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Graduate Checklist

Commencement has been Postponed

We are saddened to share that the 2020 Cal State San Marcos commencement ceremony scheduled for May 15-16 will be postponed due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.   

This very difficult decision was made with the health and safety of our students, faculty, staff and guests at the forefront, and in consultation with public health experts and leadership from our 23-campus California State University system. 

We know how important Commencement is and we are committed to moving this important milestone to a date later this year when it is appropriate and safe to do so. It’s not a question of whether, but when. In addition, we are committed to consulting with ASI student leaders as we move forward with any plans.

We will share more information as soon as we can. We ask for your patience and understanding as we continue to find solutions during these unprecedented times. 

Updates regarding Commencement will be posted on this website along with our Instagram page (@csusmcougarcentral). Current graduates will also be informed via their CSUSM Email Account once a Commencement date has been determined.

You may read the official announcement by visiting the CSUSM Incident Response Status site.

Apply to Graduate

To apply for graduation, log-in to your Student Center in MyCSUSM, and locate the Apply for Graduation field and follow the prompts for the appropriate graduation term. Undergraduate students must have a minimum of 85 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.  If you do not apply by the deadline, your name will not be printed in the Commencement program.

 Degree Level Fall 2019 Deadline Spring 2020 Deadline Summer 2020 Deadline
Undergraduate Student (Bachelors) November 1, 2019 March 15, 2020 March 15, 2020
Graduate Student (Masters) November 1, 2019 March 15, 2020 March 15, 2020

Note: For undergraduate students who have not completed 85 units, your graduation application will be cancelled.

Let Us Know You'll Attend Your Ceremony

Applying to graduate this academic year will trigger a pop-up message asking if you plan to attend your Commencement ceremony.  You can reply "yes", "no", or "remind me later".  You can change your response at any time in your Communication Center.  All final responses must be submitted by May 1, 2020.  You will receive the Commencement Newsletter if you submit "yes" (newsletter is sent bi-monthly, March - May).

To review or edit your response:

  • Log-in to your Student Center in MyCSUSM
  • Open your Communication Center (on the right side of the screen)
  • Review the message titled "Commencement Ceremony"

The pop-up message has replaced the Participation Form.  This form is no longer available.

This pop-up is for those graduating this academic year only (Fall 2019, Spring 2020 and Summer 2020). If you do not see the pop-up message right away, log back in after 24 hours. The system may need to refresh.

Fall 2020 graduates - You will participate in the Spring 2021 ceremony, since you will be completing your degree in the 2020/21 academic year.  Keep in mind, your name will not be printed in the 2020 program and you will not be eligible to receive academic honors. We encourage you to participate in the 2021 ceremonies with your class.

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.

Verify Your Name and Mailing Address to Receive Your Diploma

It is your responsibility to verify in your Student Center that your primary name is spelled correctly and your mailing address is up-to-date; this is the name that will be printed on your diploma, and your diploma will be mailed to this address once your degree is awarded.

If you do not update your address and your diploma is mailed to your former mailing address, you will be held responsible for any re-processing and mailing fees.

Pay All Balances on your Student Accounts & Clear All Holds

Check your Student Center to see if you owe any fees to the University, including the library. Please make full payment before the end of the term. Email financial questions to  You will NOT receive your diploma until all balances are cleared.

Any holds placed on your student account must be cleared in order to receive your diploma. If you clear a hold after Commencement, it is YOUR responsibility to notify the Office of the Registrar to have your diploma printed and mailed.

Financial Aid - Complete Exit Loan Counseling

If students borrow federal student loans while attending CSUSM, federal regulations require Loan Exit Counseling to be completed upon graduation (or at the point of falling below half-time enrollment). Loan Exit Counseling may be completed at Failure to complete the Loan Exit Counseling will result in holds on CSUSM records which would prevent requesting transcripts, receiving diplomas, and other campus services. For additional information regarding the Loan Exit Counseling requirement, please contact the Financial Aid and Scholarships Office at (760) 750-4850.

GradFest 2020 - CANCELLED

March 11 & 12 | 10am-7pm

This event has been cancelled. Please visit the GradFest page for more information.

Graduates can take care of all their commencement needs in one place! Some of the items available for purchase at GradFest are caps and gowns, alumni apparel, diploma frames, class rings, and announcements. You will also be able to gather information from the Commencement Office, Career Center, Alumni Association, Student Philanthropy Fund, Graduation Day Flowers and have a free sitting for your cap and gown portrait.

Can't Make it to GradFest? No worries! You can visit the University Store to purchase your regalia and other graduation related items AFTER GradFest.  Can't make it to the store? Give them a call (760) 750-4730 to order over the phone and have your items shipped.  At this time, there is no online purchasing option.

Apply to be a Speaker/Vocalist

Interested students can apply to be the student speaker or student vocalist for their ceremony. Applications must be submitted on the commencement website. The deadline is TBD.  All applicants are required to audition in-person. Dates and times for auditions will be announced at a later date when the University is allowed to have in-person meetings. Speakers will be reading their prepared speech and vocalists will be singing the national anthem.

Attend a Commencement Information Session

All scheduled Commencement Information Sessions have been cancelled. Once the University is allowed to have in-person meetings, dates and times will be posted to the Commencement Website. Graduation candidates who plan to participate in the commencement ceremonies are strongly encouraged to attend one of the information sessions to learn about Commencement procedures and protocol. There is no rehearsal for Commencement.

Information Session Dates 

Pick-up Your Honor Cord if You Have Earned Academic Honors

Eligible undergraduate students ONLY will be notified via email by their college once logistics have been determined on the distribution of honor cords. The Commencement Office currently has no access to honor cords due to campus closure to non-essential workers.

Recognition of academic honors  is based on coursework completed the prior fall term. Grades recorded through the Fall 2019 semester will be calculated for the overall GPA and the CSUSM GPA. The lower of these two GPA's will determine academic honor recognition in the commencement program and the name cards. Honors designation is not official until all final grades are in and degree is conferred by the Registrar.

Academic Honors are:

  • Cum Laude: at least 3.5, but less than 3.7
  • Magna Cum Laude: at least 3.7, but less than 3.9
  • Summa Cum Laude: at least 3.9

Visit the Career Center

The mission of the Career Center is to empower students and alumni to design and manage their career paths with clarity, competence, and confidence. The Career Center provides services to ensure development of individuals with respect to unique personal, cultural and professional values. Career Center services include:

  • self-assessment instruments
  • resume & cover letter assistance/critiques
  • mock interviews
  • job search assistance
  • career counseling
  • job fairs & networking events
  • career workshops & info sessions
  • graduate school advising

All Career Center services are provided free of charge for 3 months after graduation for alumni. After the three-month period, alumni can continue to receive services through membership with the Alumni Association.

Complete Your CSUSM Exit Survey

In April, your CSUSM Exit Survey will be available to take at This short survey asks you about your plans after graduation. Your responses will be applied towards improving and implementing programs and initiatives that support students and alumni in their career development.

Graduates who complete their surveys by 11:59pm on Monday, June 1 will be mailed a free CSUSM Alumni lapel pin. Please make sure to enter your current mailing address when prompted on the survey.

 Contact the Office of Institutional Planning & Analysis at with any questions.

csusm exit survey

Join the CSUSM Alumni Association

Stay connected to Cal State San Marcos after graduation by becoming a member of the CSUSM Alumni Association! Get the exclusive Class Champion alumni membership package only available to the Class of 2020. This exclusive package is only available for purchase on line through April 20. It includes 2 years of Alumni Association membership, a gift to the Student Philanthropy Scholarship, a donor cord to wear at commencement, and an alumni branded reusable tote, t-shirt, license plate frame, and key chain. Class Champion membership costs $60.  Check out the Alumni Association website for learn more or email them at

Contribute to the Student Philanthropy Fund

The Student Philanthropy Council (SPC) is a student committee charged with building the culture of philanthropy among all CSUSM students who need scholarship assistance. A suggested giving amount is $20.20 in honor of the Class of 2020, but many students give $10, $15, $50, or more. To learn more, or to make your donation, visit the SPC website.  Purchase a Class Champion Alumni Membership and receive a special graduation cord to wear at commencement.  Visit for details.  

Pre-Order Your Floral Bouquets and Orchid Leis

If you want to cross the stage wearing an orchid lei, save time by pre-ordering at Graduates can pick up their order before the ceremony begins by the Graduate Check-in Tables.  Modern fresh flower arrangements and CSUSM branded Kukui Nut Necklaces are also available for purchase at various tent locations during commencement and can be given to your graduate after the ceremony.

2020 Commencement Postponed

The 2020 Commencement ceremonies, originally scheduled for May 15 and 16, will be postponed due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. 

Updates regarding Commencement will be posted on this website along with our Instagram page (@csusmcougarcentral). Current graduates will also be informed via their CSUSM Email Account once a Commencement date has been determined.

You may read the official announcement by visiting the CSUSM Incident Response Status site.

Commencement Schedule

Receive your Diploma

At the Commencement ceremony, you will only receive a diploma cover, not your actual diploma. Actual diplomas are mailed to graduates 6-8 weeks after final grades are posted and your degree has been conferred. Continue to check your CSUSM email for information regarding the mailing of your diploma or questions about your degree award. Additional information can be found at the diploma details page.