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: Feb. 15, 2024, 10:06 a.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.

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 ecc.giservice@gradimages.net or 800.261.2576.

And, check out the December 2023 and Spring 2023 photo galleries!

For Graduates

Getting Ready

Do I need to register for Commencement?

Yes. Commencement is free for graduates, but you must register. We’ll email you when registration opens on March 12. Please contact us if you do not receive an email.

How do I get my name in the program?

Graduates must register by Friday, April 12, 2024 to be listed in the printed program. If you miss that deadline, you can still register for the ceremony, but your name won’t be listed in the program.

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.)

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 $60 each. They will go on sale March 12. 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”)