Preparing for Graduation: Graduates

How will I receive information regarding Graduation Events and Commencement?

You will receive information regarding graduation events Commencement through your DMU email. It is important to make sure you are regularly checking your inbox to make sure you receive this information. Comprehensive information will be available on both the DMU as well as in the emails sent to you from, and

Where can I purchase my cap and gown?

Regalia (i.e., your cap and gown) is rented and provided by the University to students before the ceremony. Please note that students may not keep their regalia; all pieces must be returned to the Registrar by the end of the Graduation Reception on the day of the graduation and Commencement ceremony.  A regalia return station will be set up in the reception area for easy return of your regalia as you depart the reception.

What does my graduation fee cover?

Our Academic Catalog states that “the Graduation Fee covers all aspects of the degree completion process and will be applied to all student accounts of degree candidates, regardless of participation in the Commencement ceremony,” (Graduation Requirements Policy). More specifically, the fee covers the cost such expenses as diplomas, diploma covers, academic regalia, invitations, printing costs, and similar. The Graduation Fee is a one time fee of $75. It is applied to every student’s account the last semester the student is enrolled prior to graduation, regardless of whether or not they attend the ceremony.

Participation in the University and/or school exercises is afforded at no additional cost to graduates and their guests.

Do my guests need tickets for the Mass and Commencement Ceremony?

You do not need tickets for your guests. Seating is first come, first served so make sure your guests arrive early for the best seats! All guests should be seated prior to the beginning of the processional at 11:30 A.M. 

Will there be a Mass and Commencement rehearsal?

Yes, there will be a rehearsal at 10:00 A.M on the day of graduation at the Cathedral of St. Thomas More. Please ensure that you arrive early and are ready for rehearsal to begin promptly at 10:00 a.m. Further, it is extremely important that you read all emails regarding graduation and Commencement to receive any and all updates.

When will I receive my diploma?  

If you are a December 2021, March 2022 or May 2022 graduate and you attend the ceremony, you will receive your diploma at Graduation. If you are not attending graduation, your diploma will be mailed to you in June. 

If you are an August or September graduate, your diploma will be mailed to you in September regardless of whether or not you attend the Graduation Ceremony. The Registrars’ office will send an email with the tracking number when your diploma has been placed in the mail. 

International students: please take note that there is significant delay in overseas mail. If we are unable to mail your diploma due to current mailing restrictions, we will notify you immediately. 

How do I RSVP?

All eligible graduates will be asked to submit an Application to Graduate. There is a section on the application that asks for your RSVP for the ceremony. The deadline to RSVP or change your RSVP is March 26th. Please contact the Registrar’s office with any questions regarding your RSVP. 

Day before Graduation: Graduates

Are there other events taking place that I should be aware of? 

Yes! On Friday, May 13th, all programs will host their own “Program Event” at Divine Mercy University. This will be a great opportunity to meet your cohort & professors to conclude the Program experience and to connect with fellow Grads as new alumni. More information will be shared in the coming weeks!

Day of Graduation: General

When is Commencement?

Divine Mercy University’s 2022 Commencement will be held at 11:30am Saturday, May 14th, 2022 at the Cathedral of St. Thomas More in Arlington, VA. The procession will begin promptly at 11:30 a.m. Guests should plan to arrive by 11:15 a.m.  Graduates should note that they must arrive and be ready for rehearsal by 10:00 a.m.

Who participates in the Commencement Ceremony?

Currently enrolled students who will receive degrees in May 2022, August 2022 or September 2022 are invited to participate in Commencement Exercises. Students not currently enrolled but who received their degrees earlier in the academic year (December 2021 or March 2022) are also invited to participate. It is recommended that those who graduated earlier in the year contact the Registrar’s Office about his/her participation in the May exercises. Graduates from the Psy.D. (Doctorate in Psychology), MSC (Masters in Counseling), and MSP (Masters in Psychology) and SDC (Spiritual Direction Program) will all be participating in this ceremony. All eligible graduates will receive an “Application to Graduate” from the Registrar’s Office informing them of their candidacy and formally inviting them to participate.   

Where can I find help the day of Commencement?

Look for the people wearing name tags that say “volunteer” for help at any point during the commencement activities.  You may also email with any questions prior to graduation day.

Can I bring my dog if it’s on a leash?

Except for service aids, pets are not allowed.

How can I order the professional pictures from graduation?

DMU contracts photographers to capture the whole ceremony, including pictures of each graduate receiving his/her diploma and hood. After graduation, the University will make all graduation and Commencement related pictures available for free to all DMU graduate through an external website. Graduates can access and download pictures from this website free of charge.

How long does the Commencement Ceremony last?

The length of the ceremony is approximately 1.5 hours, with Mass being about an 1.5 hours beforehand. Start to finish will be approximately 3 hours. 

Day of Graduation: Graduates

Where do I go on the morning of Commencement?

Please refer to the DMU website to find instructions on where you should be and when you should be at the designated location for the processional. It is important to arrive on time for rehearsal at 10 am and be in place for the processional prior to 11:15 am.

On which side of the cap does the tassel go?

Before graduating, tassels should be on your right. After graduating, tassels should be moved to your left.

What do I do during the actual graduation ceremony?

We will walk you through the whole ceremony during the graduation rehearsal. The most important thing for you to do is to be on time for the rehearsal with all your graduation materials (cap, gown, hood, etc.) all neatly pressed and ready for wear at 10:00 am.

Will I be recognized individually?

Each student will be recognized individually during her/his academic school’s diploma ceremony during the Commencement.

Will there be any refreshments? 

Graduates and guests should eat a hearty breakfast before arriving at the Cathedral. Small water bottles will be provided, as well as juice boxes for children. There will be no food served following the ceremony. 

Day of Graduation: Friends and Family

Can friends and family attend the Commencement Mass if they are not Roman Catholic?

Absolutely!  The ceremony is open to all graduates, and their friends and families. However, please note that only practicing Catholics in a state of grace should receive the Eucharist during the time of Communion at the Mass.

Will guests be able to take pictures during the ceremony?

Photography is allowed during the Commencement events. However, guests may not disrupt the Mass or ceremony or block the views of other guests.

What is the appropriate dress for the weekend’s events?

Family members and guests are encouraged to dress nicely and comfortably for the weekend, taking the weather conditions into account. Most guests tend to dress up more (what might be worn to a religious service, for example) for the Mass and the Commencement Exercises, but there is still a wide range of attire at those events. There are no formal expectations for what guests should wear during the weekend.

Can I view the Commencement Ceremony from somewhere other than the Cathedral? 

Yes. The main Commencement Ceremony will be broadcast via live stream on the DMU website. Students will be sent a link via their DMU email to share with family and friends in the days just prior to the Ceremony.  The link will also be available on DMU’s graduation website.

Travel and Parking

How can I find directions to Campus?

For directions to DMU’s new building in Sterling, click HERE. This link will direct you to DMU’s new building’s location on Google Maps. Simply enter your point of departure to receive directions to the school.

What are the parking options at the Cathedral? 

The Cathedral offers ample free parking to visitors. The Main parking lot can be accessed via Cathedral Lane or N. Glebe Road, which is on the northeast side of the Cathedral.  Handicapped parking is available at the front circle of the Cathedras parking lot. Additionally, there is an easement up to the front door of the Cathedral for those requiring easy access into the church. 

Do you have a list of recommended accommodations?

A courtesy block of rooms has been made at the Fairfield Inn and Suites in Sterling, VA (walking distance to the University). Please be sure to check out this option as you consider your housing arrangements for the weekend. Individuals can click the link below to make their reservation.

Click this link to make your reservation

What if I have additional questions?

Please contact us by emailing If your question is time sensitive, please call the University at (703) 416-1441 and ask to speak to someone in the Registrar’s Office.