Frequently Asked Questions, Including Ticket Information
Below are some of the questions that we anticipate Berklee College of Music students and families may have related to the May 2023 commencement celebration and ceremony.
Boston Conservatory at Berklee, Berklee Online, and Berklee Valencia students should refer to their respective websites for more information.
When and where is commencement 2023?
The May 2023 commencement concert is Friday, May 12, 2023, and the Berklee College of Music commencement ceremony is Saturday, May 13, 2023. Both the concert and ceremony will be held at the Agganis Arena at 925 Commonwealth Avenue in Boston.
How do I participate in commencement 2023?
If you are nearing the completion of your degree or diploma requirements (semester level six or above/level eight or above for double majors), you received an email in fall 2022 (please remember to check your spam folder regularly) inviting you to complete the 2023 Graduating Class Application and to indicate whether you will participate in the ceremony on May 13, 2023. The deadline to apply (fall 2022, spring 2023, or summer 2023) and indicate participation in the May 2023 ceremony was December 9, 2022. Please note that you are only permitted to participate in one commencement ceremony (virtual or in person) per degree or diploma earned. Approved participants began receiving information related to commencement in February.
How many people can I invite to commencement events?
If you applied and indicated participation in the May 2023 commencement ceremony, you will receive an email in or before late February with information about the number of available tickets, ticket distribution and the process to request additional tickets. Tickets are distributed free of charge. College students will receive three guest tickets and a ticket for themselves for the concert, and they will also receive four guest tickets for the ceremony (students do not need a ticket for the ceremony).
Will the concert or ceremony be livestreamed for those who can not attend?
For friends and family who are unable to attend the concert or ceremony, both events will be streamed live on the Berklee Vimeo platform.
How can I request an accessibility accommodation?
Students and guests, please complete this form if you need an accessibility accommodation at the concert or the ceremony.
Agganis Arena fully complies and exceeds all requirements as set forth in the Americans with Disabilities Act.
This additional Information may be helpful:
DROP-OFF LOCATION/MAIN LOBBY ENTRANCE The accessible drop-off location is located on the corner of Harry Agganis Way and Commonwealth Avenue. The main lobby entrance is accessible to guests with disabilities as are all arena entrances, hallways, and pathways.
PARKING Accessible parking spaces are available in all parking lots associated with the arena. A parking map (opens in a new window) is available for your assistance.
RESTROOMS All public restrooms are equipped with accessible sinks, stalls, and amenities. There are 15 public restrooms located throughout the arena. Nine public restrooms are located on the concourse level, four are located on the entry level, and two are located on the event level. All public restrooms are equipped with baby-changing stations and are accessible to guests in wheelchairs.
ELEVATORS Guests with disabilities receive preferential access to elevators during all arena events. The Agganis Arena has four passenger elevators: two in the southeast corner of the arena serving Lot A and one each in the southwest and northwest corners of the arena providing access from the arena lobby to the concourse level.
SERVICE DOGS that assist guests with disabilities are welcome in the arena. Service dogs must remain on a leash or in a harness at all times. Please use the form to let us know if you will be bringing a service dog to the arena with you.
What are the current COVID protocols for attending the commencement concert and/or ceremony?
There are no COVID-related protocols in place in the city of Boston at this time. Protocols are subject to change and can not be determined at this time.
How do I get my cap and gown? Can I wear a stole?
Caps and Gowns: When you applied and indicated participation in the May 2023 commencement ceremony, you selected a gown size. You will receive a cap, gown, hood, and tassel if you participate in the May ceremony; these items are provided to you at no charge. The February 28 email include details about picking up these items at the Berklee Bookstore May 1 through 5 (link for you to designate someone else to pick-up your cap and gown if you will not be in the Boston area before commencement was also in that email).
Students may decorate their mortarboard "cap." Only the flat top area of the cap may be decorated. Cap decorations that are motivated by animosity against a person or group because of race, color, religion, sexual orientation, gender, disability, or national origin or which infringe on the rights and freedoms of others or contain profanity will not be allowed.
Stoles: A graduation or academic stole is a decorative vestment worn by students over the commencement gown. Only Berklee recognized stoles may be worn to the commencement ceremony; no personal, individual stoles are allowed. Berklee distributes stoles as part of our Latinx, Lavender, and Jabulani commencement celebrations.
Cords: The College does not utilize academic cords or academic honors during the commencement ceremony.
Can I participate with my class if I haven't completed my requirements for graduation?
Berklee College of Music's commencement ceremony will celebrate students who are graduating during the fall 2022, spring 2023, and summer 2023 semesters. Students planning to complete all requirements and graduate in the summer 2023 semester must have 16 or fewer course credits remaining (13 credits for diploma students) by the spring 2023 add/drop deadline and no course sequences that would require future enrollment beyond the summer 2023 semester. Please note that you are only permitted to participate in one commencement ceremony (virtual or in-person) per degree or diploma earned. See the Requirements for Graduation and Applying to Graduate pages for more information.
How long is the commencement ceremony?
We anticipate that the ceremony will last approximately three to four hours.
Who are the honorary degree recipients?
Berklee College of Music will announce honorary degree recipients in April 2023.
How do I participate in the commencement concert?
If your 2023 application was received by the December deadline and approved by the Office of the Registrar, you received an email in February 2023 with detailed instructions—and a submittable application link—to formally apply to participate in the Berklee College of Music commencement concert. There will be opportunities for performers, arrangers, and track production assistants within the concert, which will pay tribute to the music of the honorees. The deadline to submit your application form(s) and supporting material is: Friday, March 3, 2023 at 11:59 p.m.
How do I apply to be the student commencement speaker?
To be considered, you must be eligible to participate in the May 2023 Berklee College of Music commencement ceremony. Check the graduation eligibility requirements and commencement participation information (page 64).
The Commencement Speaker Application (login required) will be available on February 28. You must attach a copy of your speech to the form. Your speech must not exceed five minutes in length. The student commencement speaker will be announced in April.
How can I get graduation announcements?
Personalized graduation announcements that can be sent to family and friends can be ordered online at Balfour.com.
Information for international students and families requesting invitation letters
International graduates residing outside the U.S. are welcome to attend the commencement ceremony. You will need to enter the U.S. in tourist status. Qualified citizens/nationals of participating Visa Waiver Program countries may apply for the ESTA; all other citizens/nationals will need to apply for a B-2 (tourist) visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate in their home country. It is not possible to issue an I-20 or F-1 visa for the purpose of participating in a commencement ceremony.
Berklee does not issue invitation letters. The U.S. Department of State has let us know that invitation letters from colleges and universities are not reviewed by immigration officers and do not affect the outcome of a visa application. We suggest that you bring the following documents with you to support your visa application and/or when you enter the U.S.:
- A printed copy of the email confirming your participation in the commencement ceremony. Make sure the email includes the date, time, and location of the ceremony.
- A copy of your transcript or diploma certificate. Request your transcript here.
Who can we contact if we have further questions?
For general questions about commencement, please complete this form (login required) or email email@example.com. For questions about graduation requirements, diplomas, transcripts, and how honors are determined, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.