Doctoral & Masters Candidates

Obtaining a masters or doctoral degree symbolizes a student's pursuit of mastery of knowledge, skills, and abilities in their field of study. 

Doctoral candidate LaTonya Dyer addresses the Commencement audience in December 2018.

Doctoral Candidates  

A doctoral degree demonstrates a special effort to develop academic talents and strengthen skills in research and clinical practice. Doctoral candidates are strongly encouraged to review the information below to ensure degree requirements are satisfied and to become familiar with the steps that will need to be taken to participate in commencement. 

Dissertation and Thesis Timelines

Doctoral candidates should review the timelines for completion of theses and dissertations. Please refer to the Thesis and Dissertation Guidelines for information about this process. A timetable for completion can be found in Appendix D of this document. 

applying for graduation and Participating in Commencement 

  • Doctoral students are to contact the Graduation Office early in the semester that they intend to graduate. This step is necessary to activate the graduation application.
  • In addition, all doctoral students must complete the Commencement Program Form and submit to the . On the form, doctoral students should indicate whether they plan to participate in the commencement ceremony and include the phonetic pronunciation of their name (see Phonetic Pronunciation Guide for instructions).
  • In mid-March (for Spring ceremonies) and mid-October (for Winter ceremonies), doctoral students will receive an email from MarchingOrder, the Commencement registration site, prompting students to submit a registration if they plan to participate in a ceremony. Refer to the Checklist for Degree Candidates for the deadline to register for a ceremony. 


In addition to communicating plans to participate in the commencement ceremonies, doctoral candidates will also need to purchase or rent a doctoral gown and tam. Please note that if you plan to purchase a custom doctoral gown, you must place your order 8 weeks prior to your ceremony. Refer to the Checklist for Degree Candidates for purchasing and rental deadlines. 

The appropriate doctoral hood will be provided to the student by the Office of Graduate Studies. 


Assuming the doctoral student has registered for Commencement by the deadline, the student will be eligible to receive 6 tickets for their ceremony. Please visit the Tickets page for instructions on accessing and printing tickets. 


A mandatory rehearsal will be held for doctoral candidates prior to their commencement ceremony. Students should meet Dr. Karen Eskow and their advisors in the Towson Center gymnasium 90 minutes prior to the ceremony start time. The Office of Graduate Studies will be reaching out to provide specific rehearsal information closer to the ceremonies. Doctoral candidates may also review the Commencement Ceremony Rehearsal for Doctoral Candidates and Thesis/Dissertation Chairpersons document as an additional resource.

FACULTY Advisor Resources

Faculty advisors play a critical role throughout a student's doctoral career and development. To symbolize this important relationship, the primary advisor will hood the doctoral candidate at commencement along with the Dean of Graduate Studies. 

Doctoral advisors are encouraged to review the Thesis and Dissertation Guidelines so they are aware of their students' coursework deadlines. 

A representative from the Office of Graduate Studies will be reaching out to faculty advisors periodically throughout the semester to request information needed for the commencement program and script. Faculty advisors who will be hooding students will also need to confirm their attendance at the ceremonies with the Office of Graduate Studies no later than April 1 for spring ceremonies and November 1 for winter ceremonies 

Masters Candidates

Completion of a master's degree symbolizes possession of advanced knowledge of a specialized body of applied and theoretical topics in a specific field of study or area of professional practice.


Masters candidates completing a dissertation or thesis should review the timelines for completion. Please refer to the Thesis and Dissertation Guidelines for information about this process. A timetable for completion can be found on page 41 in Appendix D. 

Graduate Checklist

Masters degree candidates should review the Degree Candidate Checklist for information and deadlines relating to applying for graduating and participating in commencement.