When and where is the universitywide Commencement ceremony?

The Johns Hopkins universitywide Commencement, marking the close of the 145th academic year, is scheduled for Thursday, May 27, 2021. All degrees from across Johns Hopkins University’s nine schools will be conferred during this ceremony. Based on current public health guidance and state and local regulations, we are planning for a virtual ceremony. However, with cautious optimism that the situation will improve, we are also preparing for the possibility that we will be able to hold some part of the Class of 2021 Commencement Ceremony in person. Should conditions permit, we hope to hold the ceremony at the Royal Farms Arena with undergraduate seniors only in person, and family, friends, guests and graduate degree candidates of the Class of 2021 invited to join via livestream. Graduate degree candidates will receive information about their 2021 individual school ceremonies in the coming weeks.

In the event we are able to hold an in-person universitywide ceremony at Royal Farms Arena, to ensure the safety of our graduates, and in accordance with University COVID-19 protocols, masks will be required, seats will be assigned to ensure graduates are physically distanced during the ceremony, and, instead of lining up to cross the stage, graduates will be recognized from their seats during the event.

Who should attend the universitywide Commencement ceremony?

As degrees from all nine schools will be conferred during this ceremony, all candidates are invited to join the ceremony virtually. Should conditions permit an in-person ceremony, bachelor’s candidates from the Krieger School of Arts & Sciences, Peabody Conservatory, and Whiting School of Engineering will be invited to attend in person and will be recognized from their seats (there will be no stage crossing during this year’s ceremony).

Information for divisional ceremonies for master’s and doctoral candidates can be found here.

Family, friends, and guests of all graduates will be invited to join this ceremony via livestream.

Can my family and friends attend the in-person universitywide ceremony if it is held?

Unfortunately, no.

In order to limit the number of people in the arena and ensure proper physical distancing, family, friends, and guest will be invited to watch the ceremony via livestream.

How can family members participate in the ceremony?

The ceremony will be livestreamed and anyone with internet access will be able to view it. In May, links to the livestream for the universitywide and individual school ceremonies will be posted on the Stories and Pictures page on the Commencement website.

Is it mandatory that undergraduates attend the in-person universitywide ceremony if it is held?

No. It is at your discretion whether you attend the in-person universitywide ceremony. All degrees will be conferred regardless of attendance. You will have the ability to join via livestream if you choose not to attend.

If you have received instructions to quarantine due to “meaningful” exposure you should stay home and quarantine for 14 days after your last known contact with a person who has COVID-19, even if you have tested negative. Because the incubation period of the virus varies, you can still be incubating the virus even if you test negative and may become infectious later during the 14-day window. If the ceremony falls within your 14-day quarantine you should not attend the ceremony.

Individuals who have symptoms of COVID-19 or have tested positive for infection with SARS-CoV-2 should self-isolate at home, except to get medical care, and should not attend the ceremony.

I am not feeling well or have received instructions to quarantine, can I still attend the ceremony?

No. Individuals who have symptoms of COVID-19 or have tested positive for infection with SARS-CoV-2 should self-isolate at home, except to get medical care, and should not attend the ceremony.

If you have received instructions to quarantine due to “meaningful” exposure you should stay home and quarantine for 14 days after your last known contact with a person who has COVID-19, even if you have tested negative. Because the incubation period of the virus varies, you can still be incubating the virus even if you test negative and may become infectious later during the 14-day window. If the ceremony falls within your 14-day quarantine you should not attend the ceremony.

Will I be required to have a COVID test prior to the ceremony?

Yes. Twice weekly testing at one of the nine JHU asymptomatic COVID testing sites will continue throughout the semester (testing frequency may be increased, based on public health conditions). Undergraduates must have had two tests with negative results within a week before the ceremony in order to attend an in-person ceremony.

What are graduates required to wear?

Each graduate will need to purchase regalia (cap and gown) in order to participate in in-person school-specific and universitywide ceremonies. Details about regalia ordering will be updated in the coming weeks and available at https://jhu.shopoakhalli.com/purchasewizard/Welcome.

Additionally, all graduates will be required to wear a mask, covering their nose and mouth, upon entering and for the duration of any in-person ceremonies.

Are masks required to participate in in-person ceremonies if they are held?

Yes. All graduates will be required to wear a mask, covering their nose and mouth, at all times during any in-person ceremony.

How will I receive my diploma?

Spring diplomas will be mailed out to all graduates, regardless of attendance at an in-person ceremony, in June as degrees are cleared. If you have additional questions, please email asenverify@jhu.edu.

Will an ASL interpreter and/or captioning be provided?

Yes, captions and ASL interpretation will be available on the livestream.

If we are in-person, large screens at the arena will project the Commencement ceremony. These screens will include captions and live ASL interpretation.

Assisted listening devices are available at Royal Farms Arena Guest Services, which is located behind section 227. A driver’s license will need to be left in exchange for the device.

Is disability seating available for graduates if the in-person universitywide ceremony is held?

Yes. Any graduate requesting disability seating should contact the Commencement Office, commencement@jhu.edu, to discuss available options.

Elevators are on the southeast and southwest corners of the buildings. Please see a Royal Farms Arena staff member or Commencement volunteer for assistance upon entering the building.

How can I have my graduate portrait taken?

While the university will not offer formal graduate portrait sessions, many local photographers offer this option.

I am a Class of 2020 graduate, will there be an in-person ceremony for me?

Plans are still being finalized for the Class of 2020 and an update will be provided in the coming months. However, given that no graduates will cross the stage in the 2021 ceremony, it is unlikely that a redo 2020 ceremony will take place this spring. The commencement office and Class of 2020 leaders are exploring alternative ways to recognize the class in person.

For additional information and questions, please email commencement@jhu.edu.

Last updated February 23, 2021