The anticipated detailed schedule for Class Day and Commencement is below.
Please note that many of these events are restricted to ticketed or pre-registered guests. (Information about ticketing is at the top of this page.)
Wednesday, May 24, Class Day:
- 10:00 am – 2:00 pm: Class photos and ceremony rehearsal for graduates, by department/program:
- 10:00 am: Architecture
- 10:45 am: Landscape Architecture
- 11:30 am: Urban Planning and Design
- 12:15 pm: MDes
- 12:45 pm: MDE, DDes
- 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm: Select GSD publications available for purchase in Druker Design Gallery (Gund Hall lobby)
- 3:30 pm: GSD Awards Ceremony and Class Day Address by Kimberly Dowdell; Gund Hall back yard tent (seating opens at 3:00)
- 5:00 pm: Reception for graduates and their guests; Gund Hall
Thursday, May 25, Commencement Day:
- 6:45 am: Harvard Yard gates open to ticketed guests
- Guests are requested to be seated by 8:15 am
- Guests should plan time to stand on line and to have all bags searched; view the Yard bag policy (scroll down)
- Strollers are not allowed into Tercentenary Theatre proper but are allowed in video-screen viewing location in Old Yard
- 7:00 am: Continental breakfast available at Gund Hall for graduates and guests
- 7:00 am: Graduates receive Harvard Yard credentials and line up for procession to morning ceremony
- 7:20 am: Graduates process to Harvard Yard
- 9:30 am: Commencement Morning Ceremony begins
- 11:00 am: Gund Hall back yard tent opens to ticketed guests for GSD Diploma Ceremony
- Note that all times after this are dependent on exact end time of Harvard Yard Commencement Morning Ceremony
- Approximately 12:15 pm: Commencement Morning Ceremony ends
- Approximately 12:30 pm: Gund Hall back yard opens to standing-room guests without tickets for GSD Diploma Ceremony
- Approximately 12:45pm: GSD Diploma Ceremony; Gund Hall back yard tent
- Approximately 2:30 pm: GSD lunch for graduates and guests (immediately follows GSD Diploma Ceremony); Gund Hall
If your guest(s) require a visa support letter in order to travel to Cambridge to participate in Commencement, please use our visa support letter request form. The GSD can provide an official letter to the US consulate in your guest’s home country, officially supporting the visa application.
You and your guests may also want to review the Harvard International Office page on inviting guests to visit the US for additional information that may be helpful in preparing for the visa application.
Please note that a visa support letter from the GSD is not an official letter of invitation, and it does not guarantee a guest a ticket to attend any specific ceremonies or events. The GSD cannot provide formal graduation announcement letters or invitations.
Harvard requires all graduates to wear official regalia (cap and gown) in order to participate in Commencement ceremonies. The firm deadline to order regalia was April 8, 2023. Graduates who did not order regalia in time should plan to go to the Harvard Coop when they open for regalia pick-up on May 18. The Coop generally has some extras available in May at a somewhat higher charge, but cannot guarantee your exact size, and regalia extras will be first come first served, so we recommend going early.
If you are no longer graduating or attending Commencement this year, regalia order cancellations will receive a full refund up until the day before Commencement (May 24).
One of the oldest traditions of the Morning Exercises of Commencement is the Orations Competition in which three students chosen by a panel of judges deliver an address from memory. Each year, one of these three students is a representative of one of Harvard’s graduate and professional schools.
A workshop for prospective orators was held on February 23, and the deadline to apply was March 30, 2023. Graduating students interested in applying to deliver the graduate student address will find information on the university Commencement website.
Affinity celebrations are student-led, staff supported events that recognize and celebrate the accomplishments of graduates from marginalized and underrepresented communities. These University-wide celebrations provide an opportunity for graduates to honor those who have helped them achieve their milestone while centering their cultural traditions and values.
Affinity celebrations are open to all Harvard graduates who pre-register to attend. The celebrations include keynote speakers, performances, and cultural celebrations and graduates receive a regalia accessory or commemorative gift created for their affinity group. The celebrations are generally held on the Monday and Tuesday of Commencement Week.
This year’s events will include:
- Affinity Celebration Honoring First Gen Next Gen Graduates
- Affinity Celebration Honoring Asian, Asian American, Pacific Islander, Desi-American Graduates
- Affinity Celebration Honoring Arab Graduates (hosted by the Harvard Arab Student Association)
- Affinity Celebration Honoring Black Graduates
- Lavender Celebration Honoring LGBTQ+ Graduates
- Affinity Celebration Honoring Latinx Graduates
- Affinity Celebration Honoring Indigenous Graduates (hosted by the Harvard University Native American Program)
- Affinity Celebration Honoring Persons with Disabilities
For more information including schedule details, and to register to participate as a graduating student, please see the university page on Affinity Graduation Ceremonies. This year’s deadline to register to participate as a graduating student was April 24, 2023.