COVID-19 and Commencement plans

March 24, 2020

With great regret, President Rafael Reif announced today that the festivities for Commencement 2020 will not take place as planned.

Read the full text of the letter

To honor the incredible hard work and accomplishments of our graduating students, Commencement 2020 will occur in two parts:

  • An online event on May 29 to confer degrees and to celebrate our graduates. Those who plan our usual Commencement will co-design this program with our elected student leaders and some faculty.
  • An in-person celebration, to be held at MIT at some point in the future. The students, faculty and staff on our Commencement Transition Committee – whom we charged to develop the programming for MIT Commencement in 2021 and beyond – will begin imagining the possibilities for this special Class of 2020 event, under the leadership of committee chair Professor Jim Poterba and bolstered by new student leaders. Proposing that graduates travel back to campus naturally raises questions around equity and financial burdens, so we will do our best to plan with these concerns in mind.

Graduating students: If you have ideas for these events, please share them with us and your elected student leaders at CommencementIdeas@mit.edu.

Thank you—We look forward to gathering again in Cambridge as OneMIT.

Special FAQ for Commencement 2020

Yes. All students will receive their MIT diploma. Timing, delivery method, and other logistics are currently being considered. Plans will be posted when finalized.

Please keep your diploma mailing contact information updated in the “contact info” field in your online degree application on WebSIS. This is critical to MIT being able to reach you with official electronic or physical mailings.

All graduating students are eligible to receive a digital diploma at no cost. May 2020 degree candidates will receive digital diplomas on May 29. Be sure to download the Blockcerts Wallet app on your mobile device when you receive the invitation from the Registrar’s Office to ensure that you receive your digital diploma as soon as it is available. Read the complete digital diploma information on the Registrar’s Office website.

May degrees will be awarded on Friday, May 29. Employers, graduate schools, and other parties can immediately verify digital diplomas using MIT’s verification portal.   

Other options for degree verification are available on the Registrar’s Office website.

No—you don’t need to take any action to cancel your order and receive a refund on regalia rental. Refunds will be processed and you’ll see the credit in 10–21 days. Questions? Contact regalia@mit.edu.

Doctoral regalia purchase orders will be cancelled and refunded. However, if you still wish to purchase an MIT Doctoral gown, you may do so through Oak Hall.

You will receive your PhD or ScD hood from MIT. At this time, however, specific distribution logistics have yet to be determined.

You are encouraged to continue consulting with your academic advisor and/or academic department(s) regarding progress towards your degree(s). Be sure that you have completed the online degree application on WebSIS. The Registrar’s Office will contact you in May only if you are not cleared to graduate at the end of the term. If you do not receive a notification to the contrary, you may assume that you are still on the degree list and will receive a digital diploma at the end of May.

A working group of faculty and elected student leaders is beginning its work now on May 29’s online event; you will hear more details about that program in April.

The students, faculty, and staff of the Commencement Transition Committee—charged with developing the programming for MIT Commencement in 2021 and beyond—will begin to conceive of an in-person celebration, to be held at MIT at some point in the future. Planning for this special Class of 2020 event will continue in the months to come as we watch the development of the Covid-19 situation.