FAQs For Graduate Students

Participation Information

Who may participate?

The May 2024 ceremonies will recognize students who complete their degree requirements in December 2023, May 2024 or August 2024. 

Degree conferral and participation in Commencement ceremonies are different. To graduate, students must apply for their degree regardless of whether they plan to participate in the Graduate Commencement ceremony.

Students apply for their degree in myRedDragon and must have 18 credits earned to apply.  To be included in the Commencement program, please apply by March 1, 2024.

To view your degree conferral application status please complete the following steps:

  1. Login to myRedDragon
  2. Select the "Student" tab
  3. Select "Degree Conferral and Graduation” on the Registrar channel
  4. Choose the "Review Existing Applications" link


Students are encouraged to meet with their advisor to check their eligibility status.

How do I apply for my degree and indicate my intentions to participate in the ceremony?

Students should apply to graduate using myRedDragon by March 1 to have their name appear in the Commencement program.

Follow the instructions on the Graduate Student homepage.

I missed the filing deadline to register for Commencement. What should I do?

Applicants who file their completed Application for Graduation Master Degree and Certificate of Advanced Study form on Banner Web after March 1, must access myRedDragon, apply to graduate and proceed to The Campus Store to purchase Commencement items (or purchase online and then pick up at The Campus Store). Students who miss the March 1 deadline will not have their name appear in the Commencement program.

Ceremony Information

When and where is the ceremony held?

The Graduate Commencement ceremony will be held on Friday, May 10, 2024, at 7 p.m. in the Park Center Alumni Arena. The Arena doors will open at 6 p.m. for guests. No tickets are needed for guests.

Students should report at 6 p.m. to the Park Center Corey Gymnasium to check-in with their GradPass and assemble by program.

Is there a rehearsal for the Graduate Commencement ceremony?

No.  There is no rehearsal. Students should report at 6 p.m. to check-in for the ceremony. You will receive instructions on the hooding process while assembling by program. You can also view the hooding instructions prior to the ceremony. 

How long will the ceremony last?

The procession will begin promptly at 7 p.m. The length of the ceremony is approximately one hour and 15 minutes.

How will the degrees be conferred?

When lining up in Park Center Corey Gymnasium, each student will receive a 3" x 5" card with their first and last name. When the graduate reaches the base of the platform, they will hand the card to the reader, who will read their name.

If you have a name that might be difficult to pronounce, please write your name phonetically when you check in.

Two faculty members from your graduate program will hood you on the stage as part of the ceremony.

Graduates will receive instructions on the hooding process immediately prior to the ceremony. Graduates may also view the hooding instructions online.

Will faculty be in attendance?

Each department is encouraged to have as many faculty members participate as possible. In the past, approximately 50% have attended. You can invite faculty or staff members to attend the ceremony.

What should I wear under my cap and gown?

Commencement is a formal ceremony, so dress accordingly. The general rule is light weight, non-restricting clothes. Business professional or formal attire is recommended, which may include a dress or skirt, dress slacks, a button-down shirt, suit or a tie. Mortarboard (cap) tassels should be worn on the left side throughout the ceremony.

Students who cannot pick up their own Commencement order may send someone to The Campus Store with a letter authorizing that person to do so. The letter must contain the graduate's signature, Cortland ID number, and the person picking up the order must show a photo ID before the items are released.

Students unable to pick up their Commencement order prior to the ceremony should contact The Campus Store to place the order on hold. The Campus Store offers extended business hours to accommodate students who need to get their order the day of the ceremony. Please see The Campus Store hours listed below.

The Campus Store Hours

Monday: 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.
Tuesday: 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.
Wednesday: 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.
Thursday: 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.
Friday: 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.

Saturday: 11:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.

Contact The Campus Store

Phone: 607-753-4621
The Campus Store website

General FAQs


An ambulance will be stationed outside the Park Center Alumni Arena.

Emergency Exits

In case of an emergency, flag a marshal, Commencement usher or a university police officer and proceed to the nearest exit in an orderly manner.

Flowers and Commencement-Related Gifts

Flowers and Commencement-related items will be available for purchase from 8:30 a.m.- 8:30 p.m outside of the Corey Gymnasium. Flower arrangements include bouquets of half dozen and full dozen roses, as well as open presentation. A wide variety of Commencement related gifts including diploma frames will be available as well. The Campus Store, located in Neubig Hall, will also be open for additional purchases from 8 a.m.-7 p.m.

Guest Assistance

Faculty and staff marshals, Commencement ushers and university police officers are available at all times for assistance and information. Faculty and staff marshals will be wearing Commencement regalia, the Commencement ushers will be wearing volunteer t-shirts and university police officers will be in full uniform.

Students or guests with an accessibility request need to arrange their accommodations by filling out the online registration form. If you have any questions or concerns please contact the Campus Event Management Office at 607-753-5453 or email them regarding the undergraduate ceremony or the graduate ceremony.

Note: Please submit all requests for accommodations by May 2024 so that proper arrangements can be made.

Lost and Found

For lost and found items, contact the University Police Department, Whitaker Hall, Room 110607-753-2112.


Official Commencement programs will be distributed at the entrances to the Park Center Alumni Arena and in overflow viewing rooms. All eligible graduates who apply for their degree by March 1, 2024 will have their name listed in the program.


Restrooms are located throughout the Park Center Alumni Arena. 

Tobacco and Nicotine Policy

SUNY Cortland is a tobacco-free campus. Smoking is not permitted anywhere inside campus buildings or on campus grounds.


Emergency phones are located throughout the entire campus and are identified by blue lights above the phones. University Police are equipped for emergency communication as well. Guests are reminded to turn off all cell phones and any other electronic devices during the ceremony.