Skip to Main Content

Commencement 2020

Dean's Reception

Dean Vermund will host a brunch for graduating students, their family and guests, and YSPH faculty. The brunch will be held on Sunday, May 17 at the New Haven Lawn Club, 193 Whitney Avenue, New Haven, CT. We look forward to meeting your families! Tickets are not required. Your family is welcome to join you.

To accommodate our students and their guests, there will be two different waves for the brunch - 9:30 a.m.-11:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m.-1:30 p.m. Sign up for the two different waves will be communicated along with other Commencement details at the beginning of the spring term.

Caps and Gowns
Academic attire is to be worn by all students participating in the exercises. All graduating students attending the commencement ceremony must purchase “retainable regalia” so caps, gowns, and hoods will be yours to keep.

Doctoral Gowns - Students who already have a doctoral degree are eligible to order the doctoral gown with three stripes on the sleeves and an MPH hood. Please note that students who are currently enrolled in medical school should order the master's gown and hood.

Students may order online at using a credit card or student account starting February 14th. Select “Commencement” from the main menu, then “Order Cap and Gown,” and follow instructions. To avoid late fees, orders must be received by 4:00 p.m. on April 1.

Orders may also be mailed or dropped off at the office of Associated Student Agencies, on the lower level of 246 Church Street between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Cash, money orders, personal checks, credit cards, and charges to Yale student accounts will be accepted at 246 Church Street. Please do not send cash with mailed orders.

The cost of academic attire (cap, gown, and master’s hood) is approximately $59 for orders received by the April 1 deadline. Orders received from April 1 through Friday, April 13 will be subject to a late fee of $10.00. No orders, including those placed online, will be processed after April 13, and no refunds on cancellations will be issued after that date.

Attire may be picked up May 14 to 18 at Payne Whitney Gymnasium Pool Amphitheater, located to the left of the main entrance, during the hours listed below. Please bring current Yale I.D.

Thursday May 14 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Friday May 15 noon to 4:00 p.m. 
Saturday, May 16 noon to 4:00 p.m.
Sunday, May 17 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
Monday, May 18 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.

These will be the only times of distribution. If you are unable to pick up your attire at the times listed, you will need to make arrangements to have someone else pick it up for you. The person picking up your attire must present a Yale I.D. or other valid identification, as well as a signed note from you authorizing pick up of your order.

Each Yale school has a designated hood color, and the YSPH color is salmon pink. The tassel on your cap should be worn on the left side.

More information is available at


At the University ceremony, a symbolic diploma will be presented to the YSPH student marshal. Individual diplomas will be distributed at the YSPH ceremony. 

Please check your diploma name on (Commencement Menu, Diploma Name). If you would like any changes made to the way your name appears please submit the change form to by March 30, 2020. Please note that the diploma name is final. University policy allows students to indicate a preferred first name different from their legal first name on their diploma.

Name change requests submitted after the diplomas have been printed will not be accepted. The only exception is a court ordered name change which requires submission of the Application for Duplicate Diploma to the University Secretary’s Office. 

Diploma Holds

If you are on diploma hold you will not receive a diploma at commencement and will have to make arrangements with the Office of the University Secretary to obtain your diploma. Diplomas will be held for the following reasons:

Financial Aid Recipients
Students receiving financial aid from federal funds are required to complete an exit interview.  You will receive an email from Student Financial Services describing how to complete this process online.

Payment of Bills
All balances due to the Student Financial Services office must be paid in full before diplomas are released (i.e. May, 1, 2020).  If you have questions about your bill, please call Student Financial Services at 203-432-2700.

Completion of Career Paths Survey
Later in the semester you will receive an email from our office asking you to complete a Career Paths Survey. The completion of this brief survey regarding your plans after graduation will enable YSPH to report professional development outcomes to various public health associations and accrediting bodies. You will also be asked to provide contact information for our alumni records.

The University Ceremony

Monday, May 18, 2020

9:00 a.m. - Degree Candidates Assemble
Degree candidates assemble in academic attire in front of the Sterling Hall of Medicine, 333 Cedar Street, for procession to Cross Campus. If you miss the departure time, please go directly to Cross Campus and assemble near sign indicating School of Public Health.

9:40 a.m. - Cross Campus Assembly
Assemble under the YSPH sign on Cross Campus. It is very important to be on time! 

10:00 a.m. - Procession from Cross Campus to Old Campus
The procession to the Old Campus begins with President Salovey and the members of the Yale Corporation, followed by the honorary degree recipients. MPH candidates should tip their caps to the President when he walks by the YSPH assembly. Undergraduates are followed by the graduate and professional schools; YSPH follows the Medical School.  Procession guides will direct you.

10:15 a.m. - Entrance to Old Campus and Seating
The YSPH student banner bearer (to be announced) goes to the bandstand with the other banner bearers to await further instructions from a procession marshal. Dean Vermund proceeds to his seating on the stage. The YSPH faculty marshal (to be announced) leads the faculty to the faculty seating area. The student marshal (to be announced) goes to the graduate marshal seating area. 

After the President, Corporation members, and Deans are seated on the stage, YSPH students sit down.  The President and Corporation should already be seated by the time you get to your seats.

10:30 a.m. - Old Campus Ceremony
The order of the ceremony is as follows:

Carillon procession of band and banner bearers.  Invocation by the University Chaplain. Stand during the invocation and sit down when it is finished.  Presentation of candidates for degrees. YSPH participation is as follows:

Dean Vermund stands onstage to present MPH candidates to President Salovey.  YSPH degree candidates remain in their seats.  Do not go to the stage—diplomas are presented at the YSPH ceremony. 

Dean Vermund tips his cap to the President as the student marshal proceeds to the stairs and faces the stage.  Dean Vermund announces to the President, “Mr. President, I have the honor to present candidates for the degree of Master of Public Health, 124 in number.”  On the word “number”, YSPH candidates stand.  Dean Vermund then continues, “They have been recommended by the faculty of the School and approved by the Corporation.  I now ask you by your official act to confer upon them this degree.”

The President responds, “By the authority vested in me, I confer upon you the degree of Master of Public Health as designated by the Dean, and admit you to all of its rights and responsibilities.”  On the word “me”, the student marshal goes onto the stage and receives the symbolic diploma from the President.  The student marshal then returns to his/her seat.  Dean Vermund tips his hat to the President and resumes his seat.  As soon as he is seated, YSPH graduates sit down.

The ceremony continues with the presentation of candidates for honorary degrees, closing hymn, benediction, and recessional.  During the last verse of the closing hymn the banner bearer goes to a position near the YSPH banner, and faces the stage.

11:30 a.m. - Recessional from Old Campus to the Omni Hotel
After the benediction, all graduates remain standing until the President and the Corporation members have left the platform.  The banner bearer and student marshal return promptly to the YSPH seating area to join the faculty marshal and lead the YSPH graduates out of the Old Campus and down the street to the Omni Hotel (155 Temple Street).  If the exit from the Old Campus becomes chaotic, as sometimes happens, proceed to the Omni Hotel on your own.  Please ask your guests to meet you at the Omni Hotel; you will not be able to find them in the central campus crowds.

YSPH Commencement Luncheon

Lunch will be served at the Omni Hotel (155 Temple Street) following the University ceremony at noon on Monday, May 18. Graduates do NOT need a ticket, however, you will need to purchase tickets for your guests. You may purchase a maximum of two tickets ($15 per ticket). Tickets will be available for purchase from April 22 to May 10 in the Office of Student Affairs. If you have more than 2 guests, you can add your name to the extra ticket wait list. If you have a large group of guests (over 6) you should consider having lunch at a downtown restaurant.  Most restaurants will be available at that time since the other schools at Yale hold their commencements at lunchtime. A list of dining options is available here. Please be sure to purchase your tickets in advance—they will not be available at the door. For questions, please contact the YSPH Student Affairs Office

YSPH Commencement Ceremony - 3:00 p.m. at Woolsey Hall

Starting at 2:40 p.m. on Monday, May 18th, MPH graduates will be asked to arrive at Woolsey Hall and take their assigned seat. Seat assignments will be sent to students in advance of the ceremony. If you need to reconfirm your seat number, please see a YSPH staff member at Woolsey Hall for assistance. The procession will be led by Dean Vermund, our guest Commencement speaker, the faculty marshal, the faculty, followed by the line of graduates. The ceremony will begin at 3:00 p.m. and will consist of welcoming remarks by Dean Vermund, addresses by our guest speaker and our student speaker, the presentation of awards, and the presentation of individual diplomas. The ceremony generally lasts just over an hour and a half. Tickets are not required.

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

Thesis Issues

If your thesis is not complete by May 1, 2020, you will be considered thesis pending and will not be allowed to participate in graduation. In order for your thesis to be considered “complete” both thesis advisers must submit their final grade by May 1, 2020 at 5:00 p.m. and you must submit your thesis electronically by May 1, 2020 at 5:00 p.m.

Incomplete Coursework

All coursework must be completed by the end of the term in order to graduate. Students will not be allowed to attend graduation, and degrees will not be conferred for any student with a grade of “incomplete”.

Tickets for Guests

No tickets are needed for either the University or YSPH ceremonies. Graduating students may bring as many guests as they like. Tickets are required for the Commencement Luncheon only (see above section).

Seating on the Old Campus

The audience for the University ceremony is huge. For the best seating, your guests should plan to arrive at least an hour early.

Guests with Disabilities or Health Concerns

If you will have guests with disability related needs, please notify so we can ensure that appropriate accommodations are available in Woolsey Hall and the Omni Hotel (if attending the luncheon).

Due to a limited quantity of complimentary wheelchairs and a high volume of requests, we regret that Yale Accessibility is no longer taking wheelchair reservations for Commencement 2020.

For more information about services available to guests with disabilities or health concerns during the University Commencement, please refer to the website,


It is Yale’s custom to hold the University ceremony outdoors regardless of the weather. In the event of rain, be prepared with raincoats, umbrellas, and wet-weather shoes.  The ceremony on Old Campus will be streamed at

The YSPH ceremony and the Commencement lunch will both be indoors, so weather will not be an issue.


University lots will be open to the public from 4 p.m. on Friday, May 15, through noon on Tuesday, May 19. Additional information about parking including directions and public transportation options is available here.

University Commencement Website

Additional information is available on the Yale Commencement website at, or call the Commencement office at (203) 432-2317.