FAQ

Updated February 26, 2020

What’s the difference between the campuswide commencement and department graduations?

Commencement, the campuswide ceremony for all graduating seniors from all majors and their families, includes the Chancellor's address, keynote address, and most of the traditional pomp and circumstance. Departmental graduations occur separately within their discipline and are more personal, with each graduate walking across stage to receive a commemorative certificate. Some departmental graduations require tickets; others do not. Contact your department for the most up-to-date info on its graduation ceremony. Department graduations occur during the spring semester only. You can find more details and contact information on the departmental graduations page, where 2020 ceremonies will begin to be publicized in January.

When and where is commencement?

Spring 2020 commencement will take place Saturday, May 16 at California Memorial Stadium.

How long does the commencement ceremony last?

Commencement lasts approximately two-and-a-half hours.

How do I get tickets?

Your ticket to commencement is also your registration. All graduates must have tickets for themselves and their guests.

  • Tickets for graduates themselves are free, but you must register to hold your spot.
  • Guest tickets cost $10 each, they are general admission (first-come, first-served), and there is a limit of 15 per graduate.

  • Children age two and younger are admitted free. 

  • Check back for registration link.

Please note that all sales are FINAL and there are no refunds. No exceptions.

How do I get my name listed in the program?

Register/get ticketed for commencement before the program deadline — to be announced — to get your name printed in the program. If you miss the deadline, your name will not appear in the program but you will still be registered to walk.

How do I get there?

We encourage you to take public transportation. If you choose to drive, please consult the campus map for directions.

Where do I park?

Reserved parking is not available for commencement. Some spots may be available on campus but are not guaranteed. Parking is available in the campus parking lots on a first-come, first-served basis. You may also park in the surrounding city parking lots; rates and hours vary. 

What sort of ADA accommodations are available?

ADA seats are clearly marked at Memorial Stadium and are available on a first-come, first-served basis in the individual seating bays. Other guests in your party are welcome to sit in the bleacher seats behind the reserved ADA area. We can only ensure one companion seat per disabled guest, but we will do our best to seat your entire party together.

You may park at the Underhill Parking Garage (Channing Way between Bowditch St. and College Ave.); a wheelchair-accessible shuttle for guests who need mobility assistance will operate between the Underhill garage and the stadium. (The shuttle will stop at the Channing entrance.) Please note that guest drop off will NOT be allowed at Gate 6; only designated shuttles will be allowed to stop there.

Shuttle service is also available to guests around the Berkeley campus, free of charge for graduating seniors wearing cap and gown or with ID as well as their families. You may catch a Bear Transit shuttle eastbound near the Downtown Berkeley BART station. Shuttles stop at Addison/Shattuck and Hearst/Euclid and run every 12–24 minutes. View the Bear Transit page for transit information, shuttle schedules, and route maps.

Do children need tickets?

Kids age two and younger get in free. Everyone else must have a ticket.

Will there be a photographer?

GradImages will photograph each graduate, with photographs available for purchase after the ceremony.

Will my name be read at the ceremony?

Names are read at winter commencement but not at the spring commencement ceremony. They will be read at the spring department ceremonies.

Will I receive my diploma at the ceremony?

No. Attending commencement does not necessarily mean that you have actually graduated. Some students attend the ceremony for celebratory reasons only, even though they may not finish all of their degree requirements until a later semester. In addition, all undergraduate diplomas will be mailed approximately three-and-a-half months after the ceremony. Visit the registrar’s office for more information.

Will commencement be webcast?

Yes! Both ceremonies are webcast on the UC Berkeley Live channel.

Where can I find information about lodging and dining?

I am graduating in December but would like to walk in the May commencement ceremony. Is this possible?

Yes! You can walk in whichever ceremony you prefer. Simply sign up for the commencement ceremony of your choice when the tickets go on sale for that ceremony.

What if I have more questions?

For general commencement, please contact us. For questions regarding the departmental ceremonies, please contact the appropriate department coordinator listed on the Department Graduations page.