Frequently Asked Questions


This year we will hold a mandatory commencement rehearsal on Tuesday, May 21 from 10:00AM-1:00PM in the Great Hall. This rehearsal will cover all the pertinent information you need to know about commencement day, including lineup, processional and recessional. This is also where you will receive your cap and gown and commencement tickets. Additionally, there may be an opportunity for you to receive extra tickets beyond the 3-ticket limit, but you have to attend rehearsal to receive any extras that may exist. Please be in the Great Hall promptly at 10AM so we can move through things quickly and get you out early!

How do I order my cap and gown?
Orders are now closed. Those who placed orders can pick up their cap and gown at rehearsal.

How many guest tickets do I receive? Where do I get them?
Each student may have up to three guests. Student will be given tickets when they pick up their cap and gown. 

Will participants need to be tested for COVID-19?
The COVID-19 vaccine and vaccine booster mandate is no longer in effect. Visitors, including vendors and alumni, will no longer need to show proof of vaccination.

Can I have my chosen name rather than my legal name read in the Commencement ceremony? Yes. Email as soon as possible (at least two weeks prior to Commencment) to make this request.

Can I have my chosen name rather than my legal name printed on my diploma? Yes. Students who wish to have an alternate name printed on their diploma should contact the Office of the Registrar ( as soon as possible (at least a month prior to Commencement). Any first name used must be at least two letters and cannot include special characters or numbers, though exceptions for the character minimum can be made on a per-case basis. Note that your legal name must still appear on your transcript; this change will only apply to your diploma. 

International students should their legal name on their diploma to avoid issues with verification of their educational record. Domestic students who plan to live, study, or work outside the United States are also encouraged to use their legal name on their diploma.

When do I receive my diploma? Diplomas will be distributed in-person in the library following the ceremony from 1-3PM. Graduates not attending Commencement will receive their diplomas by mail based on the address in their student portal. Please ensure your address is correct. Please note that:

  1.  Your Cooper Union I.D. card is required to pick up your diploma.
  2.  You can only pick up your own diploma.
  3.  If your diploma is not available for pick up, it’s because you have an outstanding obligation to the school. Your diploma will be released once the obligation is resolved. 
  4. If you miss the diploma pick-up, please email The Cooper Union Registrar,, and provide an address to which the diploma can be mailed. This may take 2-3 weeks, so please be sure the address will be current for at least that long.  


When do the doors open for the ceremony?
The doors will open at approximately 10:00AM before the 10:30AM ceremony.

What if I or my guests need disability accommodation at the ceremony?                                Anyone needing accommodations due to a disability or medical condition should email with those details.

Will there be a commencement breakfast this year? No, but immediately following the ceremony there will be refreshments served in the park

Is the commencement ceremony webcast?
Yes, the ceremony will be streamed on Cooper Union's youtube channel.

How do I get to The Cooper Union?
You can find campus addresses and travel information here.

Where can I stay near The Cooper Union?
You can find a list of nearby accommodations here. Please note that graduation season is a very busy time for visitors to New York City. You are advised to reserve rooms as far in advance as possible.

Where can I park near The Cooper Union?
You can find a list of nearby parking here. Please note that graduation season is a very busy time for visitors to New York City. You are advised to reserve rooms as far in advance as possible.

How long is the Commencement ceremony?
The ceremony typically last 2.5 hours.

What happens if it rains?
The ceremony takes place rain or shine. There is currently scaffolding around the Foundation Building that offers protection from rain.

  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.