Commencement is a big day — and there’s a lot to know! This FAQ primarily covers the campuswide ceremonies in May and December. Visit the Department Graduations page to contact your group about its spring plans. Still have questions? Fill out the contact form.
This FAQ was last updated: Oct. 31, 2023, 9:34 a.m.
What are the Class of 2023 Winter Commencement plans?
An in-person, campuswide ceremony will be held on Saturday, December 16, 2023, in Haas Pavilion at 12 noon. Every student who has graduated or will be graduating this academic year, in every school and college, can participate. The event will last approximately two hours and includes a brief ceremony, keynote speaker, student speaker, the reading of graduate names, and the official conferring of degrees by Chancellor Carol T. Christ.
What is the difference between the campuswide Commencement and department graduations?
The university sponsors the campuswide Commencements in May and December. These ceremonies are open to all undergraduate and graduate students, in every school and college. They include a keynote speaker, student speaker, and the official conferring of degrees by the chancellor. (The spring student speaker is the top graduating senior — the University Medalist — and the winter student speaker is chosen by audition.) Graduate names are not read at the spring campuswide event.
Many departments and student groups hold smaller, more personal graduations during the spring semester only. They typically occur over a two-week period and differ according to each group’s plans. Registration and tickets are handled separately through each group. Visit the Department Graduations page to contact your group directly.
Whether graduates attend the campuswide Commencement, department graduation, or both is up to them. We encourage them to coordinate with their friends and family.
Will Commencement be livestreamed?
Yes. Just log onto commencement.berkeley.edu for the Class of 2023 winter ceremony on December 16, and you’ll see it on the home page.
How do I request an accommodation for disability access?
If you require an accommodation for effective communication (ASL interpreting/CART captioning, alternative media formats, etc.), or information about campus mobility access features in order to fully participate in this event, please call 888.UNIV.CAL (888.864.8225) or email email@example.com seven to 10 days before the event. ADA guest tickets are available for purchase.
How do I participate in social media?
Use #CalGrad in your social media posts, whether you’re a graduate sharing a favorite memory, a proud parent congratulating your child, or an alum offering sage advice. You can also upload photos and videos directly into the Social Media page.
Where can I get copies of photos?
If you posed for a photo with GradImages at the campuswide spring event, you should have received proofs if you provided an email and/or mailing address. If you did not, search gradimages.com or contact GradImages at firstname.lastname@example.org or 800.261.2576.
And, check out the Spring 2023 photo gallery!
Do I need to register for Commencement?
Commencement is free for graduates, but you must register. Registration for the Class of 2023 winter ceremony will open this fall.
Do I need to buy tickets for my guests?
Yes. Guest tickets for the Class of 2023 winter ceremony on December 16 will go on sale this fall. The ceremony will be livestreamed on commencement.berkeley.edu.
How do I get my name in the program?
Graduates must register to participate in Commencement and get listed in the printed program. Registration for the Class of 2023 winter ceremony must be completed by November 20. If you miss that deadline, you can still register for the ceremony, but your name won’t be listed in the program.
What do I wear?
Purchase your cap, gown, tassel, stole, and other regalia at the Cal Student Store. You may also dress in business casual or cocktail attire.
Will my name be called?
Graduate names are called during the winter ceremony only.
The spring ceremony is too large to call out every graduate’s name. However, many departments and student groups hold smaller, more personal graduations during the spring semester only that may include the calling of names. Visit the Department Graduations page to contact your group directly.
Will I receive my diploma at Commencement?
No. The Office of the Registrar mails diplomas four months after graduation. (Visit their website for information on transcripts, diplomas, and other academic records.) Graduates receive a commemorative certificate at most department graduations.
Do guests need tickets to attend Commencement?
Yes, guest tickets for the Class of 2023 winter ceremony on December 16 are on sale. Each graduate can purchase up to 6 tickets for friends and family. The ceremony will be livestreamed on commencement.berkeley.edu.
Do children need tickets?
Yes. All persons 24 months and older must have a valid ticket to enter the venue. Children under 24 months must be held in a lap to avoid interfering with other guests’ viewing of the ceremony.
Looking for a memento for your graduate?
Purchase a Commencement card autographed by keynote speaker Steve Wozniak ’86, co-founder of Apple Inc.
Questions about the campuswide Commencement? Fill out this form, and we’ll get back to you ASAP. If you have a question about the smaller ceremonies hosted by individual departments and student groups, visit the Department Graduations page to contact them directly. If you have a question about the degree progress, please contact your academic advisor.