GS Class Day

Class Day is a special event that celebrates Columbia GS graduates.

Each degree candidate ascends the stage, is presented by the GS Dean of Students, and shakes hands with the Dean of the School of General Studies.

The ceremony also includes speeches by a keynote speaker—typically a GS alumna or alumnus—and graduate speakers, as well as the presentation of the GS Alumni Key Award and the CAA Campbell Award. Following the ceremony, a celebratory reception will be held.

Monday, May 15, 2023, 7:45 a.m.

South Lawn, Columbia University Morningside Heights Campus

Gates Open: 7 a.m.
Ceremony: 7:45 a.m.
Reception: To immediately follow the ceremony, rain or shine

Graduating students are welcome to extend invitations to guests, and there is no limit on guest admittance for GS Class Day or the following reception. Tickets are not required and all are welcome.

For any international travel by guests that may require a visa, please refer to the Guests section below for more information about receiving proof of a student's graduation for visa assistance.

Note: Columbia University is committed to protecting the health and safety of its community.

Highlighted Events and Deadlines

Graduation Fair

Event Dates and Times: March 7 - 9, 11 a.m. - 7 p.m.
Location: Columbia University Bookstore, Lerner Hall

Vendors will be available to help students with regalia, frames, rings, announcements, and jewelry.

More Information

Inviting Faculty to Class Day

Submission Deadline: Fri., April 7

Graduates are encouraged to invite up to five Columbia faculty members to attend the GS Class Day ceremony.

Submission Form

GS Graduation Kickoff and Dean's Toast

Event Date and Time: Tues., April 18, 2 - 4 p.m.
Location: 555 Lerner Hall

Graduating students are invited to join fellow seniors and start the countdown to graduation! At this event, get information from various GS and Columbia offices regarding graduation, enjoy snacks, refreshments, including a senior toast by Dean Rosen-Metsch, and meet with staff from the GS Office of Alumni Relations and the Center for Career Education.

Before the event, be sure to complete the required GS Graduation Survey.

Additional Important Dates and Information for Graduates and Guests

Academic regalia consists of a cap, gown (robe), and tassel. The tassel should hang to the right side until President Bollinger has conferred degrees during Commencement.

Purchasing a Cap and Gown

Deadline for Regalia Orders to be Shipped to an Address: Wed., April 12

In-Person Ordering and Pickup Deadline: Tues., May 16

Academic regalia is custom-designed in Columbia Blue. Gowns are not rentals; they are souvenirs for graduates. Caps and gowns are available for purchase at the Columbia University Bookstore.

Applying for Complimentary Regalia

Application Deadline: Wed., April 12

GS graduates in need of financial assistance may apply for complimentary academic regalia for GS Class Day and University Commencement. Students will be notified by Fri., April 14 if they are selected to receive complimentary regalia.

Our staff expect that GS will approve all graduates in financial need that apply for this resource. Students will then pick up their regalia at the Columbia Bookstore between Sat., April 15 and Sun., May 14.

Application Form

Additional questions may be directed to [email protected].


An article in the New York Times provides information about the history of academic regalia, including Columbia's role in the development of an American standard.


Time: 6:30 a.m.

Graduates who arrive late risk not being part of the ceremony. 

Location: Lerner Hall, Roone Arledge Auditorium

Academic Regalia: Graduates who wish to sit with their fellow graduates and be presented on stage at Class Day must wear the Columbia gown (cap optional). Graduates who wish to attend the ceremony without participating may sit in the audience seating area, without any regalia requirement.

Cords are distributed to those who earn specific honors. More information can be found on the Honor Cords page.

The School of General Studies is committed to providing a graduation experience that is accessible for all. If you have any questions, or would like to request accommodations for yourself and/or any guest(s) for GS Class Day, please email [email protected].

We also recommend that you register your request(s) with Disability Services at [email protected], as they will be able to assist with comprehensive accommodations for both GS Class Day and University Commencement.

For GS Class Day on Monday, May 15: Guests with mobility concerns are asked to enter through the College Walk gates at 116th Street and Amsterdam Avenue, where staff members from the Columbia Office of Disability Services will be available to escort guests to their seats in the accessible seating section.

Commencement Ceremony

More information on accommodations for the Commencement ceremony is available on the University Commencement website.

An official photographer will take students' pictures as they cross the stage. Students are not obligated to purchase these photos, but once they see the proofs, they may elect to order copies, or special items using their image such as plaques, etc.

Prior to Class Day, students should visit the Grad Images website to pre-register their email address, as well as the email addresses of up to six additional people. Once an account has been preregistered, Grad Images will email out a coupon code for 20% off an order of $50 or more.

If have any questions or concerns regarding your photos, please contact Grad Images' Customer Service Department at (800) 261-2576, online at, or email [email protected]. After Class Day, an email will be sent with a link to view and order prints.

Note: Photos will be mailed to the diploma address on file in SSOL.

May Graduates

Diplomas for May graduates are mailed within three weeks after Commencement to the Diploma Address listed in SSOL. Graduates are encouraged to confirm and, if needed, update their address within SSOL as soon as possible.

October and February Graduates

Diplomas for February and October grads will be mailed to the address on file in SSOL up to two months after the conferral date. Graduates are encouraged to confirm and, if needed, update their address within SSOL as soon as possible.

Financial Holds

Graduates who resolve financial or library holds preventing the release of their diplomas must proactively notify the Office of the University Registrar that their last hold has been removed. Those who do not notify the Registrar will not receive their diploma.

Senior Portraits

Graduating seniors are invited to have their senior portraits taken free of charge by Lors Photography. When scheduling your appointment on the website, please use your last name (as it appears in SSOL) as your user name and your UNI as your password.

If you do not have access to a computer or are having trouble logging in, you may call 908-964-0847 for assistance from customer service.

Schedule Appointment

Available Dates

  • Mon., March 20–Fri., March 24
  • Mon., April 3–Thurs., April 6
  • Mon., April 10–Fri., April 14
  • Mon., April 17–Fri., April 21

Location: Austin E. Quigley Black Box Theater, 5th Floor, Lerner Hall

  • Portraits will be taken in your business attire and cap & gown; academic attire will be provided
  • Please be prepared to provide the photographer with your major(s) at the time of your sitting
  • It is important that you arrive on time for your scheduled appointment
  • No walk-ins will be permitted
  • Don’t forget that you can use these portraits for your professional networking and job search sites!

Columbia University Yearbook

Order your copy of the 175th edition of The Columbian, the official yearbook for undergraduate students at Columbia University. This one-of-a-kind keepsake will last a lifetime and provides endless opportunities to cherish the memories of being a Columbia student.

From Columbia traditions, campus events, and class trips, to Commencement, Homecoming, sports, and life in New York City, The Columbian offers more than 200 full-color pages of memories, beautifully bound and celebrating the Columbia experience.

Pricing Information

  • First 100 students to order: $80
  • Next 100 students to order: $90
  • After first 200 students: $110

For more information, please contact [email protected].

Yearbook Orders and Congratulatory Ads

Congratulatory advertisements may be purchased to congratulate a graduating senior. To purchase an ad, please contact [email protected]. Requests should be placed as early as possible as space is limited.

Family and Friends

Tickets are not issued to attend GS Class Day. Graduates are welcome to invite as many guests as they like to the Class Day ceremony and reception.

International Guests

Guests living outside of the United States who need proof of a student's graduation in order to receive permission to visit may need an official letter confirming graduation status, which may be provided upon completing the Visa Letter Request Form. Please note that turnaround times vary by country and students are encouraged to submit this form as soon as possible.

Faculty and Administration

GS sends invitations to Arts & Sciences faculty members. Faculty are more likely to attend GS Class Day if they know a specific student is graduating and are personally invited by them. We strongly encourage students to submit our online form to invite faculty members who have served as their advisors and mentors.

Academic Procession

The academic procession of faculty and administration will assemble on the day of the ceremony. Academic regalia is required for faculty and administrators who participate in the academic procession and are seated on the stage.

Reserved Seating

Faculty and administrators are also welcome to attend the ceremony without participating in the academic procession and sit in the reserved seating area. Tickets will be provided to sit in this designated area. Registration is required and information will be provided soon.

Columbia University is committed to protecting the health and safety of its community. Effective May 11, 2023, graduates, visiting alumni, and guests attending Commencement activities on Columbia’s campuses are strongly recommended to follow CDC guidelines for COVID-19 vaccination and community guidance on indoor masking. Attendees will not be required to attest to, or show proof of, vaccination status or recent test results; however, they are encouraged to stay home if feeling unwell or testing positive for COVID-19.

Please visit Columbia University’s Hub for Emergency Preparedness for the latest health and safety policies as they are subject to change.