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Hooding 2021 Emails

Friday, April 9, 2021 | TGS PhD and MFA In-Person Hooding Ceremony on June 12

Dear 2019–20 and 2020–21 PhD and MFA graduates,
Based on the April 6 University announcement, The Graduate School plans to host an in-person PhD and MFA hooding ceremony on Saturday, June 12 at 2:00 PM in Ryan Fieldhouse following all University and public health guidelines.
Our records indicate you are eligible to participate in this in-person ceremony. Here is what we currently know and can share to help inform your decision on whether or not you wish to participate:

Ceremony Eligibility

Both 2019–20 and 2020–21 PhD and MFA graduates—Summer (September) 2019 through Spring (June) 2021—are invited to attend this combined hooding ceremony. 

  • For 2019–20 PhD and MFA graduates, this combined hooding ceremony will be in lieu of the Class of 2020 Graduation Celebration that will take place on Saturday, June 12 at 9:00 AM at Ryan Field.
  • Summer (September) 2021 graduates and beyond will be invited to participate in next year’s hooding ceremony in June 2022.

Partner School Participation

As in previous years, The Graduate School’s hooding ceremony is open to PhD and MFA graduates of TGS programs in the following schools and programs: 

  • Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences
  • Kellogg School of Management
  • School of Communication
  • Feinberg School of Medicine 
  • TGS Interdisciplinary Programs

All other PhD graduates, along with TGS master of arts (MA), master of science (MS), and master of public health (MPH) graduates, are included in the ceremonies of their home program schools.

COVID-19 Vaccinations

A COVID-19 vaccination is recommended but not required to participate in or attend the hooding ceremony. Disclosure of vaccination status is not required. 

  • Face masks will be required according to the public health guidelines in place at the time of the ceremony.
    • Graduates will receive a Northwestern purple face mask onsite to complement their regalia.
    • Face masks and hand sanitizer also will be available onsite for guests.
  • Social distancing will be enforced according to the public health guidelines in place at the time of the ceremony.
  • Tickets are required to enter the ceremony venue to ensure capacity limits are adhered to as part of our COVID-19 planning.

Hooding Experience

The hooding ceremony is a special recognition ceremony for PhD and MFA degree candidates during which a Northwestern graduate faculty member places the doctoral hood over the head of each graduate, signifying the graduate’s success in completing the graduate program and welcoming them to the academy of scholars. As of now, Risk Management has approved that physical hoodings may take place during the ceremony with face masks on.

Faculty Representation

One graduate faculty volunteer from each program will hood all graduates from that program to reduce the faculty presence required on stage and help ensure the safety of both faculty and graduates.

Guest Tickets

Each graduate will receive at least two guest tickets. The University is currently determining the exact number of tickets we can provide based on the latest public health guidelines and capacity restrictions for ticketed events. We will update you as soon as possible and provide a link to the ticketing website. Guests without tickets will not be permitted to enter the ceremony venue. 


The hooding ceremony will be live-streamed for those who are unable to attend in person. We will provide more details by early June.


Please note that regalia is required to participate in the hooding ceremony. The deadline to purchase regalia is Sunday, May 2

  • MFA graduates will purchase the master’s package, which includes a cap, gown, tassel with signet, and hood. 
  • PhD graduates will purchase the doctoral package, which includes a tam, gown, tassel with signet, and hood.
  • PhD graduates may purchase either the "keeper" gown doctoral package or the finer-quality academic regalia.
  • No additional accessories are required to participate in the hooding ceremony. (Note, the stole option is worn by bachelor’s degree recipients in lieu of a hood.)
  • The regalia is yours to keep upon purchase; there is not a regalia rental option this year.
  • Additional information about regalia may be found on our TGS website.

University Commencement

Northwestern's all-University commencement ceremony will take place virtually on Monday, June 14 at 11:00 AM CDT. Please visit the Commencement website for more information. 

All Summer (September) 2020, Fall (December) 2020, Winter (March) 2021, and Spring (June) 2021 TGS graduates will be recognized virtually in conjunction with this commencement ceremony regardless of whether you are able to attend the hooding ceremony in person on June 12. Please note that all Summer (September) 2019, Fall (December) 2019, Winter (March) 2020, and Spring (June) 2020 graduates were recognized virtually last year.

Intent to Participate Form

You will receive an Intent to Participate form the week of April 12. Once you receive this form, please complete the information requested no later than Friday, May 7 if you would like to participate in the hooding ceremony in person on June 12. Please note these decisions may be subject to change and are dependent on public health guidelines at the time of the ceremony.

Congratulations on reaching this milestone celebration in your academic journey! We will provide more information in the weeks ahead. If you have any immediate questions, please email me at
Best regards,
Victoria Williams
Events & Outreach Manager
The Graduate School
Northwestern University