Important information for Commencement 2021

Harvard University will again hold our Commencement celebrations virtually in 2021. The university, and the GSD, remain committed to holding in-person events for our 2020 and 2021 graduates in the future.

We will join together virtually to honor the class of 2021 and confer their hard-earned degrees on Thursday, May 27, 2021.

The GSD’s programs will be livestreamed on the school’s YouTube channel, with alternate streaming on Kaltura for those for whom YouTube is not accessible.

The GSD’s Class Day Address will be presented virtually by writer Jia Tolentino, a staff writer at the New Yorker and the author of the bestselling essay collection Trick Mirror, which has been translated into eleven languages. She was the recipient of a Whiting Award, a MacDowell Fellowship, and the 2020 Jeannette Haien Ballard Writer's Prize. She graduated from the University of Virginia, received her MFA in fiction from the University of Michigan, and lives in New York.

Schedule for Thursday, May 27

  • 10:30 am: Harvard University Virtual Awarding of Degrees
  • 12:30 pm: GSD Awards Ceremony
    Tune in early at 12:15 for a pre-show musical performance and slideshow
  • 1:10 pm: GSD Class Day Address by Jia Tolentino
  • 1:45 pm: GSD Diploma Ceremony
  • 3:30 pm: Department and program toasts to graduates begin
    • 3:30 pm: Architecture, Landscape Architecture, Urban Planning & Design
    • 4:00 pm: Design Studies, Design Engineering
    • 4:30 pm: Doctoral programs

All times EDT. Times for start of the Class Day Address and Diploma Ceremony are approximate.
Links for toasts to graduates events will be shared by email.

Important Links


The Harvard University and GSD YouTube broadcasts will be live-captioned in English. You can also directly access caption-only streams of the GSD broadcast in English and Spanish.


In addition to ceremonies and social events, the virtual Commencement Exhibition is another important part of our graduation celebrations, showcasing work by our graduating students. The Commencement 2021 Exhibit and the accompanying Thesis 2021 Exhibit are open on May 27.


If you have a question about GSD Commencement 2021, please contact

You may also wish to view the university-wide Commencement site.

What's Next?

Alumni engagement

After Commencement, graduates become part of the worldwide Harvard community of alumni. Alumni are encouraged to register to maintain their connections with classmates and professional contacts in the global network of alumni from all of Harvard's schools.

New alumni are also invited to join the 151st Annual Meeting of the Harvard Alumni Association, on June 4, 2021.

To learn more, see the GSD Alumni Resources page, and the Harvard Alumni Association website.

Resources for New Graduates

Library: The Frances Loeb Library Alumni Access page provides information for GSD alumni to access all Harvard libraries.  These resources include some exceptions to library return deadlines for 2021 graduates involved in ongoing research; check the page for the most up to date information. GSD graduates retain borrowing privileges at the Frances Loeb Library for one year at no cost, with the option to renew.

Health Insurance: Harvard Health Insurance expires on July 31, 2021 for May 2021 graduates. Please see the Harvard University Student Health Program frequently asked questions page for more information. Additionally, Harvard University Health Services provides information on securing alternative coverage with a different provider.

Harvard Email:  Your Harvard student email account will have a grace period of 230 days after your official graduation date before it is deactivated.

Systems & Software: Access to systems and applications that require VPN and HarvardKey verification, such as Adobe Creative Cloud, will end on May 28, 2021, the day after Commencement.  Limited Canvas access will continue through HarvardKey, but graduates will only be able to view courses they were enrolled in as a student. You may want to ensure you have materials you may need from Canvas or my.Harvard in advance of graduating.

Future Commencement Celebrations

If you are planning ahead for a future Harvard Commencement, these are the dates for the next several years. All Thursday dates are for Commencement Day itself, including the GSD's Diploma Ceremony. All Wednesday dates are for the GSD's Class Day activities.

2022: Wednesday, May 25 & Thursday, May 26
2023: Wednesday, May 24 & Thursday, May 25
2024: Wednesday, May 22 & Thursday, May 23
2025: Wednesday, May 28 & Thursday, May 29
2026: Wednesday, May 27 & Thursday, May 28

Note that in 2025 and 2026, Commencement occurs during the same week as the Memorial Day holiday.

Please also note that the in-person celebrations for the classes of 2020 and 2021 have not yet been scheduled. Graduates from those years will be notified as soon as those events are planned.