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FAQ

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. Please see the first FAQ and/or visit www.csusm.edu/incident to read the official announcement.

 
  • Is Commencement 2020 cancelled?

    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 on the University response status and resources website: www.csusm.edu/incident

  • How do I get a diploma cover?

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

    In Spring 2020, a few graduates received their diploma cover at the Graduates on Parade Event. 

    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 can't get through to the phone lines. How can I get someone to answer my questions?

    Due to recent events our physical office is closed, and  phone lines are not monitored. We are currently working to ensure all services are available virtually and will post updates on our website and Instagram page (@csusmcougarcentral).

     If you have questions that are not answered on the website, you can reach us at commencement@csusm.edu .

    We will make every effort to get back to you in a timely fashion. Thank you for your cooperation during this difficult time.

  • 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.

  • Will GradFest Bundle Pricing be honored by Jostens or the Bookstore?

    Jostens will be honoring GradFest Bundling prices until April 30, 2020.
  • I am graduating next fall, 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 2021 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.

    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 in the Commencement program?

    Yes, if you are a Fall 19, Spring 20 or Summer 20 graduate and applied for graduation on time (Fall -November 1, Spring/Summer - March 15). 

    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 2020 grad walking spring 2020) your name will not be in the program. Your name will be in the Spring 2021 program.

  • 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 list.

  • How will my name be read at the ceremony?

    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" on your MyCSUSM account.  You will also include your email and contact information so the photographer can send you your photos from the event.
  • 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 year.  The Registrar is your main contact for all graduation, honors, and diploma inquiries.
  • What does it cost to participate in the Commencement ceremonies?

    The University does not charge students to participate in 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).
  • When is GradFest?

    GradFest originally scheduled for March 11 & 12, has been canclled. You may visit the GradFest website for details.
  • Do I need tickets and parking passes for my guests?

    No, all parking is complimentary at Commencement and 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.
  • Where can I purchase my cap and gown?

    Graduates may purchase their regalia through the University Bookstore website. The University Store is your contact for all regalia purchases, exchanges, and questions. 
  • Can I decorate my cap?

    Yes, but please make sure that all cap decorations remain flat; it cannot obstruct the view of the person sitting behind you.
  • What should I bring to Commencement?

    Your regalia (cap, gown, tassel, medallion).  A water bottle is highly recommended. You will be outdoors with no shade, we recommend you apply sunblock.  No bags will be permitted.
  • Where do I park?

    Graduates and their guests can park in lots C, X, Y, Z and F.  Please follow the direction of the parking attendants for the nearest parking available.  Handicap parking is available in lot B.  Please display a handicap placard if you or your guests require handicap parking.
  • When and where do I check-in at Commencement?

    Graduates will check-in at the softball field, one-hour prior to the start of your ceremony. 
  • What should I wear to Commencement?

    Your cap, gown, tassel, medallion, and comfortable clothing underneath.  Heels are not recommended.  Graduates will walk on grass, stairs, and uneven ground.
  • 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.
  • 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. 
  • If I am not attending Commencement, will my name still appear in the program?

    Yes, the names of all graduates who have applied to graduate by the given deadline (Fall -November 1, Spring/Summer - March 15) will be listed, even if they choose not to participate in the ceremony.
  • Can my guests take pictures at commencement?

    Yes, they are able to take pictures from the guest seating area only and the aisles must remain clear at all times.
  • If I am a double major and my majors are in 2 colleges, which ceremony do I walk in?

    You will walk with your primary major, whichever college that falls in.
  • Do you have wheelchairs available for guests?

    No, we are not able to provide wheelchairs for guests. All guests requiring wheelchair assistance will need to bring their own.  We will have wheelchair accessible seating available on a first-come, first-served basis under the tents and near the Lots Y and Z entrance, and under the tent near the main entrance of the venue.
  • What do I do if I arrive late to the 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.  
  • 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. 
  • Who is Eligible for Honors?

    Only undergraduate students are eligible for honors. Logistics are being determined on the distribution of honor cords. 

    • 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

    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.

  • 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 address you have in your MyCSUSM portal.  This process takes 8-12 weeks after final grades are posted.

For any additional questions, please contact the Commencement Office at commencement@csusm.edu