COVID-19 and Convocation 2020-21 FAQs

This was a difficult decision that was made as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the directives from the federal and provincial governments regarding social distancing. It is clear that it would have been impossible to hold such large gatherings in person. This is a special time of year for the University community and this decision saddens us. Graduates will still receive their degrees, and parchments will be sent to them by courier.

This fall’s convocation will mark the fourth time U of T has hosted a virtual convocation since the outset of the pandemic and the widespread adoption of public health restrictions around in-person gatherings.

While the government lifted capacity limits in some event spaces, including restaurants, indoor sports facilities and gyms, casinos and indoor meeting and event spaces, the restrictions in place for non-instructional activities on university campuses have not been lifted. As such it was not possible to hold in-person convocation ceremonies.

The virtual event will have all the hallmarks of U of T convocations: to the sound of organ music, there will be a procession led by the bedel carrying U of T’s gold-plated mace. They will enter Convocation Hall beneath a recently restored oculus. President Meric Gertler will present the graduating students to Chancellor Rose Patten, who will confer the degrees. The names of all graduating students will scroll across the screen in alphabetical order by division with the degree they earned.

Yes. If you have completed all the academic requirements of your program and were expecting to graduate in November 2021, you will graduate.

Your registrar will have more information if you are unsure of your graduation status.

Parchments, the legal document embossed with the University seal and the graduate’s name and degree, will be couriered after the degrees have been conferred.

Your permanent address on ACORN will be the default shipping address. Please note that couriers cannot deliver to P.O. Boxes. You have until November 1 to update your permanent address in ACORN for the purpose of shipping your diploma.

Once the diploma has been shipped, you will receive an email from the courier via your UTOR account email with the consignment/tracking number. Your diploma delivery is insured against loss and damage. There will be special arrangements to confirm every recipient has received their diploma. Details are forthcoming but may included having the courier wait to visually confirm delivery if signatures cannot be obtained.

More details will follow from the Office of Convocation and posted on the Office of Convocation main page.

Please be sure to update ACORN with your permanent mailing address. You can refer to our Address Guide for helpful tips on ensuring your diploma will reach it's destination, whether in Canada or abroad.

To defer graduation means that you will not receive a diploma parchment. This option to defer is governed by your degree program and your faculty/school/college. Many degree programs do not have the option to defer graduation. Please check with your registrar’s office to understand your options.

Also, please note that deferring graduation could have implications if you are applying to graduate school or considering employment options. Please consult with an academic advisor or your registrar’s office.

Due to the extremely large size of our graduating classes and the space limitation of our venue (Convocation Hall), regrettably it is not possible for Fall 2021 graduates to attend a ceremony scheduled for graduates in 2022.

We appreciate that the cancellation of convocation will come as a huge disappointment to our graduating students, their families, friends, teachers and mentors. We take enormous pride in your accomplishments, and we want to give you the send-off you deserve. Please continue to consult this website for updates on alternative plans.

Families and guests should cancel any travel or accommodation plans for 2021 and until we know more about when it is safe to proceed with future visits to the University.

Convocation is the ceremony at which the Chancellor confers the degrees. A graduation ceremony can involve many of the elements of a Convocation ceremony except that it does not involve the conferral of the degrees (i.e., graduates will have already received their diplomas).

Diplomas will be couriered directly to you in the days/weeks following the virtual ceremony.

Diplomas shipped domestically (within Canada) will be sent first, followed by those to the US, and finally those being shipped internationally. For deliveries outside of Canada, please expect to receive your tracking information after November 29.

Diplomas are only available after you have graduated and your degree has been conferred. The virtual convocation will be when the degrees are conferred. Diplomas will not be sent before that time. If you need a letter confirming your eligibility to graduate or a letter of completion of requirements, please contact your Registrar or use the "Academics" section within ACORN and use the "Transcripts & Enrolment Confirmation" tab.

There is no charge for the initial shipping of 2021 graduates’ diplomas.

If your address was incorrect or the diploma could not be delivered, it will be returned to the Office of Convocation. Once returned, any subsequent requests to deliver the diploma will be at the graduate's cost.

If you submitted a signed delivery form with payment prior to leaving campus or Toronto, you will receive a refund. Refunds will be processed when the office re-opens. Thank you for your patience.

We look forward to welcoming you back on campus once it is safe to do so. Your Division/ Faculty/ College will be in contact with you directly regarding arrangements for your graduation celebration once those details are available. Please note that these celebrations will not happen before winter 2022.

Academic regalia will be worn at the divisional graduation celebrations to be held at a later date.

Graduates wishing to rent regalia for at-home celebrations or photographs can do so with Gaspard. Please visit the Gaspard website to rent or purchase regalia.

Please note that these rentals are optional and not a requirement for the virtual ceremony.

The virtual ceremony will be filmed in advance and broadcast on November 18, 2021 at 12:00 p.m. EST at It is not an interactive ceremony but it will have elements of a traditional convocation that will include the Chancellor, President, Chair of the Governing Council, a Speaker, the Mace and other ceremonial elements.

The virtual ceremony will be filmed in advance and broadcast on November 18 at 12:00 p.m. EST at

The video will be live captioned and have audio description. Other accessibility considerations are still to be confirmed but will be updated here as soon as possible

Alternative format information: For questions and feedback about the accessibility of our convocation video, including alternate-format requests, please email

The virtual ceremony is a celebration for the entire university community and serves as the legal requirement to confer degrees in absentia and begin the challenging task of couriering diplomas to graduates.

The date that will appear on your diploma will be the date of the virtual ceremony - November 18, 2021. This is the same date that will appear on your transcript.

You can order a transcript through ACORN. Similar to your diploma, the updated transcript will not be available until after your degree has been conferred. Refer to the Transcript Centre for more information.

New measures have been put in place to ensure the health and safety of the staff as they process thousands of diplomas and packages each day while maintaining strict hygiene measures and adhere to physical distancing guidelines. Personal protection equipment (masks and gloves) are also being used.

Similarly for the filming of the virtual ceremony, health and safety regulations regarding physical distancing and personal protection equipment have been followed. The safety and wellbeing of all involved is a top priority.

If your permanent address was missing a phone number: A phone number local to the deliver address is a required field for couriers. If your PERMANENT address is missing a phone number, your diploma will not be shipped in the first round of shipping. The next batch shipment will go out in mid-to-late July.

If your permanent address was incorrect: The courier company will call the number provided but if the diploma cannot be delivered, it must be returned to the Office of Convocation (with additional charges). We will contact you to correct the address, however any further attempts to courier the diploma will be at your expense.

It is imperative that you review your permanent address in ACORN and ensure it is correct and complete. For helpful tips, please refer to our Address Guide. If the Office of Convocation is required to re-ship your diploma, there will be additional charges directly incurred by you.

Yes, we will ship worldwide (at no charge to you). Please update your PERMENENT address in ACORN.

Please refer to our Address Guide for helpful tips with ensuring your address is correct and gets where it needs to go. It is imperative that you include a phone number local to the delivery address.

IMPORTANT: Please expect a delay in receiving your diploma if you are asking for it to be couriered to the United States or Internationally. Canadian shipments will be sent first, then US, and finally International. More information on this timeline will be posted in the coming months.

Graduates who would not like their name shown on the name-scroll of the Virtual Ceremony can submit a request form here. Please note that the removal of your name is a manual process, and while we take every measure to ensure your request is fulfilled, there is still a small margin of error based on the size of the graduating class. Your name will still appear in the Program Booklet that accompanies your diploma.

Updated Sep 13, 2021