Doctoral Ceremony

Doctoral candidates clap in the audience; Photo: Jake Belcher

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 Investiture of Doctoral Hoods and Degree Conferral Ceremony will not take place. For the most current information about May 2020 plans, please visit the COVID-19 Commencement page.


The Investiture of Doctoral Hoods and Degree Conferral Ceremony will take place on Thursday, May 28, 2020 at 10:30 am in Killian Court . Please be sure that your guests know the Thursday ceremony is your graduation: your name will be read and you will receive both the diploma and the academic hood. You (and your family) are invited to attend the Commencement Exercises on Friday if you wish. However, Thursday is the day you will be recognized on stage.

There are no tickets required for the Doctoral Ceremony—seating is open and all family, friends, and mentors are welcome to attend. If your guests do wish to attend Commencement, please visit the ticket page to read more.

Guest speaker

Esther Duflo PhD ’99, the Abdul Latif Jameel Professor of Poverty Alleviation and Development Economics at MIT, will be the guest speaker at the 2020 Investiture of Doctoral Hoods and Degree Conferral Ceremony. Announcement at MIT News

Regalia and assembly

All degree candidates must report to their station numbers according to reporting time. Instructions will be emailed to all degree candidates in the weeks leading up to the ceremony and will also be published on these pages.

Please pick up your regalia earlier in the week and be sure to check that you have received the correct gown. There will not be extra regalia available at the ceremony; please come prepared. Please see additional information about regalia.

You are not responsible for ordering or picking up your new hood; it will be presented to you on stage during the ceremony.

The robing and assembly areas are for graduates only: please ask your family and friends to proceed to the event venue. Further guest information is available in the guests section.

Procession, hood investiture, and recession

Degree candidates follow faculty in the procession. You will receive your diploma from the chancellor and the hood from your department head or designate. The faculty recesses after the ceremony, but the candidates do not. You are free to join your guests in the audience once the faculty have recessed.

There are no children or other family or friends allowed on the stage or in the procession. We must require guests to stay in the seating area.

Graduates with disabilities or special needs: Please email Traci Swartz, Doctoral Ceremony Coordinator, by May 1 so that we can plan the best accommodation for you.

Photos and webcast

You will receive a mailing from Commencement Photos, Inc. The company will photograph each candidate twice while on stage. Please note: there is no designated area for guests to take photographs during the ceremony.  Because of the distance from the stage, guests will not be able to get close enough to the stage to take good photos. The best way to get a good photograph is to order the professional one. See the photos page for more information.

For one hour after the Doctoral Ceremony is over, you will be able to take photographs in front of the stage. Please discuss this with your guests beforehand so they know that they will have this option. Note: Killian Court will close one hour following the ceremony.

MIT Video Productions provides a live webcast of the 2020 Investiture of Doctoral Hoods and Degree Conferral ceremony, which will be made available on the morning of May 28. The webcast will include the Procession, speaker remarks, the name of each candidate being read, the conferral of degrees, and the investiture of Doctoral hoods to the candidates. On-demand viewing of the event will be made available online following the ceremony. Guests will not be permitted to set up video cameras in the aisles—the best way to see video is to view online.

Registrar's reminder

The registrar reminds all degree candidates to check WebSIS for any outstanding grades or financial charges that would prevent you from being invested with your Doctoral hood and receiving your diploma on May 28. Visit the Registrar’s website for additional information, including student deadlines.

A note about security for guests

Security arrangements are finalized in the days leading up to graduation: we recommend that you discuss this with your guests and refer them to current information so everyone knows what to expect.

Guests are asked to consider the appearance of some objects and leave anything that could be perceived as dangerous at home or in their hotel rooms. Large bags, large objects, selfie sticks, wrapped gifts, pocketknives or similar sharp objects, and glass bottles or containers are prohibited. Diaper bags and purses are permitted, but please note that all items taken into the event venue are subject to search, and that MIT will not accept responsibility for storing items that are not permitted inside the venue.

Guests are advised to carry government-issued photo ID with them to campus. Acceptable forms of ID are driver’s licenses, state ID cards, or passports.

The most up-to-date security information will be made available in the weeks leading up to Commencement; please visit the security page for those details.