Hooding Ceremony FAQs

Q: What is a Hooding Ceremony?

A: The Doctor of Philosophy and Master of Fine Arts Hooding Ceremony is a special recognition ceremony for PhD and MFA degree candidates during which a faculty member places the doctoral hood over the head of the graduate, signifying his or her success in completing the graduate program. The ceremony is similar to a graduation in that faculty and students are dressed in academic attire. The Hooding Ceremony is in addition to and does not replace the Commencement at Ryan Field.

Q: Who participates in the Hooding Ceremony?

A: The hooding ceremony will honor graduate students in WCAS, Kellogg, The School of Communication, Feinberg School of Medicine, and TGS Interdisciplinary Programs who are receiving the PhD or MFA degree in the 2015-2016 academic year (August 2016, December 2016, March 2017, June 2017).

Q: How do I participate in The Graduate School's (TGS) Hooding Ceremony?

A: Fill out an Intent to Participate Form, which is emailed to each eligible PhD and MFA student several weeks after they file for graduation. If you have filed but have not received the link to your Intent to Participate form, please email tgs@northwestern.edu immediately.

Q: Who is invited to attend?

A: This ceremony is a special honor for Doctoral and Master of Fine Arts degree recipients, who may invite their friends and family.

Q: Who performs the hooding?

A: Each doctoral candidate should invite a faculty member (or two) to perform the hooding. If your advisor is unavailable to hood you, you may ask another faculty member in your program or a TGS Associate Dean. The hooder(s) must be a Northwestern University faculty member from the student's program or a TGS administrator. It is the student’s responsibility to invite the hooder(s) to the ceremony before filling out the Intent to Participate Form.

Q: Where is the ceremony?

A: The Hooding Ceremony is held in Cahn Auditorium on the Evanston Campus of Northwestern University: 600 Emerson Street. See a map of hooding ceremony locations.

Q: When is the ceremony?

A: The 2017 ceremony will be held at 3 PM on Thursday, June 15.

Q: Are tickets required?

A: Yes. Tickets are required for guests. Children who will be sitting on a lap do not need a ticket, but children who will occupy a seat will require a ticket. Students being hooded may receive no more than 5 tickets for their guests. Tickets are not required for students who are being hooded or their hooding faculty. There is a remote viewing area in Hardin Hall for individuals unable to get tickets to the ceremony.

Q: May children attend the ceremony?

A: Yes, children are welcome to attend the ceremony. Children who will occupy a seat require a ticket. Children who will be sitting on a lap do not need a ticket. Please bear in mind that the ceremony is 1.5 - 2 hours long (depending on the number of degree recipients). For children who need a break from sitting in the auditorium, there is a lobby area with TVs that will broadcast the ceremony.

Children are not permitted to join the processional, recessional or a parent on stage when s/he receives a hood. We acknowledge the concessions made by family members in the years preceding this day, but we must consider the experience of all degree candidates and restrict children to the guest seating section. 

Q: How do I order regalia?

A: Please see the Regalia webpage.

Q: Where can I pick up my regalia and university commencement tickets?

A: Graduate students must order regalia before May 2016. When you pick up your regalia, please open it while you are still at Norris and make sure that all parts and pieces are included (robe, hood, cap, tassel), that the zipper works and that it fits.  

Q: Where and when can I pick up tickets for TGS’s Hooding Ceremony?

A: Tickets will be distributed via UniversityTickets. Students who have indicated that they will participate in the Hooding ceremony will receive a link to register for up to 5 tickets. If you have successfully completed your Intent to Participate form and have not received a link to register for tickets by April 20, 2017, please contact tgs@northwestern.edu immediately.

Q: Where will my guests and I be able to park on the day of the ceremony?

A: Parking regulations for Northwestern University parking lots are waived during commencement exercises. Students and guests may park in any non-restricted parking lot on campus. We suggest the decked parking lot on the lakefront (Lots 214 and 215 on the parking map). Visitors with handicapped license plates or placards from a government agency may park in designated handicapped spaces or at parking meters. 

Q: When should student and faculty participants arrive at the ceremony?

A: Students and faculty who are participating in the hooding ceremony should plan to arrive at Cahn Auditorium by 2:00 p.m. Students should proceed to the table marked “Student Check-In” at the corner of Emerson and Sheridan roads (in the lobby, in the event of rain). 

Q: When may my guests arrive for the hooding ceremony?

A: Guest seating will begin after 1:45 p.m. We expect a full house for the hooding ceremony, therefore, we ask that your guests not save any empty seats in their row.

There will be a secured area for strollers in the vestibule to the left of the main entrance, behind the ticket office. TGS staff will be available to guide you.

Ground floor seating will cease at 2:50 p.m., when the doors will close in preparation for the processional. Balcony seating will remain open, which is accessible by elevator.

Q: Will photographs be available?

A: Professional photographers will take photos as degree recipients are hooded and as they shake hands with the Dean. Details are available online and information will be mailed directly to graduates. 

We ask that all friends and family remain seated and not block the aisles while students are being hooded. This not only blocks the view of other guests, but is a fire hazard. There will be an opportunity for photos following the ceremony and during the reception.

Q: Where is the reception and who may attend?

A: There will be a reception in the tent on the South Quads following the ceremony (a map will be included here as the event date nears). All students, guests and hooders are invited (this includes any guests who were not able to obtain a ticket for the ceremony). Light refreshments will be served.

June weather in Chicago can be unpredictable. Please dress appropriately. Should there be severe storms on the day of the ceremony, the reception may be cancelled or moved to another location. 

Q: What is the correct way to hood a degree recipient?

A: TGS has prepared a guide for ceremony participants, including their path across the stage and instructions for faculty hooders. Download the diagram and instructions here.