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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.

The University will continue to monitor county and state regulations. CSUSM plans to host in-person ceremonies, rain or shine,  on the Mangrum Track on May 22-23, 2021, to celebrate both the Class of 2020 and Class of 2021. Attendance and Participation will require advance regiatration and attendance will be very limited.  Due to space restrictions and health and safety guidelines, only two guest invitations may be extended per graduate. A livestream of the in-person ceremonies at Mangrum Track will be made available on the CSUSM website and the CSUSM app. 

Please continue to monitor this website for the most current details, protocols and safety measures regarding Commencement 2021. We will update the site regularly as state and local regulations continue to evolve.

We ask for your patience and understanding as we continue to find solutions that are compliant with local health orders during these unprecedented times. 

Spring 2020 Commencement Ceremonies

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COVID-19 Related News

The Ceremony

Please visit the Commencement Ceremony information webpage for more information.

  • Safety Protocols to be followed.

    • All in attendance will be required to wear facial coverings and maintain physical distancing, regardless of their vaccination status.
    • If graduates or their guests are feeling ill, experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, or have potentially been exposed to a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19, they are asked to not attend the in-person commencement ceremonies in the interest of the individual and community health.
    • Guest seating will be in pods of 2, 6 feet apart in designated seating areas on the track. Graduate seating will be 6 feet apart.
    • The state of California still actively discourages travel from out-of-state unless individuals first self-quarantine, or are otherwise fully vaccinated. It is important that all guests abide by both this and any of their local travel guidance before making plans.
    • CSUSM is a Smoke Free campus. Smoke, vapor, and tobacco-free means smoking, the use of tobacco products, and the use of electronic smoking devices are prohibited.
    • The possession, consumption or sale of alcoholic beverages on California State University San Marcos property is prohibited.
    Please visit the Commencement website for additional information:
  • Do I need a ticket to participate or attend Commencement?

    Graduates will be required to  have their GradPass scanned when entering the venue (electronic or printed). GradPasses will note the Graduate's assigned ceremony. Graduates will attend the ceremony that is assigned to them, each GradPass will only be valid for the ceremony in which you are assigned to.

    All guests will be required to have a ticket (electronic or printed), regardless of age. Guests must enter venue with their graduate. Guest tickets will only be valid for the ceremony noted on their ticket. 

    IDs will be check with the name on the GradPass and guest tickets and will be scanned by security at the venue entrance. Each GradPass and Guest Ticket will have a unique code/number.

    Tickets are non-transferable and holds no monetary value. Students may not sell their unused tickets. No additional tickets will be provided.

    Those without a valid GradPass or Guest Ticket (electronic or printed)  will not be permitted into the venue. 

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

    Hooding will not take place at the 2021 ceremonies to maintain social distancing.  Master graduates should arrive to the ceremony with their hood on. 


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

    When you register to attend your ceremony you will enter your name as it should be read.  
  • 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.
  • Do I have to be a part of the Commencement Video/Livestream?

    All graduates, guests, staff, and faculty who enter the venue during Commencement and participate in Commencement agree to be photographed and/or recorded on video.

    CSUSM reserves the right to use any photograph/video/audio taken at Discover CSUSM without the expressed written permission of those included within the photograph/video/audio clip. Photographs/videos/audio clips may be used (but not limited to) in publications, brochures, postcards, posters, newspapers, social media, television, websites, etc., for the purposes of promoting Commencement and the University.

    Live stream and video of the ceremony will not be edited or re-recorded for any reason.
    To ensure the privacy of individuals and children, images will not be identified using names or personal identifying information without written approval from the photographed subject, parent or legal guardian.
    A person attending Commencement or Graduates on Parade who does not wish to have their image captured for distribution should make their wishes known to the Commencement Office in writing of his/her intentions and include a photograph of oneself to reference to: The Commencement Office will use the photo for identification purposes and will hold it in confidence.
    By participating in Commencement or Graduates on Parade or by failing to notify the Commencement Office ( in writing, your desire to not have your photograph used, you are agreeing to release, defend, hold harmless and indemnify CSUSM from any and all claims involving the use of your picture or likeness.

    Thank you for your understanding and cooperation!

  • Can the Commencement or Parade Livestream Video be edited after the event and after it has been posted on the website?

    No edits or re-recording will be made.

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 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, eligible graduates will be emailed via their CSUSM account. 

  • 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?

    If you have questions regarding honors, please refer to 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. You may send the Commencement Office a mailing label via email to send you an honor cord. Mailing out cords will depend on staff availability in office. The Commencement Office does not mail out cords automatically if not picked up.

    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 their CSUSM email.account once logistics have been determined on the distribution of honor cords. 

    There will be a cord distribution event held on April 28 and 29.

    Recognition of academic honors  is based on coursework completed the prior fall t

    erm. 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


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

  • What is virtual GradFest?

    GradFest 2021 will be virtual.

    Our GradFest vendors will be available virtually on Microsoft Teams to help you shop for all of your graduation gear and accessories:

    • Cap & gown
    • Diploma frames
    • Graduation announcements
    • Kukui leis
    • College rings
    • Join the Alumni Association

    GradFest will be accesible through Microsoft Teams. Bundle pricing and contests will also be available during these days. Visit the GradFest website to learn more about Virtual GradFest 2021.

     Microsoft Teams Download and Guide

    Can't Make it to GradFest? No worries!  Visit the CSUSM University Bookstore 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 March 10th and 11th, 2021. GradFest will be virtual and you will need access to Microsoft Teams.

    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.

  • 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.

    In-person events are dependent on current state orders due to COVID-19. If there is a virtual ceremony, eligible graduates will be notified with the detailed information by the college.

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

    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, eligible graduates will be emailed via their CSUSM account. 

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

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Please visit the Commencement Ceremony information webpage for more information.

  • Are tickets required for guests?

    Yes. All guests must have a ticket to enter the venue, regardlesss of age - no exceptions. 

    This applies to all bodies entering the venue, including children of all ages.

    Tickets are non-transferable and holds no monetary value.

  • 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?

    General parking - Lots C, E, and F

    ADA parking - Lot B, Please display a handicap placard prior to entering campus if you require handicap parking

    Overflow - Lot X and Lot Y

    Ride share drop off - Lot Z

    Volunteers & Staff - Parking Structure

    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.

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

    Each graduate will receive 1 (one) printed copy of the Commencement program at their ceremony.

    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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