?

USM Alumni Relations would love to communicate with you about news, events, and special offers just for USM graduates!