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 2017-2087 academic year (August 2017, December 2017, March 2018, June 2018).

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. The Intent to Participate Form must be completed by May 31 in order to take part in the Hooding ceremony. Late submissions will not be considered.

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 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 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 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 2018 ceremony will be held at 3 PM on Thursday, June 21.

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 4 tickets for their guests. All tickets must be printed and physically present for admission into Cahn Auditorium. Mobile tickets will not be accepted for entrance. 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 obtain tickets for 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, we will be providing an overflow room at Hardin Hall that will have room for children to play and a video stream of 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. You must order regalia by May 18, 2018. If you are having financial difficulty and are unable to rent your cap and gown, please contact us at tgs@northwestern.edu.

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

A: Pick up your regalia at Norris University Center (you will receive messages about regalia pick up after you submit your order). Please open the packages 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. Please visit the Commencement ticket webpage for more information regarding  the ceremony on Ryan Field on Friday, June 16.

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

A: Students who have completed the Intent to Participate Form will receive an email with a link and promotion code to register for up to 4 tickets for our PhD and MFA Hooding Ceremony.

Q: How long will it take for me to receive my ticket reservation link after I submit the Intent to Participate Form?

Dates to be announced. 

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 PM. 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 PM. 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 PM, 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.