Winter Commencement


Special Announcement Regarding Winter Commencement 

It has become very clear in recent years that Pitt has the happy challenge of exceeding the capacity of The Petersen Events Center at its April commencement ceremonies. The University is committed to ensuring that commencement events celebrate the exceptional accomplishments of our students in robust and meaningful ways. For this reason, given that we have been reaching beyond capacity for our April commencement, during the Spring term of 2023 we decided to create an additional, and very special, December graduation ceremony. December 2023 will mark the first such ceremony and we look forward to celebrating our exceptional graduates, complete with confetti and "Sweet Caroline" as happens at our April commencement.

We notified graduating students of the plan for two ceremonies in January 2023. Our intent has been to direct graduating students to the ceremony closest to their graduation date. We invited students who graduated during the summer and in the fall semester to participate in our December commencement ceremony, as that timeframe most closely aligned to the completion of their degrees. 

It feels important that we can celebrate our students’ accomplishments in a timely way. April can be a long time to wait—and so a December option feels appropriate. It is also certainly true that, given the slightly smaller size of the December graduating class, it will be possible to provide more tickets to those celebrating with each graduate. 

Given that this is our first University-wide December celebration, we do recognize that flexibility would be valuable and so, for this year, students graduating in December who wish to walk instead in Pitt's April commencement are welcome to do so. Please reach out to Special Events at:

We are committed to celebrating each and every Pitt graduate—along with their families and friends—as they achieve their amazing and hard-won academic milestones.

-- Joe McCarthy, Interim Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor


The Winter Commencement will be held on December 17, 2023 beginning at 2 PM at the Petersen Events Center for those students who have earned or are earning a Bachelor’s, Master’s, or Doctoral degrees between May 2023 – December 2023.

PLEASE NOTE: There is no longer one university-wide commencement ceremony, but two identical university-wide commencement ceremonies moving forward. One will be held every winter (for undergraduate and graduate students who will graduate at any time between May – December) and one every spring (for undergraduate students who will graduate anytime between January – April).

Graduation is the completion of all degree requirements as recorded on the official transcript. To officially graduate, students must satisfy all degree program requirements.  All students must register to graduate by submitting an official online graduation application through

Applying for graduation is required regardless of your plans to attend Commencement.

Commencement is a ceremony celebrating students who have recently fulfilled or are about to complete all degree program requirements. Participation in Commencement does not ensure automatic graduation. Diplomas are not handed out at any Commencement ceremony.

All students who plan to attend the WINTER COMMENCEMENT CEREMONY must RSVP through their personal invitation to the ceremony, which was sent from the Office of Special Events on Monday, October 16. The deadline to RSVP for the ceremony is 5:00pm on Wednesday, December 6, 2023. No late registrations will be accepted after this date and time.

Who is invited to the university – wide Winter Commencement Ceremony?

  • The winter ceremony is open to only students who have earned or will be earning a Bachelor’s, Master’s, or Doctoral degree between May 2023 – December 2023. 
  • Invitations for the ceremony will be sent to the candidates Pitt email address in mid-October.

Will tickets be needed for the ceremony?

  • Yes. Each registered candidate will receive a minimum of (4) electronic tickets for guests via Ticketmaster. A final number of tickets each candidate will receive will be determined after the registration deadline on Wednesday, December 6, 2023.


Graduate Prep and Instructions

Information for graduates of all levels to help prepare prior to and the day of the witnter ceremony.

Guest Prep and Instructions

Information for family and friends to help assist with planning and logistics prior to and the day of the winter ceremony.

Professional Photo Session

Thursday, November 30, 9 am - 4 pm | WIliam Pitt Union Ballroom

This photo session is open to all undergraduate and graduate-level candidates.