The graduation ceremonies in Thailand are much more ceremonial than in other countries. For governmental universities, the graduates are dressed in honorable gowns awaiting the King’s Representative (prince or princess) to hand over the diploma. In Thailand, the commencement ceremony is usually held months after the university is finished as the presence of the King’s Representative should be planned well in advance.
5 Steps before attending the commencement ceremony
- Registration of graduates.
- Checking the schedule/time/place of the commencement ceremony on the website or in the faculty.
- Rehearsal at the place arranged by the faculty. All graduates must attend all rehearsals. Otherwise, they will not be eligible to attend the commencement ceremony.
- Rehearsal at the graduation hall for all graduates. All graduates dress the way they will on the commencement ceremony (the requirements for uniform and appearance are very strict).
- Attending the commencement ceremony at the graduation hall.
Commencement Ceremony Regulations
- Male: Plain white long-sleeved shirt with a pin of university. Plain black leather shoes without metal or pattern.
- Female: White shirt with short sleeves (not too tight), sleeves must be not shorter than half of the upper arms. Pin of university on the left. Dark grey skirt (knee length & no slit). Pants are not allowed. Plain black leather belt with silver buckle with university logo. Skin tone stockings. Plain black leather shoes without metal or pattern.
- Cover with university academic gown with abbreviation of educational degree (bachelor, master or doctorate degree)
- Male: Hair should not cover the ears (hair should not touch the collar at the back). No ponytail, pointy or long hair style. Hair must be black only or natural color. Sideburns must be no longer than half of the ears.
- Female: Hair should not cover the face, should be tied at the back and covered or left hanging at the back. No ponytail or exposing head skin. If a ribbon is needed, a plain black one should be used — no metal or wooden stick or any decorations. Hair must be black only or natural color.
- Nails: Fingernails should be kept short and clean, must not be sharp. No nail polish.
- Eye glasses/contact lens: clear lenses with black frames should be used. No pattern. No big eyes contact lenses or colored lenses.
- Make up: No dark tone or colorful make up. No fake eyelashes.
- Bag, purse, mobile phone, tablet, key, coin, weapon, watch, ring, camera, food or any kind of snacks can’t be brought into the graduation hall.
- The university will not allow the graduates’ relative to enter the graduation hall. The relatives have to wait for the graduates at the provided places only.
Commencement Ceremony Session
-------------- Starts around 5.00 – 6.00 AM. --------------
The officers check the uniform, hairstyle and measure body temperature that shouldn’t be higher than 38 degrees while all graduates are lining up for registration. If graduates disobey the rules, they will not be able to participate in the ceremony
--------------9.00 AM --------------
King’s representative reaches the graduation hall and gives the royal address for congratulations.
All graduates have to walk to the stage to receive the diploma. Receiving the diploma from the hands of the King’s representative is very important. All graduates must pay respect correctly according to the royal tradition. Instructions are as follows:
- Male: Stand upright. Bow, face down with respectful eyesight. Bring yourself back to your original position.
- Female: Stand upright. Put either foot behind the other. Leave both arms at the sides. Lower yourself down into a curtsey. Keep your back straight and do not lean forward. Lower your head (Bend your head forward slightly, as if giving a respectful nod. Maintain this head position throughout the curtsey.) Bring yourself back to your original position.
After paying respect, graduates reach out their right hand with fingers close together to the middle of diploma and tightly take the diploma.
After receiving the diploma, all graduates must hold the diploma correctly and nicely by holding it at the chest level, keeping elbows close to their sides until seated. While standing up to say the oath or standing in front of the King’s representative, the diploma must be held at chest level at all times.
--------------12.00 PM --------------
End of ceremony. The graduates come out from the hall and enjoy taking pictures with their families and friends.
Cost of Graduation (Approximately)
From rehearsal to graduation ceremony, it’s a time for graduates to spend big on gifts, flowers, hair, make-up, clothes. They often book expensive pre-graduation photoshoots as well.
Usually everyone they known is invited to attend their ceremony and various graduation gifts such as bouquets of flowers, dolls and balloons are expected to be given to graduates.
- Pre-graduation photoshoots (group with friends): 1,000-1,500 baht/person
- Hair & Make up: 1,500-1,800 baht /day
- Graduation Outfit (uniform, gown & shoes): Approximately 1,500-2,000 baht for female, 2500-3,000 baht for male.
- Photographer: 3,000-4,000 baht per day, 1500-2000 baht for a half day
- After party: Depending (usually costs in the thousands)
- Gifts: Flower bouquet 250-500 baht, Doll: 100-300 baht