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Graduation v. Commencement


What is the difference between Graduation and Commencement?

The Commencement ceremony is often referred to as “Graduation”.  But in reality there is a difference.The Commencement ceremony is just that, a ceremony.  It is an end of Spring semester celebration for students projected to successfully complete all of their graduation requirements by the end of that Spring or Summer semester.  Students completing all their requirements by the end of a Fall semester may also participate in the upcoming Spring ceremony.

You will not receive a Diploma at the commencement ceremony. Confirmation of degree completion will not take place until official grades are posted.  It is highly recommended that you meet with your Academic Advisor prior to your last semester in order to review your records and ensure all graduation requirements will be met. Students should also review their Academic Requirements Report via their Student Center in mycsusm  to verify completion of all requirements.

Graduation refers to the term in which you have officially and successfully completed all of your graduation requirements. You must apply for the term in which you plan to graduate through your Student Center in mycsusm.  Once grades are posted, your record will be evaluated and your diploma will be sent through the mail to your address on file (see Registrar’s website for processing timelines).

Students can graduate either at the end of the Fall, Spring, or Summer semesters.   There is only one Commencement ceremony that takes place each year, at the end of the Spring semester, to celebrate graduation from the previous Fall, Spring or upcoming Summer terms.

How to Apply for Graduation

To apply for graduation, log-in to your Student Center and locate the Apply for Graduation field and follow the prompts for the appropriate graduation term. Undergraduate students must have a minimum of 90 semester units before they can apply. Students must be fully classified in the major before applying for graduation (no pre-major status). Students must apply to graduate by the deadlines below.


Spring 2017 Deadline

Summer 2017 Deadline

Fall 2016 Deadline

Undergraduate Student (Bachelors)

March 15, 2017

March 15, 2017

November 1, 2016

Graduate Student (Masters)

March 15, 2017

March 15, 2017

November 1, 2016

Note: For undergraduate students who have not completed 90 units, your graduation application will be cancelled

Graduation Audit

Check your Academic Requirements Report (ARR) by logging-in to your Student Center. The ARR tracks the completion of ALL degree requirements. The report lists all courses completed at CSUSM, courses in-progress, as well as any transfer course or test credit completed off-campus which has been submitted. Undergraduate students must have a minimum of 120 total units to graduate. Check that all grades and/or incomplete grades from previous semesters are posted accurately and that all transfer work appears.

Please direct questions regarding commencement ceremonies to The Commencement Office can also be reached via telephone at 760.750.DONE (3663).