Ph.D. Graduation Party Ideas

Graduation is a time for celebrating with a party.

While most American Ph.D.s are completed in five years, students may spend seven or even 10 years working on their doctorates. These degrees, which can require academic writings of up to several hundred pages, are hard work and extremely difficult to successfully complete. Therefore, finishing one is cause for celebration! Compared to a high school or a college graduation, though, ideas for Ph.D. graduation parties can be harder to come up with. A little creative thinking ahead of time can help you plan the perfect theme for your Ph.D.'s graduation party.


After more than nine years in higher education, what better way to celebrate your relative or friend's achievement than by throwing an academia-themed graduation party? For this kind of party, books make a great decoration (especially old textbooks) and great party favors. There are plenty of books that focus on academia without being boring, which make great party favors. For example, A.S. Byatt's "Possession," which won the Booker Prize, can be a great present for your grad. Quizzes and trivia make exciting games for an academia party, and mortarboards and tassels work wonderfully for decorations.


With a Ph.D. under his belt, your grad is well on his way toward the career he's been working to achieve for years. Celebrate this by throwing a party themed around his chosen career. If he's been studying medical research, decorate with stethoscopes and give him boxed sets of "ER" or "Gray's Anatomy"; if he's been studying English, throw a British or American literary party. Think creatively, and the possibilities for a career-themed graduation party are endless.

Murder Mystery Party

A murder mystery party is an eternal favorite. Secretly designate one guest as a murderer, and give the other guests characters to play--one should be the detective. As the murderer "kills" guests throughout the evening, the others, especially the detective, should work to solve the mystery. This can be made even more academic by using a literary theme. For example, Agatha Christie wrote wonderful mysteries; one of your guests can be Miss Marple and solve the crime. Similarly, you can designate a guest as Sherlock Holmes and another as Watson to figure out whodunit.