Commencement Details and Resources

UCSF Graduate Division 2023 PhD/Master’s Commencement

Friday, May 19, 11 a.m. 
Herbst Theatre (Veterans Building, 401 Van Ness Avenue)

Arrival time for GRADUATES: 10 a.m.
Arrival time for FACULTY: 10:30 a.m.
Arrival time for GUESTS: 10:30 a.m.
Ceremony begins: 11 a.m. (will conclude at approximately 12:30 p.m.)
Remote viewing: [Live stream link to come!]


Invitations will be sent in early March 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 the current year. Students must register in order to join us for the ceremony. The registration deadline is April 7, 2023. 


Students: You’ll need to order your regalia for the ceremony directly from the Jostens STUDENT REGALIA webpage. 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 from Jostens is April 11.

  • 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. The deadline to order regalia from Jostens is April 11.


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 can order regalia specific to their alma mater from the Jostens faculty regalia webpage or 800-854-7464. The deadline for faculty to order regalia from Jostens is April 11.

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

Event flow for 2023 will be shared later this spring. See the 2022 commencement event flow as a general reference. Our event typically runs about 1.5 hours. 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.


You will not receive your diploma at the commencement ceremony. You will receive a leatherbound diploma cover with a congratulatory message inside. If you have not already received your diploma, it 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 is 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. To request an exception, please contact [email protected]Note that this year’s ceremony will also be live streamed for remote audiences

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

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

COVID-19 Policies

(as of March 2, 2023)

For COVID-19 compliance, current UCSF policy requires that all event attendees will need to 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. Final guidelines for all attendees will be provided before the ceremony.

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 photo of each graduate being hooded, along with a posed portrait. 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.

Live Stream

The commencement ceremony will be live-streamed for remote viewers on YouTube, starting at 11 a.m. PDT. The live stream link will be available here at a later date.


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

P​erforming Arts Garage, 360 Grove St

C​ivic Center Plaza Garage, 355 McAllister St 

C​ity Park Archstone Fox Plaza Garage, 1390 Market St

C​alifornia Parking, 110 Franklin St

Opera Plaza Parking, 601 Van Ness Avenue

UC Hastings Parking Garage, 376 Larkin St

Star Parking, 98 Franklin Street

530 Turk St Lot. 530 Turk St


Open for lunch and dinner:

C​hez Maman West, 401 Gough St (415) 355­-9067 | Informal french food

L​ers Ros Thai, 307 Hayes St (415) 874­-9661

Brenda’s French Soul Food, 652 Polk St, (415) 345-8100

Chao Pescao, 272 McAllister St

A​bsinthe Brasserie & Bar, 398 Hayes St (415) 551­-1590

Hayes Street Grill, 320 Hayes St (415) 863-5545

A Mano, 450 Hayes St (415) 506-7401

RT Rotisserie, 101 Oak (415) 829-7086

Souvla, 517 Hayes St (415) 400-5458

Open for dinner:

N​ojo Ramen Tavern, 231 Franklin St (415) 896­-4587

M​onsieur Benjamin, 451 Gough St (415) 403­-2233

R​ich Table, 199 Gough St (415) 355-9085

Suppenküche, 525 Laguna St (415) 252-9289