Frequently Asked Questions

Colloquy and Commencement 2020


Commencement is scheduled for late May. Why was the decision made to cancel Commencement?

Each academic year, we look forward to celebrating the hard work and accomplishments of our graduates with their families during Commencement, a ceremony with thousands of people in close proximity on our campus. Due to coronavirus COVID-19, Rensselaer enacted social distancing in accordance with the guidance of federal and state health authorities and in adherence to the University Pandemic Protocols. As a result, we are not having any events on campus until it is deemed safe to do so. Commencement 2020 has been modified to an online ceremony. While it was a difficult decision to make, we are certain it is the right decision.


Will the related commencement activities such as department events, Colloquy, the school ceremonies, and ROTC commissioning ceremonies take place?

Any in-person events such as status check, the Commencement picnic, Colloquy, school ceremonies, and other events will not take place. As plans for our online ceremony are finalized, details will be made available on the commencement website.


Will there be an in-person event later?

When the public health situation allows us to do so, we will come together in-person, to celebrate our graduates, and to express our pride in their successes, and our gratitude for the sacrifices they have made for our collective well-being. Details will be made available on the commencement website.


How do I know if I have met the requirements for graduation in Spring 2020?

After you apply for graduation, the Degree Clearance Officers and Registrar’s Office will review your record and mark you as “Preliminary Cleared” in SIS if you have met all the requirements on the basis of completed courses and in progress courses. Final degree clearance will be subject to your final Spring 2020 grades.


Who do I contact if I have questions about my graduation clearance?

Please contact your adviser who can confirm if you are on the right track. You can also contact your Degree Clearance Officer or the Registrar’s Office via email:


When will I know if I am graduating in Spring 2020?

The preliminary review will be complete by April 24, 2020. The final review is done a few days after grades are submitted.


Will diplomas be mailed?

Details regarding diploma distribution will be provided on the commencement website in the coming weeks.


How can families that already made travel plans for Commencement get a refund?

Due to the pandemic, a majority of airlines and hotels have relaxed their cancellation policies. Families that made travel plans will need to work with the airlines and hotels or their booking agent directly to cancel any planned travel. If a notice of commencement cancellation is needed in order to receive an airline or hotel refund, this notice may be used or contact


How can new graduates stay in touch with their class?

The Rensselaer Office of Alumni Relations will be in touch with graduates of the Class of 2020 and welcome them into the Rensselaer alumni and alumnae network.

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