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Preparing to Graduate

Often referred to as “Graduation”, the commencement ceremony is just that, a ceremony.  It is a celebration for students projected to successfully complete all of their graduation requirements by the end of that spring or summer semester,  held at the end of the academic year in May. 

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 celebrate graduation from the previous fall, spring or upcoming summer terms.

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 (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. For more information on obtaining your diploma, you may visit the Office of the Registrar's website.


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.  If you do not apply for the correct graduation term or you may run the risk of not receiving an enrollment date to register for classes. Once final grades are posted, your record will be evaluated and your diploma will be sent to you via USPS first class mail to the mailing address posted in your MyCSUSM (see Registrar’s website for processing timelines).

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

Students eligible to participate in the spring 2023 commencement ceremony are:

  • Those who have completed their degrees at the conclusion of the fall 2022 semester (prior to the spring commencement ceremony).
  • Those who expect to complete their degree requirements at the conclusion of the spring 2023 or summer 2023 semesters.


  • 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, but will appear in the digital version that is posted on the Commencement website.

    Degree Level Fall 2021 Deadline Spring 2022 Deadline Summer 2022 Deadline
    Undergraduate Student (Bachelors) November 1, 2022 March 15, 2023 March 15, 2023
    Graduate Student (Masters) November 1, 2022 March 15, 2023 March 15, 2023

    Note: For undergraduate students who have not completed 85 units, your graduation application will be cancelled., which may delay the period you receive your enrollment date.

    When you apply to graduate, this does not automatically register you for Commencement.  If you apply after the noted graduation application deadlines:

    • You may not be notified about commencement.
    • You may not receive a link to register for commencement.
    • Your name will not be printed in the commencement program.
    • You will need to notify the Commencement Office of your late graduation application submission.

    For more information on applying to graduate, you may visit the Office of the Registrar's website.

  • Register to Attend Your Ceremony

    All participating graduates must pre-register to attend their ceremony. An email with instructions has been sent to all eligible students.

    Graduates who do not pre-register to attend their ceremony by the April 22nd deadline (April 21st, 11:59 pm) may not be permitted to participate. All graduates will be responsible for reviewing their CSUSM emails (inbox and SPAM folders), the Commencement website and other communications regarding Commencement.

    Commencement Registration Deadline: April 21, 2023, 11:59 pm

    Questions regarding Commencement, please email the Commencement Office.

    Fall 2023 graduates - You will participate in the Spring 2024 ceremonies since you will be completing your degree within the 2023/24 academic year.  If you applied for spring 2023 graduation and will need to return in the fall, email as soon as possible.

  • 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. If there are any discrepancies on your ARR, please contact the Office of the Registrar as soon as possible.

    Your ARR will note "Applied for Graduation" under Graduation Status (once your graduation application has been submitted) and will not be updated until your degree has been conferred.

  • 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. Your primary name will also be your display name on the screen as you walk across the stage and the name that is printed in the Commencement Program.

    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. Name change requests made after March 15th may not reflect in the printed program  and/or digital program in time for commencement. 

    Name change requests made after diploma has been mailed out will incur an additional re-processing and mailing fee. For name changes or mailing address changes, please follow the instructions noted on the Office of the Registrar's website and complete any changes by March 15 (for commencement program) and June 1 (for diploma).

  • Pay All Balances on your Student Account and Clear All Holds

    Check your Student Center to see if you owe any fees to the University, including parking and library fines. Please make the full payment before the end of the term. Email financial questions to Student Financial Services

    You will NOT receive your diploma until all balances are cleared. Visit the Office of the Registrar's website to learn more about holds and the Student Financial Services website on how to make a payment.

    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 you borrowed federal student loans while attending CSUSM, you must complete Exit Loan Counseling. You will need to log into the U.S. Department of Education Website, Office of Federal Student Aid.

    Exit counseling provides important information to prepare you to repay your federal student loan(s).

    If you have received a subsidized, unsubsidized or PLUS loan under the Direct Loan Program or the FFEL Program, you must complete exit counseling each time you:

    • Drop below half-time enrollment
    • Graduate
    • Leave school

    The Exit Loan Counseling takes about 20-30 minutes. You will need the following in order to proceed with the Exit Loan Counseling:

    •  Verified FSA ID
    • Details on your income, financial aid, and living expenses
    • Names, addresses, e-mail addresses and phone numbers

    For additional information regarding the Exit Loan Counseling, please contact the Financial Aid and Scholarships Office at (760) 750-4850 or email the The Financial Aid Office.

  • Attend GradFest

    GradFest 2023 will be held February 28 and March 1 in the USU Ballroom!

    This is your first opportunity to shop for all of your graduation gear and accessories, including:

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

    Special GradFest Bundle Pricing may be available during GradFest only. 

    Can't Make it to GradFest? No worries! Visit the CSUSM University Bookstore website or in-person after the event dates.

  • 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 6 months after graduation for alumni. After the six-month period, alumni can continue to receive services through membership with the Alumni Association.

    For more information, please visit the Career Center Website.

  • Complete your CSUSM Exit Survey

    On May 3, 2023, your CSUSM Exit Survey will be available online. 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.

    Email the Office of Institutional Planning & Analysis  with any questions.

  • 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 Class Champion alumni membership package only available to the Class of 2023. This exclusive package is only available for purchase on-line through February 28, or while supplies last. The package also includes 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, key chain, and car flag. Class Champion membership costs $60. Your custom membership package will be available for pick up at Grad Fest.

    Visit the Alumni Association Website for more information.

  • 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 $20.23 in honor of the Class of 2023. To learn more or make a gift, visit the Student Philanthropy Council website. You can also make a gift to the Student Philanthropy Scholarship and purchase an Alumni Association membership via the Class Champions package.
  • Pre-Order Your CSUSM Kukui Nut Lei
    Pre-order your orchid lei, flower bouquet, or CSUSM branded Kukui Nut Necklace today! They look great for pictures! Items purchased are available to be picked up on the day of your Commencement ceremony. Tents will be located on the Mangrum Track and Parking Lots. 
  • Make Sure you Attend the Correct Commencement Ceremony!

    Take a look at the Commencement schedule to make sure you and your guests attend the correct ceremony.

    Commencement Schedule

  • Receive Your Diploma

    At the Commencement ceremony, you will only receive a diploma cover, not your actual diploma. Actual diplomas are typically mailed to graduates 8-12 weeks after final grades are posted and your degree has been conferred.

    Degree conferral emails are sent to your CSUSM email account around mid-January for fall grads, mid-June for spring grads, and mid-September for summer grads.  Your degree conferral email can also be accessed via the Communicaiton Center in your MyCSUSM account. Once you receive the conferral email, your diploma is mailed via USPS first class. Please make sure that your mailing address is correct in your MyCSUSM and that your mailbox can hold an oversized envelope (about 9x12), especially if you live in a community where the mailboxes are in a centralized area. If your mailbox cannot accommodate oversized envelolpes, your diploma may be returned and you will be held responsible for any re-processing and mailing fees.

    Additional information can be found at the diploma details page.