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FAQ

FAQ Page

Below you will find a list of Frequently Asked Questions that the Commencement Office receives. The questions are grouped into categories so that you can easily locate your question.


 If you do not find your question below, you may email the Commencement Office.

Please note: The Commencement Office phone line is not being monitored at this time due to the current campus closure.  Please send us an email with any questions that are not addressed on this page.
 

Spring 2020 Commencement Ceremonies

  • Is Commencement 2020 cancelled?

    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.

    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 on the CSUSM Incident Response Website.

  • Did the 2020 Graduates on Parade replace the 2020 Commmencement Ceremonies?

     No. A commencement ceremony will take place on a date to be determined when it is safe to do so.
  • Where do I find pictures taken from the 2020 Graduate Parade?

    The 2020 Graduates on Parade pictures, live-stream replay, and additional information can be found on 2020 CSUSM Graduates on Parade website .
  • I did not attend the Graduates on Parade event, how do I get a diploma cover?

    The Commencement Office Staff is considered non-essential staff. Due to campus closure for the Summer and Fall, non-essential staff are unable to go on campus nor schedule in-person meetings/pickups. Once all staff are allowed to return to campus, the Commencement Office will arrange for in-person pickups in a safe manner or distribute them at the rescheduled Commencement ceremony. Unfortunately we will be unable to mail out diploma covers.

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COVID-19 Related News


The Ceremony

Please visit the Commencement Ceremony information webpage for more information.

  • I am a Master's graduate, will I be hooded during Commencement?

     All Master's students are hooded off-stage by faculty. Master's students are hooded in groups of 3, which will be shown on the big screen.                                                                                 

    The Office of Communications tries their best to capture this moment for all Graduate Students and these pictures can be accessed from the Commencement Website.

     

  • How will my name be read as I walk across the stage?

    When you check-in to your ceremony, you will be given a pre-printed reader card with a bar code. The name that is pre-printed on your reader card will be pulled from the "Primary Name" noted in  your MyCSUSM account.  You will write in your email and phone number at check-in, so the photographer can send you your photos from the event.
  • Do you sell DVD copies of the ceremony?

    No, but the link to the entire ceremony will be posted on the Commencement website approximately two weeks after the ceremonies. 
  • How long is the ceremony?

    The ceremonies can be about 2-2.5 hours long. This estimation is based on previous years' ceremonies.

Contact the Commencement Office


Commencement Related Purchases


Apply to Graduate and Graduation

  • Graduation vs. Commencement

     Graduation and Commencement are two different terms.

    Commencement is the ceremony, an end-of-spring semester celebration for students projected to successfully complete all of their graduation requirements by the end of that academic year. Students completing all of their requirements by the end of a Fall semester may participate in the upcoming Spring ceremony. 

    Commencement is coordinated by the Commencement Office. There is only one Commencement ceremony that takes place at the end of the Spring semester each year to celebrtae graduation from the previous Fall, Spring, or upcoming Summer terms. 

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

    Graduation and diplomas are processed by the Office of the Registrar.

  • 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 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.

     Degree Level

    Fall 2020 Deadline

    Spring 2021 Deadline

    Summer 2021 Deadline

    Undergraduate Student (Bachelors)

    November 1, 2020

    March 15, 2021

    March 15, 2021

    Graduate Student (Masters)

    November 1, 2020

    March 15, 2021

    March 15, 2021

    For more information on how to apply to graduate, you may visit the Office of the Registrar's Website.

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

  • Graduation Audit

    The Office of the Registrar completes a degree audit for those that have applied to graduate after final grades have been submitted and finalized.

    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.

  • Am I on track to graduate?

     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 (ARR) via their Student Center in MyCSUSM to verify completion of all requirements. Please note that your ARR will show your status as "Applied for Graduation" until your degree has been conferred.

Diplomas, Degree Conferrals, and Latin Honors

The Office of the Registrar handles all inquiries regarding diplomas, degree conferrals and transcripts. You can email inquiries to the  Office of the Registrar .

  • How do I receive my diploma?

    1. Apply to graduate in MyCSUSM: You will receive a confirmation email from the Office of the Registrar that will remind you to review the Graduate Checklist, and verify your primary name, major, and mailing address are up to date in MyCSUSM.
    2. Your degree is conferred: Once your final term grades are posted, your academic record will be evaluated and if all requirements are met, your degree will be conferred (awarded). 
    3. Confirmation Email: Once your degree is conferred, you will receive a confirmation email from the Office of the Registrar. This email will remind you to double check that your mailing address and primary name is correct in MyCSUSM.
    4. Your diploma is mailed to you:  The Office of the Registrar will mail your diploma approximately 6-8 weeks after your degree is conferred to the address indicated on MyCSUSM in your Student Service Center. We recommend you log in to MyCSUSM and verify your mailing address is correct. Students will be responsible for any processing fees if the Primary Name and/or Mailing Address in the MyCSUSM account needs to be updated after diplomas have been processed and mailed to the graduate. 

    For more information about diplomas and graduation, visit the Office of the Registrar website or email the Office of the Registrar. Diplomas are not distributed at Commencement. Currently, the University has gone virtual with all services and phone lines are not monitored. 

  • When will I receive my diploma?

    Once your final grades are posted, the Office of the Registrar will process your diploma and mail to the mailing address noted in your MyCSUSM portal.  This process takes 8-12 weeks after final grades are posted. Diplomas are not distributed at Commencement

    Due to COVID-19 health orders and campus closures, please expect delays for receiving your diploma in the mail.

  • Is there a tracking number for my diploma?

    No. Diplomas are mailed out via USPS, First Class Mail.  

    If you require a faster courier that provides a tracking number, the Office of the Registrar offers  e-Ship Global . If a student chooses to utilize e-Ship Global, they will be responsible for the shipping cost. Please email the Office of the Registrar for more information.

  • Is there a faster courier for receiving my diploma and receive a tracking number?

    Yes. The Office of the Registrar uses e-Ship Global. Students who utlize this service, will be responsible for shipping costs. Please email the Office of the Registrar for more information.
  • How do I know if I am eligible for Latin Honors?

    • 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

    Academic honors recognition is based on undergraduate coursework completed the fall term before Commencement.

    Grades recorded through the fall semester will be calculated for the overall GPA and the institutional GPA.

    The lower of these two GPA's will be used to determine academic honor recognition in the commencement printed program and name cards.

    Honors designation is not official until all final grades, including spring term, are submitted to and conferred by the Registrar.

    GPAs are not rounded up.

    Due to mandatory stay-at-home orders by  local government and campus closure to non-essential staff, the Commencement Office is unable to access honor cords. Once we are able to safely meet in person and logistics have been determined on the distribution of honor cords, the Colleges will email/contact the current graduates that have earned their honor cord with the information.

  • How do I get a diploma cover?

    Typically diploma covers are handed out during the Spring Commencement Ceremonies.

    Spring 2020 graduates who attended the Graduates on Parade event received their diploma cover.
     
    The Commencement Office Staff is considered non-essential staff. Due to campus closure for the Summer and Fall, non-essential staff are unable to go on campus nor schedule in-person meetings/pickups. Once all staff are allowed to return to campus, the Commencement Office will arrange for in-person pickups in a safe manner or distribute them at the rescheduled Commencement ceremony. Unfortunately we will be unable to mail out diploma covers.
  • I applied to graduate but have not received confirmation.

    You will need to check the Communication Center in your MyCSUSM account. An email should confirm that your graduation application has been received.

    You may also check your ARR (in your MyCSUSM account) to verify that your status is "Applied to Graduate". Please note that this status only changes once your deree has been conferred. 

    You may contact your academic advisor, or faculty advisor, if you have any questions regarding your graduation status.

  • Who should I contact about academic honors?

    • Honors - Your college's deans office
    • GPA - The Office of the Registrar
    • The Commencement Office does not determine honors. We will not be able to answer your honors questions, we cannot access student records. 

    Please note, honors designation is not official until all final grades, including spring term, are submitted to and conferred by the Registrar.

  • How do I pick up an honor cord?

    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 2020 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

Events 

A list of important dates and events related to Commencement can be found on the Commencement Important Dates webpage.

  • What is GradFest?

    Grad Fest is your one-stop shop to get everything you need for Commencement. It is a two-day event. Please see the GradFest webpage for more information [link].

    Please note that GradFest 2021 will be dependent on current COVID-19 health orders put forth by local government and the University. Any news regarding GradFest 2021 will be communicated via your CSUSM email and posted to the GradFest 2021 website.

    All vendors, services, and prices are subject to change. Check back closer to the event date for current information.

  • When and where is GradFest?

    GradFest will be on Feb 24 and 25, 2021, 9AM-7PM in the USU Ballroom.

    Please note that GradFest 2021 will be dependent on current COVID-19 health orders put forth by local government and the University. Any news regarding GradFest 2021 will be communicated via your CSUSM email and posted to the GradFest 2021 website.

  • Do I have to pay for parking when attending GradFest?

    Yes, if you do not have a valid/current CSUSM parking permit.
  • When are the Student Information Sessions Held?

    Student Information Sessions are typically held towards the end of April, prior to Comencement. Student Information Session dates and times will be posted to the Commencement website once determined.
  • Are there other end-of-year recognition ceremonies I should be aware of?

    The Commencement Office only plans and coordinates GradFest and Commencement. Please contact the Dean's Office for your college to inquire about end-of-year recognition ceremonies. Each college plans and coordinates Latin Honors recognition ceremonies and this is by invite only. Students who qualify will be contacted by the college in April prior to Commencement.

    Contact the campus organization leaders that you are involved with to inquire about end-of-year recognition ceremonies.


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Graduates

Please visit the Commencement Ceremony information webpage and the Graduate Checklist for more information.

  • What do I need to do to participate in the Commencement ceremony?

    You will need to apply to graduate in MyCSUSM.  Once you do this, you will receive a pop-up message asking if you plan to participate in your ceremony.  You can review or change your response at anytime through May 1 by logging back in to MyCSUSM and visiting your Communication Center.

    Fall 2020 grads, if you wish to participate as an early grad, please note that your name will not be printed in the program. Your name will be in the 2021 program.  You will also not be eligible to be considered for academic honors.  We encourage you to participate in your ceremony next year.  If you choose to participate this year, you may sign up to receive the Commencement Newsletter for information from our office and follow the Graduate Checklist.

  • I am graduating Fall 2021, can I participate/walk early?

    If you wish to participate as an early grad, please note that your name will NOT be printed in the program. Your name will be in the Spring 2022 program.  You will also NOT be eligible to be considered for academic honors.  You will NOT receive your diploma until all program requirements are completed, grades are official, and your ARR is reviewed by the Office of the Registrar.

    The Spring Commencement Ceremonies are held for graduates of the current academic year. The Spring 2021 ceremonies will be celebrating Fall 2020, Spring 2021, and Summer 2021 graduates.

    We encourage you to participate in your ceremony next year.  If you choose to participate this year, you may sign up to receive the Commencement Newsletter for information from our office and follow the Graduate Checklist.

  • Will my name be printed in the 2021 Commencement Program?

    Yes, if you are a Fall '20, Spring '21 or Summer '21 graduate and applied for graduation on time (Fall -November 1, Spring/Summer - March 15). The 2021 Commencement Program recognizes graduates for the current academic year.

    If you applied for graduation after the deadline, your name will NOT appear in the program. 

    If you are walking early (ex: you are a Fall 2021 grad walking Spring 2021) your name will NOT be in the program. Your name will be in the Spring 2022 program.

  • How will my name appear in the Commencement Program?

    The primary name listed in your MyCSUSM account will appear in the Commencement Program. Please verify that the primary name in your MyCSUSM account is correct, including suffixes and Middle names. If you need to make a name change, you may complete the Name Change Form and submit the completed form and backup documents to the Office of the Regsitrar.

  • Am I on "the list"?

    If you applied to graduate, or signed up for the Commencement Newsletter, we know to expect you at the Commencement ceremonies.

    When you check-in, you receive a reader card to fill out and that is how your name is called when you cross the stage.  The readers do not read from a pre-printed list.

  • What is the difference between graduation and Commencement?

    Graduation is the term in which you have officially completed all of your graduation requirements.  Commencement is the ceremony held at the end of each academic year to celebrate your achievement of completing your degree program.

    The Office of the Registrar is your main contact for all graduation, honors, and diploma inquiries.]

  • In which ceremony do I walk if I am a double degree or double major student?

    If you are a double major, you must walk in the Commencement Ceremony for your primary major.

    If you are receiving a double degree, you need to choose under which degree you want to participate. 

  • Is there a rehearsal for the Commencement Ceremony?

    There is no rehearsal for Commencement, and we encourage all graduates who are participating in Commencement to attend a Student Information Session. Student Information Session dates and times will be posted on the Commencement website once they have been determined.
  • Regalia decorations

    Cap decorations must remain flat and cannot obstruct the view of the person sitting behind you, and must not contain any derogatory remarks or profanity.

    In order to preserve the dignity and importance of Commencement, gowns are to remain formal with no embellishments/decoration. Stoles purchased from the University Bookstore or issued by the program or campus organization is allowed.

    Students not following these guidelines may be pulled from the graduation line up.

  • What does it cost to participate in Commencement?

    There are no extra fees when placing your RSVP for Commencement.

    Bachelor students only have to purchase their Commencement regalia (cap, gown, tassel). Master students will have to purchase their Commencement regalia (cap, gown, tassel, hood).

  • What should I wear to Commencement?

    Your cap, gown, tassel, and hood (if applicable) along with comfortable, weather-appropriate clothing. Heels are not recommended since you may walk on grass, uneven ground, and walk up steep stairs.
  • What should I bring to Commencement?

    Your regalia (cap, gown, tassel, hood- if applicable).  A water bottle is highly recommended. You will be outdoors with no shade, we recommend you apply sunblock.  It is recommended to leave all bags at home or in your car since all bags are subject to be searched and there is no storage in the graduate seating area.
  • When and where do I check-in for Commencement?

    Graduates will check-in at the softball field, one-hour prior to the start of your ceremony. 
  • What if I arrive late to my Commencement Ceremony?

    If you are late to the ceremony, please check-in with a volunteer in a blue shirt at the field. You will have to sit in the back of the last row of graduates, which means your name will not be called with your major but with the major of those students in the last row.  
  • Can I sit with my friends at Commencement?

    All students are required to sit with their major, so yes; you can sit with your friends within your major.
  • Where do I park?

    Graduates can park in lots C, X, Y, Z and F.  Please follow the direction of the parking attendants for the nearest parking available.  There is no charge for parking during Commencement.

    For maps, please see the Ceremony webpage.

  • If I am unable to participate in my college’s ceremony, can I participate in another one?

    No, graduates must participate in the ceremony of their college. 

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Guests

Please visit the Commencement Ceremony information webpage for more information.

  • Are tickets required for guests?

    No, there are no tickets issued for this event.  Seating is on a first come, first served basis. We ask that in consideration of all graduates, please limit your guest count to a maximum of 10 people.
  • Is there a charge for parking?

    No, all parking is complimentary at Commencement.
  • Are guests allowed to take pictures?

    Yes, they are able to take pictures from the guest seating area only and the aisles must remain clear at all times.
  • Where is guest parking?

    Guests can park in lots C, X, Y, Z and F.  Please follow the direction of the parking attendants for the nearest parking available.  Special Accommodations parking is available in lot B.  Please display a handicap placard prior to entering campus if you or your guests require handicap parking.

    For maps, please see the Ceremony webpage.

  • Will the venue close if it reaches capacity?

    Yes, the venue will close when at capacity. Guests who are waiting in line to get bags searched will be warned when it is "Standing Room Only" and when we are about to reach capacity. Please arrive early and plan accordingly.

    When the venue reaches capacity, guests will be directed to the Alternate Viewing Area at the USU Ballroom. 

    Please see the Ceremony webpage for more information.

  • How can I get a Commencement Program or extra copies of the Commencement Program?

    Each "party" will receive 1 (one) printed copy of the Commencement Program, and each graduate will receive 1 (one) printed copy of the Commencement Program. For those that would like more than 1 (one) printed Commencement Program, please inquire with a Commencement Ambassador after the ceremony if there are extras or contact the Commencement Office 3 (three) days after the ceremony weekend. Please note that the Commencement Office does not mail out programs and requests will be for scheduled pick-up of programs.

    The Commencement Program will also be available electronically on the Commencement website.


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Special Accommodations / ADA

Special Accommodations


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Volunteers/Commencement Ambassadors/Faculty

Please visit the Commencement Ambassador page for additional information.


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