Graduation Information, Policies, and Procedures

Applying to Graduate

All PennDesign students must apply to graduate by the term deadline:
  • Fall 2018: Graduation Application Deadline: October 19, 2018
  • Spring 2019: Graduation Application Deadline: February 22, 2019

Online PennDesign Graduation Application

Expected graduates enrolled in the M.S. in Architecture, Ph.D. in Architecture, A.M. in City Planning and/or the Ph.D. in City Planning programs MUST ALSO apply to graduate with Graduate Arts and Sciences,

Online Graduate Arts and Sciences Graduation Application
Graduate Arts and Sciences Graduation Calendar

All 2018-2019 graduates will be invited to participate in the festivities.

Guidelines for Applying to Graduate

  • All PennDesign students must apply to graduate.
  • PennDesign degree plus certificate students must submit a graduation application for EACH degree. For example, a student who is enrolled in the Master of Architecture (M.Arch.) program and the Time-Based and Interactive Media (TBIM) certificate program must submit a graduation application for M.Arch and TBIM separately.
  • PennDesign dual degree students complete both degrees in the same term and must submit a graduation application for each degree. For example, a student who is enrolled in the Master of Architecture (M.Arch.) and the Master of Landscape Architecture (M.L.A.) dual degree program must submit a graduation application for M.Arch. and M.L.A. separately.
  • PennDesign dual degree students may NOT receive their degrees in separate terms.
  • PennDesign students who are enrolled in a dual degree program at another school at the University must comply with both schools’ policies and procedures regarding applying for graduation, degree eligibility and commencement participation.

Degree Eligibility

Applying for graduation does not ensure that the degree will be conferred.  Students are responsible for meeting all degree requirements and fulfilling all financial obligations prior to graduation.   Students are responsible for ensuring that their academic record reflects all approved course substitutions and/or waivers prior to graduation.  Deficient course grades must be submitted no later than two weeks after the grade submission deadline for the graduating term.   Expected graduates who do not meet degree eligibility for any reason must reapply to graduate and if applicable, register for additional coursework in compliance with PennDesign’s continuous registration policy.

NO GRADE CHANGES ARE ACCEPTED ONCE A STUDENT HAS GRADUATED.

Students enrolled in the Ph.D. in Architecture, Ph.D. in City Planning, and the M.S. in Architecture must follow Graduate Arts and Sciences guidelines for thesis/dissertation submission.

Diplomas and Transcripts

Diploma Distribution

Diplomas are issued three times each year, in May, July and December. The diplomas of May graduates are mailed in July, the diplomas of August graduates are mailed in October and the diplomas of December graduates are mailed in February.   Diplomas issued with errors will be replaced free of charge provided that the diploma office is notified within one year of conferral date. The original diploma must be returned before the reprinted one is sent out.  For more information regarding diploma distribution please review these frequently asked questions and the following website: https://secure.www.upenn.edu/secretary/diplomas/.

Official Transcripts

Transcripts are maintained centrally by the University Registrar NOT PennDesign.  Students can request official transcripts electronically, by US mail and in person.  For details on how to request an official transcript please consult the University Registrar’s website: http://www.upenn.edu/registrar/student-services/transcripts.html.

Graduation is posted to the student’s academic record within two weeks of the completion of the term.  Students seeking an official transcript to confirm their graduation status should check their unofficial transcript via PennInTouch to confirm that their graduation has been posted prior to requesting an official transcript.  If the student determines that their graduation has NOT been posted, the student should contact the PennDesign Office of Student Services for assistance at registrar@design.upenn.edu.

Questions and/or concerns regarding all things related to graduation should be directed to the PennDesign Office of Student Services at:  registrar@design.upenn.edu or by phone at 215-898-6210.

Participating in Commencement

The University of Pennsylvania and PennDesign hold one commencement ceremony in May of each year.  Graduates from the previous summer and fall terms and expected graduates for the spring term are invited to participate in the University and PennDesign ceremonies.   Expected graduates for the spring term must have ALL deficient grades from previous terms rectified by May 1st in order to participate in commencement.  Spring term grades are due the Friday prior to the commencement festivities.  As a result, expected graduates for the spring term who receive a deficient grade in a spring term course will be eligible to participate in commencement.

Detailed information regarding the University commencement ceremony can be found online at: http://www.upenn.edu/commencement/ and also in the University Save the Date announcement Information regarding the PennDesign Alumni and Commencement Weekend festivities will be sent to all eligible participants by e-mail in early March.  

Save-The-Dates:

  • May 17 - 20, 2019 - Alumni and Commencement Weekend

Students who need a formal invitation letter for an overseas guest for commencement should request the letter in person at the front desk of the International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS), located at 3701 Chestnut Street, Suite 1W.  Please bring your PennID with you for identification purposes.

2019 Commencement Details

The University of Pennsylvania, School of Design extends its congratulations to our 2018-19 graduating students and their families on this festive occasion.  Below is everything you need to know for this year’s commencement ceremonies.  If you have any questions, concerns or require additional information please contact our office directly (email: registrar@design.upenn.edu, phone: 215-898-6224 or in person in 110 Meyerson Hall).   Enjoy!

Important Dates

  • April 16th - 18th: Graduation Fair at the Penn Bookstore (purchase your academic regalia)
  • Thursday May 9th – Saturday May 25th: MFA Thesis Exhibition at Crane Arts, Opening Reception Thursday, May 9th
  • Saturday, May 18th: Alumni Brunch at The Study
  • Saturday, May 18th: PennDesign Graduation Ceremony
  • Monday, May 20thth: 263rd University of Pennsylvania Commencement Ceremony
  • Monday, May 27th – Friday, June 28th: Certificates for spring graduates will be available for pick-up at the PennDesign Office of Student Services (110 Meyerson Hall).
  • Monday, July 1st: Certificates not picked up will be mailed to spring graduates.
  • July 2019: Diplomas mailed to spring graduates

Commencement Festivities

PennDesign Graduation Ceremony: PennDesign’s graduation ceremony is being held on Saturday, May 18th from 6-8:30pm in Irvine Auditorium.  There will be a light reception for graduates and their guests before the ceremony and a dessert reception following the ceremony. Both receptions will be held in Meyerson Hall. 

PennDesign will publish a photo gallery of graduates on the School’s Flickr page: https://www.flickr.com/photos/penndesign. Traditionally, the album is published by the end of May.

Tickets: Each graduating student will be allotted four (4) tickets to distribute to their guests.  All guests planning to attend the ceremony must have a valid ticket to gain entry.  Graduating students are not required to have a ticket.  Graduates will receive an invitation by email on March 1st to order their tickets.  To order tickets the graduate must log on to www.eventbrite.com.  Guests cannot order their tickets, this must be done by the graduate.  Using the drop box select the number of tickets you want (no more than 4 will be permitted).  There is no charge for the tickets.  Once you have made your selection please hit the submit button located on the bottom.  Once you have confirmed your tickets please print them and keep them in a safe place until the big day.  Anyone

without a valid ticket will not be permitted to enter the ceremony.  If you have questions or have difficulties ordering and printing your tickets, please contact Joe Tripodi at tripodi@design.upenn.edu. Additional tickets may be available.  A waitlist will be compiled.  If there are additional tickets they will be made available on a first come first serve basis.  Please email your waitlist requests to tripodi@design.upenn.edu.

Ceremony: Following the reception at 4:30pm, graduates will assemble in Meyerson Hall B1 at 5:30pm to line up for the school ceremony procession.  Academic regalia IS required for this event.  Your department coordinators will line you up in alphabetical order for the ceremony.  Dual degree students will line up in one group and will be recognized for their accomplishments in two programs.  Dana McElroy from the PennDesign Office of Student Services is responsible for lining up dual degree students for the ceremony.  Stand-alone certificate students will line up with their academic department.  The ceremony order is: Dual Degrees, Architecture, City and Regional Planning, Urban Spatial Analytics, Fine Arts, Historic Preservation and Landscape Architecture followed by our doctoral graduates.  Doctoral graduates are presented with their hood by their dissertation advisor. 

  • 4:30 - Reception for graduates and guests in Meyerson Hall Lower Gallery prior to the graduation ceremony
  • 5:30pm Graduates assemble in Meyerson Hall B1
  • 5:50pm Procession from Meyerson Hall to Furness Plaza
  • 6:00pm PennDesign graduation ceremony begins and will end at approximately 8:30pm
  • 8:30pm Reception following in Meyerson Hall Lower Gallery

Seating for guests with disabilities: There are two distinct processes for our guests with disabilities, one for the University ceremony in Franklin Field and one for the PennDesign ceremony.  Instructions for the University ceremony are online. For the PennDesign ceremony, please send your request to registrar@design.upenn.edu no later than May 1st.  Please include all relevant details in your email. We will provide a seat for your guest and three family members. Seating for your guests will be clearly marked in a designated area with your family name.  Please note that we are unable to provide wheelchairs for your guests.

International student guests: Students who are in need of a formal invitation letter for Commencement should request the letter through the iPenn system:  https://www.ipenn.oip.upenn.edu/.  Once you log in to iPenn, click the 'Student Services' menu on the left side of the page and select 'Invitation Letter Request'; fill out all of the necessary information on the request form and click 'Submit'.  An International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) representative will email you once the letter has been prepared and is ready for pick up.  If you have any questions about this process, please contact the ISSS office:  http://global.upenn.edu/isss.  Note: if you completed your degree program in the summer or fall of 2018, please contact registrar@design.upenn.edu directly for assistance.  ISSS will provide letters to current students only. Graduates must contact our office for assistance.

Commencement announcements: The University provides eight Commencement announcement cards and envelopes for each graduating student for mailing to family and friends.  Graduates can pick up their announcement cards in the PennDesign Office of Student Services in 110 Meyerson Hall from 9am-5pm beginning on March 25th.  If you are unable to come to campus and would like us to send your announcement cards by mail, please contact us by email at registrar@design.upenn.edu.

263rd University of Pennsylvania Commencement Ceremony:  The University will celebrate its 263rd Commencement ceremony on Monday, May 20th in Franklin Filed located at 33rd and Second Streets.

Academic regalia IS required for this event.  Tickets are not required and there is no limit to the number of guests per student who may attend.  The gates to the field open at 8:30am for guest seating.  Degree candidates will assemble in Hamilton Village (Superblock), 39th and Locust Walk no later than 8:45am.  For detailed information, including inclement weather procedures, please visit the University Commencement ceremony website: http://www.upenn.edu/commencement/.

Academic Regalia: Graduating students purchase and receive their Commencement regalia at the PennBookstore during the Graduation Fair (April 16th - 18th - at the Penn Bookstore).  If you miss(ed) the Graduation Fair, please call the PennBookstore at 215-898-7595 to order your regalia.  Hood colors vary by degree program:

  • Dark Blue: Ph.D. Architecture and Ph.D. City and Regional Planning
  • Golden Yellow: Master of Science in Architecture, Master of Science in Design and Master of Science in Historic Preservation
  • Brown: Master of Architecture, Master of City and Regional Planning, Master of Environmental Building Design, Master of Fine Arts, Master of Landscape Architecture, Master of Urban Spatial Analytics and Stand Alone certificates.

Spring 2019 Diploma and certificate distribution: Diplomas and certificates will NOT be distributed at the PennDesign graduation ceremony.  Diplomas are mailed by the University Secretary’s office in early to mid-July to the permanent address listed in PennInTouch, unless a different address is specified in the “Temporary Address Field,” effective from June 1 – July 15th.  International diplomas are sent via first-class mail and can take up to eight weeks for delivery.  International students who are planning to stay in the U.S. through July 15th should designate a temporary U.S. address in PennInTouch or contact the Diploma Coordinator to arrange for pick up, no later than June 1st.  Additional information is available on line at: http://www.upenn.edu/commencement/partic/diploma.html.

Spring 2019 certificates are distributed by PennDesign and will be available for pick up beginning May 27th.  Certificates that are not picked up by June 28th will be sent by mail.  Graduates are strongly encouraged to update their PennInTouch address information to ensure their diploma/certificate will be sent to the correct address. 

Official transcripts: Official transcripts can be requested electronically, by mail or in person through the University Registrar’s Office located at 3451 Walnut Street, Room 221 Franklin Building.  Official transcripts for spring 2019 graduates will be available beginning May 21st.  Graduates are strongly encouraged to review their official transcript online via PennInTouch to confirm that their graduation has been posted prior to ordering an official transcript.  PennDesign spring 2019 graduation will be posted May 18-20th.  If your graduation has not been posted, please contact the PennDesign Registrar (registrar@design.upenn.edu) directly for assistance.  Details on how to order and the cost of an official transcript are available online at: http://www.upenn.edu/registrar/student-services/transcripts.html.

Account Balance: Please note that graduates with an account balance with the University will have a hold placed on their record and will not receive their diploma/certificate and/or an official transcript until their balance and hold have been rectified.  Many charges, specifically printing related charges, are applied to your account after graduation.  As a result we strongly encourage that you review your account balance regularly and pay it in full no later than June 15th to ensure that there is no delay in receiving your diploma/certificate.

Design Email: Fall 2018 expected graduates, your PennDesign email account will expire on April 15th, 2019. Spring 2019 expected graduates, your PennDesign email account will expire on September 15, 2019, and messages sent to that address after that date will not be received. Please take this time to back up your emails, contacts, OneDrive data and other content, and to notify your contacts. You may also want to set an automatic reply to inform people of your email address change automatically.

Please see the following Tips & Tricks for instructions: https://www.design.upenn.edu/student-email.

Once your graduation is posted, you will have the option to set up a new, full-fledged Quaker Gmail account @alumni.upenn.edu through the Department of Alumni Relations.  Please note that PennDesign IT is not the administrator of Quaker Gmail accounts, so if you need assistance, please refer to the FAQ and contact info here: http://www.alumni.upenn.edu/quakergmail 

  • Instructions for activating this account: Go to http://www.alumni.upenn.edu/getgmail
  • You will need to log in using PennKey username and password, and fill out a short form.
  • Your first name and last name will be pre-populated. There is an empty field to select the email alias.
  • Once you click submit, you will be sent an automated email with the activation link to create your account.

On behalf of the PennDesign community, congratulations!  We are excited for you and look forward to celebrating your accomplishments.  As always, if you have any questions, concerns or require additional information regarding commencement, please do not hesitate to contact us (registrar@design.upenn.edu).