Frequently Asked Questions

commencement stage with flags in foreground, speakers waiting in background

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: Jan. 25, 2023, 2:52 p.m.

For Everyone

How can I get a copy of the Spring 2022 printed program?

Download a copy or contact us to make arrangements to pick one up.

What are the Class of 2023 Spring Commencement plans?

An in-person, campuswide ceremony will be held on Saturday, May 13, 2023, at 10:30 a.m. at California Memorial Stadium. Graduates will begin entering the stadium at 9 a.m.

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, and last approximately two hours. They include a keynote speaker, student speaker, and the official conferring of degrees by the chancellor. (The May student speaker is the top graduating senior — the University Medalist — and the December 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 on May 13, and you’ll see it on the home page.

What are the current public health requirements?

Facial coverings are strongly recommended for everyone indoors, regardless of COVID-19 vaccination status.

UC Berkeley does not promise or guarantee that all patrons or employees on site are vaccinated. Unvaccinated individuals may be present. None of these precautions eliminate the risk of exposure to COVID-19.

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 events1@berkeley.edu seven to 10 days before the event.

What are the parking arrangements?

Parking is limited in Berkeley. Haas Pavilion is a 10- to 15-minute walk from the downtown Berkeley BART station. If you choose to drive, visit the university’s parking and transportation website for details on available Cal lots and pricing.

ADA parking can be found on the street or in designated spaces in campus and public lots. All parking is first come, first served. Visit this site for ADA parking locations and other details.

Guests who need mobility assistance may be dropped off at the intersection of Bancroft Way and Dana Street. From there, it’s a short walk to the ramp at Gate 1, labeled “Special Accommodations,” where you will be directed to the elevators reaching the ADA seating areas.

How do I participate in social media?

Use the hashtag #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.

How do I make a gift in honor of a graduate?

It’s easy. Recognize a graduate’s accomplishments with a gift to the Cal Parents Fund, which supports undergraduate education and experience. Gifts of $500 or more made by April 11, 2023, will be listed in the spring 2023 Commencement program.

For Graduates

Getting Ready

Do I need to register for Commencement?

Yes, you must register to participate in the ceremony. An email with instructions has been sent to students eligible to participate in the winter 2022 ceremony. Please contact us if you did not receive an email.

Do I need to buy tickets for my guests?

Yes, each graduate may purchase up to six tickets for $10 each. Purchase tickets here. The ceremony will be livestreamed on commencement.berkeley.edu.

How do I get my name in the program?

Graduates must register by November 16, 2022 in order to get listed in the program.

Commencement Day

What do I wear?

Regalia is optional, and you may purchase it at the Cal Student Store. You can also dress in business casual or cocktail attire. Stoles, leis, and other meaningful items are welcomed. The university does not provide these items for the campuswide ceremony.

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.

For Guests

Do guests need tickets to attend Commencement?

Yes, each graduate may purchase up to six tickets for $10 each. Purchase tickets here. The ceremony will be livestreamed on commencement.berkeley.edu.

Where can guests stay?

There are several nearby hotels. Start planning your travel now.

Contact us

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 graduations 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.