Commencement for the academic year 2016-2017 will be held on Thursday, May 25, 2017. Class Day activities, including class photos, ceremony rehearsal, Class Day speaker, and a reception for graduates and their guests, will be held on Wednesday, May 24, 2017, with events open to guests beginning in the mid afternoon. Graduates may wish to have their guests plan to be in town for both dates.

This page will add more information regularly throughout the spring. If you have a question and don’t see the answer below, please contact Erica George, the GSD Commencement coordinator.



Graduates will each receive a very small number of tickets for Commencement Day events to distribute to their guests, for activities including the morning ceremony in Harvard Yard, the GSD diploma ceremony, and the afternoon address in Harvard Yard. Each graduate will receive two tickets for the morning ceremony, and three tickets for the GSD diploma ceremony. The number of tickets per graduate available for the afternoon address will be posted shortly.

Note that there will also be opportunities for guests without tickets to participate in activities, including Class Day events and live broadcasts of both the morning and diploma ceremonies to a GSD auditorium. There also will be standing room access to the GSD diploma ceremony available for guests without tickets as space permits.

Invitation Letters for International Guests

Some international guests may require tourist visas in order to enter the United States to attend Commencement. The GSD can provide an official letter of invitation which guests can use to support their visa applications. For these letters, please contact Erica George.

Please include this information in your emailed request: Student name; Student academic program; Student country of citizenship; Guest name; Guest’s relationship to student; Guest’s residential address; Guest’s country of citizenship.

Please note that an official letter of invitation from the GSD does not guarantee a guest a ticket to attend any specific graduation ceremonies.


Hotels and bed-and-breakfasts in the Cambridge area will become fully booked well in advance of Commencement. Because there are many other colleges and universities in the Greater Boston area with their own graduation festivities at the same time of year, it can become challenging to locate accommodations as the date gets closer. We recommend making reservations for guests as soon as possible. Check not only hotels right in Harvard Square (which may already be booked or have high prices due to the high deman) but also surrounding locations. Guests may want to consider hotels that are located on the MBTA public transit system, which opens up areas of Boston and other nearby communities. Harvard is easily accessible on the MBTA red line subway and by several major bus routes.