Graduate Division Commencement

Commencement Details and Resources

2024 PhD/Master’s Commencement

Monday, May 20, 2024, 11 a.m. 
Herbst Theatre (Veterans Building, 401 Van Ness Avenue)

Arrival time for GRADUATES: 10 a.m.
Arrival time for FACULTY:  Between 10 and 10:30 a.m.
Theatre opens for GUESTS: 10:30 a.m.
Ceremony begins: 11 a.m. (will conclude at approximately 1 p.m.)
Remote viewing via YouTube Livestream


Invitations were sent in early March 2024 to all PhD and master's students who have completed their program requirements in the previous fall and winter terms, or who reasonably expect to finish in the spring, summer, or fall terms of 2024.


Students: You’ll need to order your regalia for the ceremony directly from the Jostens STUDENT REGALIA webpage (shop the "Grad Division Students" collection). Both master's and doctoral students will need hoods. Doctoral students should indicate “PhD” when prompted for “major/curriculum.” (Master’s hoods are all trimmed in gold, so there is no prompt for major/curriculum.) The deadline to order regalia is Wednesday, April 10.

  • Master’s students: You will need a master's cap (mortarboard style) with tassel, gown, and masters hood.
  • PhD students: You will need a doctorate tam style cap with tassel, gown, and doctoral hood.

You may also order graduation announcements from Jostens if you wish.

Hooders: Advisers and faculty can order hoods specific to their alma mater plus gowns and caps from the Jostens FACULTY REGALIA webpage (shop the "Faculty Grad Division" collection). The deadline to order regalia is Wednesday, April 10.


Master’s (MA, MS, and MAS) students are hooded by designated representatives of their program.

Doctoral (PhD) students are usually hooded by their research adviser or mentor. If you wish to be hooded by your adviser, it's very important that you inform them yourself. Please remind your adviser that they will need to have regalia for the ceremony as well. Advisers and faculty can order hoods specific to their alma mater plus gowns and caps from the Jostens faculty regalia webpage (shop the "Faculty Grad Division" collection). The deadline to order regalia is Wednesday, April 10.

On commencement day, please do not put your hood on. You should carry it over your left arm until you are ceremonially hooded by your adviser or designated program representative on stage. Tassels should hang on the left side of your cap.

Hooding Handshakes:  A congratulatory handshake with the dean and other distinguished guests after being hooded is customary. However, respecting your personal space is important to us. The UCSF team advises that you, the graduate, initiate the handshake with the dean and other distinguished guests after you are hooded on stage. If you choose not to shake hands, be assured that the dean and other distinguished guests will mirror what you do, whether it is a bow or simply a smile.

Event Flow

The 2024 commencement event flow will be available in May 2024. In the meantime, see the 2023 commencement event flow for a general idea of the flow of the event. There will not be a reception, but grads and their guests can gather in the large public lobby of the Veterans Building after the ceremony. There are also many restaurants in the vicinity; a few are listed at the bottom of this page.

Commencement Speaker

The 2024 commencement speaker will be Anita Sil, MD, PhD, professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at UCSF, and co-director of the Biomedical Sciences PhD program.


You will not receive your diploma at the commencement ceremony. You will receive a leatherbound diploma cover with a congratulatory message inside. Your diploma will be available to you from the Office of the Registrar approximately eight to 12 weeks after the end of the term in which you complete your studies. Learn more about diplomas.

Inviting Guests

Each graduating student will be limited to five (5) guests. When registering, you may indicate the number of seats you would like to reserve for guests. Please only reserve as many seats as you know you will need. Note that the ceremony will also be live streamed for remote audiences

You will receive a separate link via Eventbrite to register your guests. Please be sure guests print and bring their tickets with them to the commencement. There will not be a will call available onsite.

See COVID-19 event guidelines for all event attendees below.

COVID-19 Policies

(as of March 1, 2024)

  • UCSF strongly recommends that all guests attending in-person special events at UCSF are up to date with their COVID-19 vaccinations and boosters, if eligible. COVID-19 vaccines remain the best public health measure to protect people from the virus, slow transmission, and reduce the likelihood of new variants emerging. 
  • UCSF recommends that all event attendees complete either the UCSF Digital Screener or the Vendor/Campus Guest Health Screener and follow the screener requirements before arriving at the venue.
  • Vaccination, masking, and event capacity policies are subject to change in compliance with UCSF policy, venue policy and local public health orders.

Other Info

Flowers: Flowers and leis ARE permitted in the Herbst Theatre.

Balloons: Helium and mylar balloons ARE NOT permitted in the Herbst Theatre.

Other: Glitter and confetti ARE NOT permitted in the Herbst Theatre.


  • Your guests can take photos or videos, but may not use tripods.
  • Please refrain from taking selfies on stage while you're hooded.
  • Professional photographers from Grad Images will take a posed portrait of each graduate after being hooded. You will have the option to purchase these from Grad Images in the days following the ceremony. Pre-register with Grad Images before commencement day and receive 20% off your entire order. See the Grad Images website for more details.
  • Our event will be live streamed and recorded for on-demand viewing. We will also have a professional photographer documenting the ceremony and festivities.

Live Stream

The 2024 commencement ceremony will be live-streamed for remote viewers on YouTube, starting at 11 a.m. PDT on May 20. 

watch the live stream


If you have a question not answered here, please email us at [email protected].

Transportation, Parking and Nearby Restaurants

There will not be a reception at the Herbst Theatre. If you would like to go out for a celebratory meal with your guests following the ceremony in the vicinity of the Theatre, we highly recommend that you make a reservation, as restaurants will fill rapidly. A partial list of restaurants (both formal and casual) in the area follows. The Herbst Theatre is located at 401 Van Ness Avenue (at McAllister St.), in the Civic Center of San Francisco. The theater is not far from several public transportation options. It's about a 10-minute walk from the Civic Center BART station or MUNI Metro Van Ness station, and is close to stops on the 5 and 49 MUNI bus lines. Street parking in the area is limited. See a short list of parking facilities below. Find directions and parking info on the theater's website.

Parking Facilities


Open for lunch and dinner:
Open for dinner: