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 department, school, or college about its spring plans. Still have questions? Fill out the contact form.

This FAQ was last updated: May 8, 2024, 7:20 p.m.

For Everyone

What are the Class of 2024 Spring Commencement plans?

An in-person, campuswide ceremony will be held on Saturday, May 11, 2024, 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. 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 for these graduations are handled separately through each group. Visit the Department Graduations page to contact your department, school, or college 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. Visit commencement.berkeley.edu on the day of the event, 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 commencement@berkeley.edu seven to 10 days before the event. ADA guest tickets are available for purchase.

What are the spring parking arrangements?

General parking for commencement is now sold out. Please be aware that parking is very limited in Berkeley, and we anticipate heavy traffic. We strongly recommend taking public transit to the ceremony instead of driving. Visit 511.org or call 511 for train, bus, and other options. Information about shuttle service, road closures, and more is posted on the parking and transportation website. ADA parking is still available to groups with ADA tickets.

What are the expectations for behavior during the ceremony?

Students have worked very hard to get to this moment and family members and friends have traveled from afar to celebrate this important milestone. We would also like to remind us that many of our seniors did not get the chance to have an in-person high school commencement. With this spirit in mind, we request that you please silence your cell phones, stay in your seats, and keep the aisles clear. For this event specifically, time, place, and manner policies apply that are aligned with our Berkeley principles of community. You may not engage in any action that disrupts the event or prevents the speakers from being heard during the campuswide Commencement within California Memorial Stadium. This includes, but is not limited to, shouting over speakers, speaking out of turn, blocking others’ view of the event, disrupting official activities, and specifically displaying banners and signs that block others’ view of the event.

Individuals who are disruptive will be asked to leave. Those individuals may be ejected from the event or have other actions taken, and campus members may be referred to the appropriate disciplinary process.

What are the security policies?

Visit calbears.com for information on security screening, the clear bag policy, prohibited items (including common ones listed below), and other event policies.

  • banners, signs, or flags
  • artificial noise-making devices
  • balloons
  • umbrellas
  • hard plastic, glass, or metal bottles or cans
  • open containers or alcohol
  • professional cameras or cameras with lenses larger than six inches
  • video cameras
  • monopods or tripods

Commencement follows the same code of conduct as football games in California Memorial Stadium.

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.

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

One way you can recognize a graduate’s accomplishments is through the 2024 Graduate Tribute with a gift to the Cal Parents Fund, which supports undergraduate education and experience. The collective giving of graduates’ families helps lift up the next generation of Cal students.

For Graduates

Getting Ready

Do I need to register for Commencement?

Yes. Commencement is free for graduates, but you must register. The deadline to ensure your name is included in the commemorative program (April 12) has passed. If you miss that deadline, you can still participate, but your name won’t be listed. Please contact us if you do not receive an email.

How do I get my name in the program?

Graduates had to sign up by April 12 to be included in the commemorative program. If you missed that deadline, you can still register for the ceremony, but your name won’t be listed.

How do I sign up for Commencement emails?

If you are a current student who plans to participate in the campuswide Commencement on May 11, 2024, and would like to receive emails about registration, guest tickets, and more, first check all email inboxes, including your spam and promotions folders, for emails from “commencement@our.berkeley.edu” or “commencement@berkeley.edu.” If you haven’t received an email from this address, fill out this form to make sure you’re included. This email list is for graduates only and will be deleted after Commencement. Parents and other guests, please contact your student directly for details about the day.

Commencement Day

What do I wear?

Purchase your cap, tassel, stole, and gown — including an eco-friendly rental option — at the Cal Student Store. You may also dress in business casual or cocktail attire. (The university does not provide stoles, leis, and other items for the campuswide ceremony.) We recommend that you NOT wear high heels, as graduates will be seated in the steep stands.

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 that may include the calling of names. Visit the Department Graduations page to contact your department, school, or college 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.

Beyond Commencement

How do I stay connected to UC Berkeley?
  1. Become a member of the Cal Alumni Association (CAA). 2024 graduates are eligible for a complimentary one-year membership.
  2. Check out other ways to engage with your UC Berkeley community all year long.

For Guests

Do guests need tickets to attend Commencement?

Yes. Each graduate can purchase a maximum of four guest tickets. All guest tickets are reserved seating and range from $10 to $15 each. As of March 12, we are sold out of club tickets. The ceremony will also 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.

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 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.

(e.g. “Winter 2023”)