To accommodate the increasing number of those wishing to attend Harvard University’s Commencement Exercises, the following guidelines are proposed to facilitate admission into Tercentenary Theatre:

  • Degree candidates will receive a limited number of tickets to Commencement (both Morning Exercises and Afternoon Program). Parents and guests of degree candidates must have tickets, which they will be required to present at the gates in order to enter Harvard Yard. Seating capacity is limited in Tercentenary Theatre. For details, visit the Commencement Office website.

Note: A ticket allows admission into Harvard Yard, but does not guarantee a seat. Seats are available on a first-come basis and cannot be reserved in advance. The sale of Commencement tickets is strictly prohibited. Gates will open promptly at 6:45 a.m. on Commencement Day.

  • Alumni may request a limited number of tickets on a first-come, first-served basis through the Harvard Alumni Association ( or by phone at 617.496.7001).
  • Additional viewing is available in the Science Center and at most of the undergraduate Houses and graduate and professional Schools. These locations provide seating and admission tickets are not required in most cases. The Morning Exercises and Afternoon Program may also be viewed via live web broadcast on Commencement Day through the webpage.

Commencement Day Schedule

Morning Exercises: The Morning Exercises begin following the academic procession into Tercentenary Theatre in Harvard Yard. After the meeting is called to order, the student orators deliver speeches. The president, provost, and deans will confer the degrees, and the meeting is adjourned following the benediction. The University Band and University Choir perform throughout the Exercises.

Diploma Granting Ceremonies and Luncheons: Students, parents, and alumni return to their undergraduate Houses, graduate and professional Schools, or reunion luncheons, or may purchase tickets for boxed lunches at the Alumni Spread in Harvard Yard. 

Afternoon Program: The Afternoon Program, which is the annual meeting of the Harvard Alumni Association, includes the Overseer and HAA director election results, presentation of the Harvard Medals, and remarks by Harvard President Drew Faust and the Commencement speaker.

The Harvard Commencement Office
The Harvard Alumni Association