Undergraduate Commencement – Humanities and Social Sciences

A Message from President Satish K. Tripathi

Out of concern for the health and safety of our campus community, the University at Buffalo’s May 2020 commencement ceremonies will not take place as scheduled. Plans to reschedule graduation celebrations are currently being developed. We will update our graduates and our entire campus community as soon as possible.

While we know this is disappointing news to UB’s Class of 2020 as well their families, friends and our university community, this is a necessary decision given the unprecedented circumstances we face. As we look forward to celebrating our 2020 graduates in a manner befitting their accomplishments, I thank you for your continued patience and understanding.

Departments and Programs: Anthropology; Asian Studies; Classics; Communication; Communicative Disorders and Sciences; Economics; English; Geography; Global Gender and Sexuality Studies; History; Jewish Thought; Linguistics; Philosophy; Political Science; Psychology; Romance Languages and Literatures; Sociology; Special Studies; Transnational Studies 

Not sure which department or program you are in? Please contact us!

Event Schedule

Date: Sunday, May 17, 2020
Time: 3:00pm
Location: Alumni Arena

Coordinator: Anne Mecca
Contact: (716) 645-1391 or cas-commencement@buffalo.edu


Students wishing to participate in the commencement ceremony must register online. Please see Countdown to Commencement for the most up-to-date information on registering.


Participation Policy

This ceremony is for College of Arts and Sciences undergraduate students from the above departments and programs with degree conferral dates of September 2019, February 2020, and June 2020. Students must contact their advisers to ensure all degree requirements have been met.

If you have applied for a Summer 2020 graduation term, you are a candidate for September 2020 degree conferral, which is part of the next academic year. However, if you would prefer to participate in this year's ceremony instead, you may. By registering for this year's ceremony, your name will be announced. 

If you have applied for a graduation term later than Summer 2020, please join us for the Spring 2021 ceremony. 


THIS IS A TICKETED CEREMONY. All guests will need a ticket to enter the Alumni Arena. As you (graduating student) register for the ceremony, you will have an opportunity to reserve up to SIX guest tickets.

After registering for the ceremony, you will immediately receive a confirmation e-mail listing the date/time options for ticket pick-up. Students must pick up their tickets in advance of commencement weekend, during dates/times specified in the confirmation e-mail. A UB ID is required at time of pick-up.

Children under two years of age do not require a guest ticket unless they will be using a baby carrier or infant car seat carrier; the ticket is for the seat space that will be taken up by the carrier.

Unfortunately, we cannot guarantee additional tickets for this ceremony. Friends and family who do not have a ticket for the ceremony are invited to view the ceremony via live simulcast online. Please visit Countdown to Commencement for a link to the live-stream and for technical requirements.

Academic Apparel

The University Bookstore, located on the North Campus, will handle all academic apparel orders. For out-of-town orders, please call (716) 636-6290. Credit cards are accepted. 

Commencement Day Instructions

  • Remember to bring your cap, gown, hood and tassel with you.
  • Enter the Alumni Arena from Coventry Loop or Webster Road. Look for the door marked specifically for students, faculty and staff.
  • Report to the Edward Wright Practice Facility on the ground level of Alumni Arena no later than 1:30pm. Further instructions will be given at that time.

Commencement Photography

Grad Images is the contracted photography studio. Photography information will be included in an email notification to registered candidates in late April, and proofs will be mailed to each student about one week following the commencement ceremony. Please direct all post-ceremony inquiries to Grad Images. 

After commencement weekend, a video link will be posted online and you may watch a recording of the ceremony. 

Commencement Vendors

Recognition of Honors

Recognition of Latin Honors

Students earning baccalaureate degrees (including those awarded as part of combined degrees) are eligible to receive Latin honors based on their UB cumulative grade point average (GPA) on the following scale:

Average (based on 4.0=A)

  • 3.20 — cum laude
  • 3.50 — magna cum laude
  • 3.75 — summa cum laude

To receive the Latin honors designation in the printed commencement programs, and to be eligible to wear the honorific gold cord (cum laude, magna and summa) during these ceremonies, candidates for the June degree conferral date must:

  • Qualify based upon their UB cumulative GPA through the winter intersession of that year, and projected UB credit hours through the spring semester of that year; standings for Latin honors may change once final grades are posted or degrees conferred
  • Present a minimum of 60 credit hours of UB undergraduate coursework, at least 54 of which must be graded credits (i.e., not grades of 'P', 'S' or 'U')

This recognition is only intended for students who will have their degrees conferred in June, or have had their degrees conferred in the previous February or September.

The gold cords will be available for purchase ($12) at the University Bookstore on North Campus beginning TBD. Students must present UB ID at time of purchase.

Recognition of Other Honors

Candidates for graduation are also encouraged to wear on their robes any insignia, emblems or pins signifying membership in honorary societies or academic organizations, or special honors received for academic or extracurricular activities.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: I know my major but I'm not sure of my department. How can I find out what department I belong to?

A: To find your department, you can click your major on the Undergraduate and Graduate Degree Tracks page and it will take you to your department home page. If you're still not sure, please email cas-commencement@buffalo.edu.  

Q: I am a double major with one department at the morning ceremony and the other at the afternoon ceremony. Which ceremony should I attend?

A: Graduates with double majors may either attend either the morning or the afternoon ceremony or both ceremonies. If you are attending both, please note that you must register for each ceremony separately.

Q: Do my guests need tickets to attend the ceremony?

A: Yes. Tickets are required and each graduate is limited to six tickets.

Q: Where should my guests park?

A: There are many parking lots around the Alumni Arena; please see the UB North Campus Map for details. During commencement ceremonies, guests are welcome to park in faculty/staff and student parking lots; a UB hangtag is not required. The upper Baird and Slee Lots are designated as accessible parking for guests with disabilities who have an official tag. Please advise guests not to park in handicapped parking areas unless appropriate. For further information, please visit Directions and Parking

Q: Is the Alumni Arena handicapped accessible and/or is special handicapped seating provided?

A. Yes. It is important to have guests with special needs check in at the Guest Services desk inside the Coventry doors of the Alumni Arena so that the usher staff can assist with getting them properly seated. For further information on accessibility, including guidelines for therapy animals, please visit Accessibility for Guests.

Q: I am a participating candidate or faculty member with special needs (visually or physically impaired, etc.) What do I need to do?

A: Please notify the commencement contact person as early as possible to help facilitate the necessary arrangements.

Q: Are baby strollers permitted?

A: Baby strollers are not permitted in the Alumni Arena. Baby carriers and infant car seat carriers are only allowed if you have a ticket for the seat space that will be taken up by the carrier. Please note that guests with children who are talking, crying, or moving around in a manner that is distracting to other guests may be asked to step outside of the ceremony.

Q: How long is the ceremony?

A: Approximately two hours.

Q: Are all graduates announced during the ceremony?

A: Yes. Each candidate is announced as he/she crosses the stage.

Q: Are there any other activities happening on this day?

A: Many departments also schedule gatherings during the days leading up to and including commencement weekend. Please check directly with your department to see if any activities may be taking place in addition to your official commencement ceremony.

Q: When will I receive my diploma?

A: The Office of the Registrar will mail your diploma to your PERMANENT ADDRESS approximately six weeks after the conferral date. Please note that students are responsible for submitting any address changes.

If you have additional questions, please review the Countdown to Commencement or contact cas-commencement@buffalo.edu


Prohibited Items

Safety is our first priority. Students and guests will be greeted upon entry to the Arena by security personnel who will conduct a speedy inspection of all bags, purses, and containers. You may also be asked to unfasten any outerwear. Due to these new security measures, please arrive a few minutes early.

Please note and alert your guests that the following items are strictly prohibited on the premises:

  • Large bags
  • Backpacks
  • Weapons
  • Alcohol
  • Illicit drugs and/or related paraphernalia
  • Signs/sticks
  • Flags
  • Banners
  • Balloons
  • Umbrellas (except the small, collapsible kind)
  • Voice amplifiers
  • Noisemakers
  • Animals (except service animals)