Frequently Asked Questions

Find answers to your questions about Commencement 2020.

2020 Ceremony

  • What Commencement ceremonies are planned for the Class of 2020?

    In consultation with members of the Class of 2020 and state and city officials, the Office of Alumni Relations is planning an in-person ceremony to coincide with Homecoming Weekend in November 2021. The ceremony will take place on Saturday, November 13.

  • Who is Eligible?

    Students who graduated from a degree program in December 2019, May 2020, or August 2020 are eligible to participate in the Class of 2020 Commencement ceremony.

Ceremony Details

  • When and where are the ceremonies?

    Note: Due to overwhelming response by graduates from the Class of 2020, both the 10 am and 2 pm ceremonies are at full capacity.

    Saturday, November 13, 2021
    Morning ceremony at 10 am | Afternoon ceremony at 2 pm

    Matthews Arena
    238-262 St Botolph St., Boston, MA 02115

  • How long will the ceremonies last?

    Each ceremony will last approximately 2 hours and 15 minutes.

  • What time should the graduates and their guests arrive?

    Graduates should plan on arriving to the line up tents at Matthews Lot an hour and a half before their ceremony start time. Line-up for the 10 am ceremony begins at 8:30 am. Line-up for the 2 pm ceremony begins at 12:30 pm. Doors will open for guest access one hour prior to ceremony time.

  • Can I switch ceremonies?

    Due to each ceremony being at full capacity, we are unable to make any changes.

  • Will concessions be available inside Matthews Arena?

    No, concessions will not be open during the ceremonies. Please note that food and beverage is not allowed during the ceremonies.

  • Will the ceremonies be live-streamed?

    Yes! Each 2-hour ceremony will be live-streamed with closed captioning for friends and family who are unable to attend in person.

    Your guests can view the livestream of the Class of 2020 ceremonies through this link ( or on the Northeastern University Facebook account via a Facebook Live stream.

  • Will there be any additional viewing locations on campus?

    Blackman Auditorium will be showing the live-stream of both Commencement ceremonies. Admission is available on a first-come, first-served basis to family members and friends who are unable to attend the ceremony in person. Doors will open one hour before each ceremony. Per City of Boston and university guidelines, face coverings will be required, and no concessions are allowed at the venue. Large bags are prohibited, and small bags must be checked. Please review safety and security information below.

  • What accommodations are being made for guests with accessibility requirements?

    Closed Captioning will be provided during each ceremony for those with hearing impairments.

    Individuals with mobility issues may use the elevator located inside the main entrance. Wheelchair accessible seating is available in various locations inside Matthews Arena. An arena staff member can help guide you to those seats. Specific seating locations have been designated within Matthews Arena for wheelchair access only. Guests who use wheelchairs are to be accompanied by no more than one companion and will be directed to these areas by facility personnel. Availability is on a first-come, first-served basis.


  • Are graduates required to wear cap and gown?

    All students are required to wear the appropriate academic regalia to participate in Commencement exercises. We recommend business casual attire under your regalia. Comfortable shoes are recommended as graduates will be on their feet for an extended period during line-up and procession.

  • Will I receive an honors cord?

    Honor cords are given to undergraduate students who receive academic honors (cum laude, magna cum laude, summa cum laude). If you did not receive your honor cord, they will be made available to pick up when you check in at your registered ceremony.

  • What should guests wear?

    We recommend business casual attire for guests.

  • I forgot to order my cap & gown, help!

    The deadline for ordering cap & gown with enough time for processing and delivery has passed. We will have a limited number of extra cap & gown available for pickup in the line-up tent. While every attempt will be made to provide registered walk-in graduates with the regalia appropriate for their degree, sufficient inventory cannot be guaranteed.

Ticketing & Seating

  • Why am I only allowed two tickets? Can I get more?

    Due to overwhelming response and arena seating capacity, there is a limit of 2 per guest tickets per person. We are unable to offer additional tickets.

  • When and how will I receive my tickets?

    Your digital tickets will be sent to you and your guests via e-mail the week before the ceremonies. The graduate and each guest will have separate QR codes. If you indicated guests, you were required to provide an email for each guest. They will receive their QR code to the e-mail address provided. QR codes can be printed or shown electronically upon check-in.

  • Do children or babies need tickets?

    Children 2 years or younger who are able to sit on an adult’s lap for the duration of the ceremony do not need a ticket. Please note that strollers are prohibited. Children older than 2 years must have a ticket.

  • Are there reserved seats?

    There are no reserved seats for guests. Seating is general admission, so guests may sit wherever they’d like within the designated seating areas.

Safety & Security

  • What COVID-related safety protocols are in place?

    As part of our continuing commitment to the health and safety of the Northeastern community, Northeastern has updated its protocols to require full vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test for external visitors attending indoor events, in addition to wearing masks while indoors. This guidance applies across all of Northeastern’s North American campuses.

  • Is there a vaccination requirement?

    Yes. All external visitors 12 and older who attend campus indoor events, including indoor athletics events and single-day conferences, are required to present one of the following forms of documentation:

    Proof of Vaccination

    · Either the original vaccination card or printed or digital documentation providing proof of being fully immunized. Must be fully immunized at least 2 weeks from the event date (no later than October 31, 2021).

    · For those 18 and over, a matching photo identification card in the same name as the COVID-19 vaccination card (state issued driver’s license, state issued ID card, or passport).

    Negative COVID-19 Test

    · Either a printed or digital PDF of a negative COVID-19 test result within 72 hours prior to the guest’s campus arrival.

    · A negative PCR/molecular test or a negative rapid/antigen test administered by a healthcare professional that includes their name and the date of the test as proof. Self-administered at-home rapid/antigen tests will not be accepted.

  • Are face coverings required?

    Yes. All campus visitors are also expected to follow Northeastern’s face covering requirement. Face masks are required for all people on all of Northeastern’s North American campuses, and in all indoor public settings in the City of Boston, regardless of vaccination status.

  • Which vaccines are approved to attend the ceremonies?

    As we are following Northeastern’s policies based on CDC guidelines, WHO approved vaccines will be accepted.

  • What security protocols and processes are in place?

    All graduates, guests, university personnel and vendors entering the arena will be subject to a security search. Guest access by ticket only, general seating. No re-entry.

    All persons are required to pass through a metal detector. As part of the process, guests will be asked to remove metal objects on your person or clothing.

    All guests are subject to search, at the discretion of the security personnel, of their person and/or possessions, including bags which may be allowed entry after such search. Venue/or event personnel reserve the right to remove any object from persons if deemed inappropriate or unsafe.

    No storage or check in area is available for prohibited items. Confiscated items will be discarded.

  • What items are prohibited?

    The following items are prohibited (no exceptions):

    • Backpacks or bags larger than 12″x12″x12″
    • Handbags of acceptable size may be allowed entry after search
    • Umbrellas that do not collapse into 12 inches or less
    • Artificial noise makers
    • Balloons
    • Weapons
    • Laser pointers or similar items
    • Alcoholic beverages
    • Outside food/beverages
    • Strollers
    • Drones

    No storage/check area is available for prohibited items.

    Patrons may refuse to have their bag searched and WILL NOT BE PERMITTED ENTRY with the bag.

    Additional Note: garment bags carrying academic regalia may be allowed after search. RSIG Security will notify NUPD of illegal items, dangerous weapons, drugs, etc.

  • Are animals allowed in the venue?

    The only animals allowed into the ceremony are those serving as guide, signal or service animals to aid guests or graduates with disabilities. Guests escorted by service animals may not take up additional seats.

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