Frequently Asked Questions

If you plan to participate in the 2024 Commencement Ceremony, please respond to your commencement participant survey by Monday, February 26. If you did not receive a survey in your email but believe you meet the requirements to participate, or if you would like to update your participation status, please contact us as soon as possible.

Respond to your commencement participation survey as if you will meet your requirements, and we will adjust accordingly if you do not. We wish you all the best! You've got this!

Yes! We're so glad you asked!

December 1: We sent a Save-the-Date email to potential participants and supporters.

February 6: We emailed all potential participants (graduates and faculty) a link to a brief form. We ask that you reply by February 23 to let us know if you plan to participate in Commencement Weekend. Note: If you indicate that you do not plan to participate, we will not email you with further requests or details. If your plans change, please email and let us know!

February 28: We will email all M.Phil. and Ph.D. graduates who have indicated they plan to participate, to ask them to complete a regalia form. Ph.D. graduates will also be asked at that time who they would like to be their hooder. Ph.D. responses must be received by March 22 (so we can contact hooders), and M.Phil. responses must be received by April 2.

March 25–29: We will individually contact the hooders requested by Ph.D. graduates, to confirm their availability to participate. (Be sure to contact them before we do!)

March 29: We will email all hooders and participating faculty and ask them to complete a regalia request form. Responses must be received by April 9.

April 9: We will email official invitations. The RSVP form link will allow recipients to register themselves and their guest(s) for Commencement Weekend events.

June 7: Deadline to register for Commencement Weekend!

Everyone who has completed degree requirements since the last commencement is encouraged to participate!

This includes Ph.D. grads, of course, as well as students who entered directly into the M.Phil. program. It also includes students who entered the Ph.D. program, have passed their quals, and completed the M.Phil. requirements.

Completing any degree is an achievement, and Pardee RAND's commencement is designed to honor our M.Phil. graduates as well as our Ph.D. graduates.

If you have completed your M.Phil. requirements, whether or not you are continuing with the Ph.D. program, we encourage you to participate: request your regalia so you can walk in the ceremony, receive your M.Phil. degree, and celebrate!

Pardee RAND will rent regalia on your behalf if you need it, at no cost to you. This applies to all M.Phil. and Ph.D. graduates as well as to all faculty who will be participating in the Commencement processional.

We will send information about regalia rental to participating graduates on February 28 and need your reply by March 22 (Ph.D. grads) or April 2 (M.Phil. grads). We will email a similar form to participating faculty on March 29 and need your reply by April 9.

Most Ph.D. graduates choose to receive their hood from their dissertation chair, but you may choose any faculty to present your hood. A form will be emailed to you on February 28 which will have information about how to request a hooder. We need that form returned by March 22 so we can contact them and ensure they have time to request regalia if they need it. We encourage you to ask your preferred hooder in advance (before we contact them!) so they can make plans to attend.

Ph.D. Graduates may invite one guest to join them for the Friday evening Celebratory Dinner and up to six guests for the Commencement Ceremony.

M.Phil Graduates may invite one guest to join them for the Friday evening Celebratory Dinner and the Saturday Commencement Ceremony.

Teaching Faculty and Hooders (those who have been asked to hood a Ph.D. graduate) may invite one guest to join them for the Friday evening Celebratory Dinner and the Saturday Commencement Ceremony.

Alumni who plan to join us for Commencement Weekend may invite one guest to join them for the Friday evening Celebratory Dinner and the Saturday Commencement Ceremony.

Other Faculty may invite one guest to join them for the Saturday Commencement Ceremony.

If you have more (or fewer) guests to invite, you will be able to let us know when we send the official invitation in early April. We will do our best to accommodate your requests.

We welcome current students to attend the Commencement Ceremony, as space permits. That said, we do not currently anticipate any seating constraints, so we hope you can join us! We will send an invitation in mid-April once we have a better idea of how many people will attend.

In the past, most graduates have found it easiest to host their guests or find hotel or Airbnb accommodations near where they live. Santa Monica has plenty of hotels, but they can be pricey. We encourage you to plan ahead!

The safety of our students, guests and community members is paramount. The following items are prohibited to bring to RAND’s Commencement Ceremony:

  • Weapons: Firearms, knives, explosives, or any other dangerous weapons.
  • Alcohol and Drugs: Any kind of alcoholic beverages or illegal drugs.
  • Large Bags: Large bags or suitcases.
  • Noise-Making Devices: Air/bull horns, whistles, or any other noise-making devices.
  • Banners and Signs: Large banners, signs, or posters that can obstruct the view of others or which are mounted on a stick or other sharp object.
  • Drones: Any type of unmanned aerial vehicles or drones.
  • Umbrellas: Large umbrellas that can obstruct the view of others.
  • Laser Pointers: Any kind of laser pointers.
  • Inflatable Items: Inflatable balls, or other large inflatable items.
  • Any other items that can be deemed a threat to public safety.

The Pardee RAND Commencement Ceremony is intended to be a festive occasion celebrating the accomplishments of our students. It also is ceremonial, and all participants deserve a safe, orderly, and dignified ceremony. To ensure a positive experience for all attendees, we reserve the right to remove any individual from the ceremony and the premises who engages in unsafe or excessively disruptive behaviors. This includes, but is not limited to, the use of prohibited items or conduct that threatens harm to persons or property. Your cooperation in maintaining a safe and festive environment is greatly appreciated.

This preliminary schedule is based on the 2022 Commencement Weekend and is subject to change. To see the most up to date schedule of events please visit our event page.

Preliminary Schedule of Events

Thursday, June 20

2:00–4:00 p.m. Commencement Rehearsal
Location: RAND Courtyard
4:00–5:00 p.m. Graduate Happy Hour
Location: RAND Courtyard

Friday, June 21

5:00 p.m. Registration and Reception
6:00–8:00 p.m. Celebratory Dinner (Invitation-only) honoring our Distinguished Alumni Award recipients and our graduates
Location: Third-floor Patio

Saturday, June 22

7:00 a.m. Graduates and participating faculty arrive and get robed
Location: Forum
8:00 a.m. Guest registration begins
Location: First Floor Lobby
8:00 a.m. Graduate group photos
Location: 3rd Floor Courtyard
8:30 a.m. Graduates and faculty line up for Processional
Location: Circle Driveway
9:00 a.m. Commencement Ceremony begins, followed immediately by a reception
Location: RAND Courtyard