Updates on Commencement and 2021 Spring Semester

Oct. 21, 2020

Fall 2020 has certainly been a semester like no other, but you have forged ahead with care and understanding, following all the guidance to keep each other safe. Thank you for all of your efforts to fulfill our mission and keep our students on track to achieve their educational goals. 

We have updates to share about commencement and the spring schedule for our continuing students.  

2020 Commencement Ceremonies
Due to the continuing public health risks posed by large gatherings, we unfortunately will not be able to hold our traditional in-person commencement ceremony this December. Instead, we will hold virtual ceremonies for spring and winter 2020 graduates in December. 

We understand that this news is disappointing for our spring and winter graduates and their families. Commencement is the most important day in the life of a university and we were looking forward to celebrating in person with our graduates. It is a culmination of their years-long effort to reach an important milestone, an effort that we know has been made more challenging due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The manner in which we celebrate does not diminish this achievement nor its significance, and we will be cheering for our newest alumni, even from a distance.

Our commencement planning team is working hard to create a virtual experience that honors each of our graduates and captures the spirit and energy of our traditional ceremonies, scheduled as follows:

  • Spring 2020 virtual commencement: 10 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 15 
  • Winter 2020 virtual commencement: 4 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 15 

Further details on the ceremonies will go out at a later date.

Spring 2021
We are close to finalizing the course schedule for spring 2021. Students can begin searching the spring 2021 class schedule and adding classes to their enrollment shopping carts on Oct. 19. Registration for spring semester opens Nov. 2.

Given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we are again aiming for a mix of remote and in-person courses similar to that of the fall 2020 semester. 

Our colleges, schools and departments are working with faculty members and schedulers to tag sections as remote. We are working to avoid schedule changes after courses are posted. 

  • UNLV will continue to weigh risk mitigation, suitability for online instruction, and instructors’ expressed desires when determining the course delivery method for each section. 
  • If a class is remote and requires online attendance at specific times, faculty have been directed to ensure that times are listed on the schedule. 
  • Classes that are remote and do not require online attendance at specific times will not have a time listed. 
  • In-person courses will continue to have a maximum enrollment of 50 students. 

This plan for the spring 2021 class schedule assumes that public health conditions leading up to the semester will allow for in-person instruction. Conditions at the start of the term, or that suddenly arise during the semester, may force the university to shift to remote instruction for all courses.

We will continue to keep you informed as the spring semester nears. 

As we have emphasized before, the value of the education we provide has not been diminished by the challenging circumstances we have faced together with our students. We encourage you to continue to focus on our mission as we persevere through this crisis and we salute the courage and steadfastness you have shown thus far. 


Keith E. Whitfield, Ph.D.

Chris L. Heavey, Ph.D.
Interim Executive Vice President and Provost