FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions
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WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN "COMMENCEMENT" AND GRADUATION?"
 

Commencement refers to the ceremony held at the end of Spring term every year. It is a ceremony where your academic accomplishments are recognized with peers, family, friends, faculty and staff.

Graduation refers to the awarding of degrees and certificates to students who meet all graduation requirements. At the end of each term, students that meet all graduation requirements will automatically be awarded their degree or certificate.

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ARE THERE COMMENCEMENT REHEARSALS?
 
There are no commencement rehearsals. Please visit the Details for Graduating Candidates section for information regarding check in, seating, and program details.
 
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HOW LONG IS EACH COMMENCEMENT CEREMONY?
 
Each Commencement ceremony will last about 1 hour and 30 minutes to 1 hour and 45 minutes depending on the size of the college. Graduating candidates participating in Commencement are required to stay for the entire duration of the ceremony.
 
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WHEN CAN GRADUATING CANDIDATES CONFIRM THEIR COMMENCEMENT PARTICIPATION AND RESERVE GUEST TICKETS?
 
Candidates who graduated in fall 2017 or winter 2018 OR have approved graduation applications, and are on track to completing all their degree requirements by the end of spring 2018 or summer 2018, will be able to confirm their participation and reserve guest tickets at Grad Fair on March 20 and 21 at the Golden Eagle Ballroom from 10 a.m. - 7 p.m. (student I.D. required). After Grad Fair, starting April 2, 2018, at 8 a.m. (PST) through May 4, 2018, at 5 p.m. (PST), graduating candidates can reserve their guest tickets online.  After 5 p.m. on May 4, Commencement participation and guest tickets will no longer be guaranteed.
 
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HOW MANY TICKETS CAN GRADUATING CANDIDATES RESERVE?
 
Graduating candidates who confirm their participation during Grad Fair or during the online registration period of April 2, 2018 - May 4, 2018 will receive 6 – 8 guest tickets depending on the size of the college and ceremony. After 5 p.m. on May 4, guest tickets will no longer be guaranteed.
 
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IS THERE A CHARGE FOR TICKETS?
 
No, tickets are free of charge. The University does not support and authorize the sale of Commencement tickets.
 
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DO GRADUATING CANDIDATES REQUIRE TICKETS FOR THEMSELVES?
 
No, tickets are only required for guests. However, graduating candidates must confirm their participation during Grad Fair or during the online registration of April 2, 2018, until May 4, 2018, by reserving guest tickets. After May 4, 2018, at 5 p.m. (PST), Commencement participation and guest ticket reservation is no longer guaranteed.
 
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CAN GUESTS RESERVE THEIR OWN TICKETS?
 
No, only candidates who graduated in fall 2017 or winter 2018 OR have approved graduation applications, and are on track to completing all their degree requirements by the end of spring 2018 or summer 2018, may reserve guest tickets at Grad Fair or from April 2, 2018, at 8 a.m. (PST) through May 4, 2018, at 5 p.m. (PST) online.
 
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DO CHILDREN NEED TICKETS?
 
Tickets will not be required for children under the age of 2, who can sit comfortably on a parent’s lap for the entire duration of the ceremony. However if a seat is required for the child and/or the child is older than 2 years old, a ticket will be needed.
 
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WILL EXTRA TICKETS BE DISTRIBUTED?
 
Graduating candidates looking to obtain additional tickets can utilize the Ticket Exchange with fellow students. Please visit the Registration & Ticket Reservation section for more information. After the deadline to register to participate in Commencement and reserve guest tickets on May 4, 2018, unclaimed tickets (if any) will be available online on Friday, May 11, 2018, from 8 a.m. (PST) until 5 p.m. (PST). Only graduating candidates who registered to participate in Commencement during Grad Fair or during the online registration from April 2, 2018, until May 4, 2018, will be able to log on to the e-ticket site and claim an additional ticket(s) on a first-come, first-served basis. Please note that extra tickets are not guaranteed to be available for all candidates and ceremonies, and the amount of tickets each candidate can reserve will be dependent on what is available.  
 
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ARE GRADUATING CANDIDATES REQUIRED TO WEAR REGALIA?
 
If participating in the Commencement ceremonies, graduating candidates must wear the appropriate regalia. For undergraduates, it will be a black bachelor's degree cap and gown with tassel. For master's degree candidates, it will be black master's black cap and gown, with tassel, and the hood specific to their major or discipline. For doctoral candidates, it will be the doctoral gown, tam with gold tassel, and the doctoral hood specific to their major or discipline.
 
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WHAT TIME SHOULD GRADUATING CANDIDATES ARRIVE?
 
Graduating candidates should arrive at the check-in station (on the south side of the University Gymnasium) at least 60 minutes prior to the ceremony. Graduating candidates must bring a valid photo ID (University or government issued) for verification. Please plan accordingly to allow sufficient time to park, pick up the name card, and line-up for pre-seating.
 
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WHAT TIME SHOULD GUESTS ARRIVE?
 
Doors to the gymnasium will open 60 minutes before the ceremony starts. Guests can arrive as early as 75-90 minutes prior to the ceremony to allow sufficient time to park, mobility,  line-up, go through security, get their tickets scanned, and find seating. Five minutes before the ceremony, the doors will close to allow for the processional of the faculty and platform party. Doors will reopen after the national anthem.
 
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IS GUEST RE-ENTRY PERMITTED DURING THE CEREMONY?
 
Guests who exit the event space outside the security area, once admitted, will not gain re-entry.
 
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DOES MY NAME GET CALLED TWICE IF I HAVE A DUAL DEGREE?
 
If you are graduating with dual degrees and they are both being honored at the same ceremony, you will not be able to walk across the stage and have your name read twice for both degrees. Instead, you will need to select the single degree that you would like to walk under during the ceremony. Even though you may only have your name read once at Commencement, you will still be listed for each degree earned in the Commencement program. For candidates with dual degrees but different ceremonies, you may select to attend only one or attend both.
 
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DO I GET ADDITIONAL TICKETS IF I HAVE A DUAL DEGREE?
 
If both degrees are being conferred during the same ceremony, you will only get the maximum allocation listed for that particular ceremony. If your degrees are conferred at separate ceremonies, you will be allocated tickets for both ceremonies. Tickets cannot be transferred or be used for other ceremonies.
 
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ARE GUESTS ALLOWED TO SIT WITH GRADUATING CANDIDATES?
 
Only graduating candidates can sit at the designated seating area for graduates. Family and friends are not allowed to accompany them.
 
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WHAT IS PROHIBITED INSIDE THE GYMNASIUM?
 

For the safety of all our attendees, all guests must pass through security at the designated entrance locations to the University Gymnasium. Bags will be allowed inside the venue and are subject to search. Due to the type of seating inside the gymnasium, your bag must be on your lap at all times and cannot be placed on the aisle or on another seat.

Items not permitted inside the gymnasium are inclusive of, but not limited to, the following:
  • Air horns, balloons, flags with poles, large signs, mega phones
  • Alcohol and drugs
  • Bottles or cans
  • Cigarettes and E cigarettes (the University is a tobacco and
  • vape free campus)
  • Drones
  • Fireworks and weapons including firearms, knives, sticks, chains, spiked jewelry, and spiked belts
  • Food & beverages (baby food permitted)
  • Food coolers
  • Laser pointers
  • Skateboards, rollerblades, bicycles, helmets, chairs
  • Strollers
  • Umbrellas
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Commencement Hotline: (323) 343-4723 | commencement@calstatela.edu
 
All information is subject to change. Please visit the website regularly for the most up-to-date information.
Updated: April 26, 2018
 
The California State University, Los Angeles Commencement ceremonies  will be photographed and/or recorded. By entering the event space, you agree and grant irrevocable permission to have your likeness, image, voice, and appearance photographed and recorded for commercial purposes and used as embodied in titles TBD whether recorded on or transferred to videotape, film, slides, photographs, audio tapes or other media, now known or later developed, and to be included in a non-commercial promotional and news video.