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Graduate Hooding Ceremony

At the present time, the Graduate Hooding Ceremony will not take place. However, the Commencement 2020 ceremonies are designed to provide a safe, in-person way for graduates to be recognized for their achievement.

The Graduate Hooding Ceremony is the recognition of the hard work that goes into the achievement of a Master’s, Specialist in Education, or Doctoral Degree. The Graduate School looks forward to helping you celebrate your success with your friends, family, and the UT community. Reading this information on making early preparations, getting the appropriate regalia, and attending the ceremony will help make your experience a memorable one.

Early Preparations

There are preparations that must be made in advance of the ceremony, to ensure that you are able to participate fully. If you procrastinate in making these preparations, there is a greater likelihood that you will not be able to participate.

Submitting the Graduation Application

For your name to appear in the program for the ceremony, you must have submitted the Graduation Application through MyUTK by the deadline date for the term in which you are graduating.

Privacy Requests

If you have placed a privacy request on your student records, your name will not appear in the printed program. If you want to remove the privacy request, you must call Charlene Ingle (865-974-1501) in the Registrar’s Office.

Remember that just because your name appears in the program, you should not consider that a confirmation that you will receive a degree. Be sure to check with your graduation specialist to make certain that you have satisfied all requirements for graduation. Conversely, the absence of a student’s name from the program does not necessarily mean that the candidate will not be awarded a degree.

International Family Members

If your family members would like to attend the hooding ceremony, but require an invitation to travel to the United States, fill out the Invitation to International Family Members to Enter the U.S. form. This may take at least 48 hours to process, but once it is processed, you will receive an email that a letter is ready for you to pick up. This letter can be used to apply for the appropriate visa for travel.

Inviting Your Hooder – Doctoral Candidates

If you are a doctoral candidate, communicate with your major professor as to whom on your committee will be your hooder at the ceremony.

Dressing Appropriately

In order to participate in the ceremony, you must be dressed in the proper academic regalia. It is your responsibility to order your regalia through the VolShop at the Student Union. If you have any questions, please contact the Graduate Counter at the VolShop at the Student Union (865-974-3459).

You must pick up your regalia from the bookstore prior to arriving at the ceremony. It will not be available for pickup at the arena.

The Ceremony

There is no rehearsal or formal information meeting for ceremony participants, but all participants must arrive no later than one hour prior to the start of the ceremony. During that time, instructions will be given to ensure everyone has a pleasant experience. Be aware that there is a “Clear Bag” policy in effect for the ceremony, much like athletic events. For more details about security, see the Security at the Ceremony page.


All graduates must check-in upon arrival in order to receive your name card. Only those students dressed in academic regalia will be allowed to participate. Until you reach the stage, you must have your name card with you at all times. If you wish to have photography proofs mailed to you, be sure to include your mailing address on the back of the card.

Master’s and Specialist in Education candidates must check in at the Master’s Check-In area, which will be located in the East Hallway nearest to the G-10 garage. Graduates should look for signs directing them to the correct location. Master’s and Specialist in Education candidates will wear their hoods for the entire duration of the ceremony.

Doctoral candidates and their hooders check-in at the Ray Mears Room, which is located in the West Hallway nearest to Lake Loudoun Drive. Doctoral candidates will wear their robe, but will carry their hood in order to be hooded on stage.

Getting Seated – Master’s and Specialist in Education Candidates

After receiving your name card, Master’s and Specialist in Education candidates should proceed to the arena floor where ushers will direct you to your row of seats designated by college to be seated. The first candidate in each row must carry a card bearing the name of the college.

Candidates must be seated in their college section half an hour prior to start time. At the appropriate time, ushers will prompt candidates when to rise and move toward the stage. Please watch the ushers for the cue to rise. Candidates will exit their seats to the left and process to the stage.

Getting Organized – Doctoral Candidates

Doctoral candidates should arrive no later than an hour prior to the ceremony start time and receive a name card upon entering the Ray Mears Room.

Please stand adjacent to your assigned area, each designated by college signs. A half an hour before start time, Graduate School staff will instruct doctoral candidates and hooders in lining up, processing in, processing to the stage, and the proper way to hood and be hooded.

Doctoral candidates and hooders will process in after the non-hooding faculty and will be seated on the right side of the arena floor. At the appropriate time, doctoral candidates and hooders will be cued by ushers when to rise and move toward the stage. Doctoral candidates and hooders will exit their seats to the right and process to the stage, with hooder in front and followed by the candidate.

Be aware that there will be no place to leave personal items that is secure. If you have items that you must have with you, please ask one of your guests to keep them for you.

Getting on Stage

You must give your name card to the Reader of Names to receive recognition upon crossing the stage. The first candidate in each college must also give the Reader of Names the college card, which will be supplied immediately prior to the beginning of the ceremony. Only students possessing a name card will be allowed to cross the stage and accept congratulations from your college dean.

Doctoral students will be hooded on stage by a member of their doctoral committee. If a hooder is not available, the doctoral student will be hooded by the college dean.

A professional photographer will be taking photos as graduates shake hands with the dean on stage. Graduates must include their mailing address on the back of their name card if they wish to be mailed a photo proof. After the ceremony, the stage will be available for additional graduate and guest photo opportunities.

As a courtesy to all in attendance, please have your guests refrain from advancing to the front of the stage to take photos as you are walking across.

After you leave the stage, return to your designated seating area and remain seated until the conclusion of the ceremony. Once the ceremony has adjourned, you may meet your guests and make your departure from the Arena.