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Commencement FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

Please see below for a list of common questions. Click the any of the following links to jump to the section.

Completing Your Degree

What is the difference between Graduation and Commencement?

“Graduation” and “Commencement” are terms of art at PSU. “Graduation” means actually finishing and completely fulfilling your degree requirements resulting in a diploma. In other words, “Graduation” is the technical obtainment of credits to receive a degree.

“Commencement” is the symbolic ceremony marking the closing of your academic career where you receive commendation for your hard work at PSU. It is an opportunity for you, your family, friends, and the PSU community to celebrate your accomplishment.

How do I register to graduate?

There are three basic steps to graduate. First, meet with an adviser. Students may use the Degree Audit Reporting System at any time to check their progress toward a degree and are encouraged to meet with their academic adviser to discuss the report and plot a course for clearing up any outstanding course work issues.

Second, submit a degree application. Any student seeking a degree from PSU must apply for the degree.Undergraduate degree application forms are due two terms prior to the anticipated graduation date. Graduate degree application forms are due one term prior to graduation. See Applying for a Degree for specific dates and further information.

Finally, attend to any outstanding grade issues. All course work should be completed and final grades recorded to ensure smooth processing of your degree application.

If you have questions regarding the Undergraduate Graduation Application process, please call 503.725.3438. If you have questions regarding the Graduate or Doctoral Graduation Application process, please call 503.725.8410.

When are the deadlines to register to graduate?

Please visit for more information on graduation deadlines.

How do I change my graduation date?

If after you’ve applied to graduate you need to change your graduation date, you will need to contact the Office of Degree Requirements at 104 Neuberger Hall or email

I went to a Commencement Ceremony but didn’t finish my degree requirements. Do I have my degree from PSU?

No. You don’t have a degree from Portland State University until you have satisfied all of your degree requirements—even if you participated in a Commencement Ceremony. The Commencement Ceremony is only a celebration.

Registering for Commencement

Once I’ve applied to graduate, how do I register for a Commencement Ceremony?

Registration for Commencement is part of registering to graduate. Please apply to graduate in order to register for the ceremony. 

Why can’t I register for Commencement? I already applied for graduation.

It takes up to two weeks to process your graduation application and for the system to acknowledge that you are eligible to graduate. Allow at least 14 days. If you are still having trouble, contact Degree Requirements at 503.725.3438 or 800.547.8887, ext. 3438. 

I already submitted my application for graduation but I want to sign-up/cancel my registration, how do I do that?

Please fill out our Change of Registration Form, and we will update your registration status in 1-2 business days.

I changed my decision and I now want to particpate in the ceremony. When is the last day I can register for Commencement?

The final day to have your name in the printed Commencement program is April 1, 2016. The last day to register for Commencement is June 1st, 2016.

Ceremony Dates & Times

When is the Commencement Ceremony for this academic year (2015-2016)?

Commencement will be held on Sunday, June 12, 2016 at the Moda Center (formerly the Rose Garden Arena). 

What are the ceremony times?

College of Liberal Arts & Sciences will attend our Morning Ceremony from 10:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Professional Schools & Colleges will attend our Afternoon Ceremony from 3:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

When is Fall, Winter, or Summer Commencement?

PSU celebrates student's acheivements following the Spring quarter. There is no Fall, Winter or Summer commencement at Portland State.

Are there any other options for students to participate in a different commencement ceremony?

Yes, many departments host their own graduation celebration. Inquire with your department for dates and times of other events.

In addition, if you are unable to attend the Portland State University commencement ceremony because you are a distance student you may be eligible to participate in a commencement ceremony from Southwestern Oregon Community College. You are eligible if you will complete you degree by Fall 2015 and you live in the following areas: Coos County, Curry County, Douglass County, Josephine County, and Lane County. Please note that only specific cities on Oregon’s Southern West coast will be able to participate. For more information please contact:

Meggan McLarrin
Southwestern Oregon University Center
1988 Newmark Avenue, Tioga 318
Coos Bay, OR 97420
Phone: 541-888-1518
Fax: 541-888-1530

When are the Commencement Ceremonies for future dates?

2015-2016 academic year will be celebrated on Sunday, June 12, 2016. 

2016-2017 academic year will be celebrated on Sunday, June 18, 2017.

Please contact the Commencement office at for future dates.

How long does the University Commencement Ceremony typically last?

The Commencement Ceremony lasts between 2-1/2 and 3 hours. Please allow additional time for parking.

Ceremony Participation

Which Commencement Ceremony can I participate in?

Undergraduate and Master's students that are receiving a degree from Fall 2015-Fall 2016 are eligible to walk in Commencement. PSU no longer holds a Summer Commencement.

Please note that Doctoral Candidates must be certified by the Office of Graduate Studies before participating in any University-wide Commencement Ceremony (this does not include hooding ceremonies).

How can I participate in the Spring 2016 University Commencement Ceremony if I am not eligible for graduation Fall 2015-Fall 2016?

You may petition to participate in a Commencement Ceremony for which you are ineligible so long as your request is reasonable (medical, military, etc.). Please email with your name, student ID number, and reason for wanting to participating in an alternate ceremony.

Please note, participating in any Commencement Ceremony does not mean you have earned or received a degree from Portland State University.

I graduated several years ago and want to participate in a Commencement Ceremony.

You are welcome to come to the event as a guest. Due to the fact that we are at capacity for University Commencement, you may only participate in a Commencement Ceremony if you are eligible.

I don’t want to participate in the University Commencement Ceremony. Are there any alternatives?

Unfortunately, there are no alternatives for undergraduates. Some graduate programs have hooding ceremonies that you may be eligible to attend instead of the large main ceremonies. Contact your department to see if they have a hooding ceremony.

I have two majors. Can I walk with both?

Unfortunately, you cannot walk with both departments. You will need to choose which major you want to walk with at the ceremony. You will walk across the stage when whichever major you choose is called.

Tickets & Guests

Where should my out-of-town guests stay while visiting Portland?

Attention 2016 Graduates: University Place Hotel and Conference Center is hosting a 'PSU Friends and Family Gradution' special just for you! Included in your stay is free breakfast, wi-fi, and room upgrades (based on availability). Right next to the new Orange Line MAX stop, getting to and from the Moda Center just got easier!

Rates start at just $84 plus tax. Use promo code A1234 for the best rates.

For additional information about other lodging options in Portland for your guests, please visit our hotel booking engine.

My family is traveling from out of the United States for the Commencement Ceremony. How can I obtain a letter to my Embassy regarding Commencement?

Please visit the Office of International Affairs, East Hall room 101 in person, Monday-Friday 8AM-5PM. Letters take between 3 and 5 days to process.

How many tickets do I get? Can I purchase additional tickets?

Graduates who are registered to participate in the Commencement ceremonies receive 4 complimentary tickets and additional tickets will be available for purchase for an additional fee. Ticket sales help cover the cost of Commencement. 

 Additional tickets will be available for purchase for $8.50 each. The Moda Center has ample seating and we do not anticipate running out of seats.

When/Where can I pick up my tickets?

All tickets (both free and additional for purchase) will be available through our online ticket portal on Sunday, May 1 and in-person on Monday, May 2 at the PSU Box Office

For instructions on how to access your tickets online, please visit the PSU Box Office homepage for step-by-step instructions.

If anyone in your party requires ADA accommodations, please indicate this when accepting your tickets with the check box and drop down list. Additional information can be found on our Frequently Asked Questions document for People with Disabilities.

*Tickets will also be available for purchase at the Moda Center Box Office on the day of Commencement. 

I'm having problems accessing my tickets, what can I do?

Before contacting the Commencement or PSU Box Office, please double check:

1. You are registered to participate in the 2016 Commencement ceremonies on Sunday, June 12th. Only students who are registered to participate in the university-wide Commencement will receive 4 free tickets.

 2. You are logged in with your ODIN to begin your 'reservation'. For instructions on how to access tickets online, please visit the PSU Box Office homepage for step-by-step instructions. 

3. You are selecting the correct ceremony on the Commencement Ticket homepage. Majors under the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences will attend the morning ceremony. All other Professional Schools and Colleges will participate in the afternoon ceremony.

*If you are still experiencing issues accecssing your tickets, please contact the PSU Box Office at 503-725-3307. Please note the PSU Box Office is only open Monday through Friday. Their hours are listed on their webpage.

Odds & Ends

What about honors for the ceremony?

Please visit the Latin Honors page. 

If I qualify for Latin Honors, will there be an indication on my diploma or my final transcript?

Yes, Latin Honors will appear on both your diploma and your final transcript.

What is appropriate etiquette for the Commencement ceremony?

This is your event to honor your accomplishments. Family, friends, colleagues, faculty, and staff will be present to applaud your hard work. All participants will be expected to conduct themselves in a mature and responsible manner. The use of cell phones and chewing gum is strongly discouraged. Alcohol is not permitted. No one carrying alcoholic beverages will be allowed to enter. Commencement takes place in non-smoking facilities. Helium balloons are not allowed. If guests bring a helium balloon, they will be asked to leave it outside the exterior doors. You and your guests' understanding and cooperation are vital to the success of the day's activities.

Where can I buy my cap, gown, announcements, class rings or other regalia for the Commencement Ceremony?

Regalia and other graduation items are available for purchase through Herff Jones Online Order Portal.

You will have the option of shipping to your home address or preordering for pick-up at our Grad Fairs held on May 18 & May 19. The last day regalia can be preordered using our online site is Friday, April 15, 2016. 

Starting April 18, 2015, students can preorder items through our Spirit Store located on the first floor of the Smith Memorial Student Union. The last day to preorder through the Spirit Store is May 17th, 2016.

Regalia will also be available for purchase on the day of the ceremony plus an additional charge. 

Why is regalia required in order to participate in commencement ceremonies?

There is a rich history of why regalia is required at university commencements.

What are the tassel colors for my particular school?

College of Urban & Public Affairs

College of Liberal Arts & Sciences BS, MS, MST, MEM Gold
College of Liberal Arts & Sciences BA, MA, MAT White
College of Urban & Public Affairs BA, BS, MA, MS, MPA, MPA/HA, EMPA, MURP, MUS Peacock Blue
College of Urban & Public Affairs MPH, MPH/HP, MPH/HMP Salmon
School of Business Administration BA, BS, MBA, MT Nugget
School of Education MA, MS, MED Light Blue
Maseeh College of Engineering and Computer Science BA, BS, MA, MS, ME Orange
College of the Arts Art + Design, Theatre + Film, Art Studies Brown
College of the Arts Music Pink
College of the Arts Architecture Blue-Violet
School of Social Work BA, MSW Citron

Please note that some schools have multiple colors depending on your degree earned.

When and where can I get my diploma?

Beginning in Fall 2015, all diplomas will be mailed. Diplomas are generally mailed within 2-3 weeks, except for Fall term which will take 4-6 weeks due to holiday closures. You will be notified by email when your degree has been awarded.

For more information on diplomas, please contact Degree Requirements at 503-725-3220 or email

When and where can I get a diploma cover?

Diploma covers are given to each student as the student walks across the stage at the Commencement Ceremony.  For students who do not participate in the ceremony, diploma covers are available for purchase at the PSU Box Office for $5.00. 

Where can I order a diploma frame?

Diploma frames make excellent gifts and are a great way to proudly display your Viking degree.  Diploma frames will be available through our online store

I was photographed at a Commencement Ceremony. Where can I get copies of that picture?

You can browse and purchase Commencement Ceremony photographs at

Is there a DVD of the Ceremony?

No, however the ceremony will be available through PSU's Youtube Channel.

Will the ceremony be broadcast on television?

Yes, the ceremony will be broadcast on OPB2 on the day of commencement and OPB1 the following weekend. More information will be released closer to the ceremony.

I heard a rumor about Commencement. Where can I find out about whether it is true?

If you have any questions or concerns about PSU’s Commencement Ceremonies, please contact us at

I have received a sample announcement for Commencement in the mail, and it doesn't have my name on it. Is this official?

As we are a public university, companies can request information that includes directory information and may send communications to potential graduates. Our official vendor for announcements, regalia, and diploma frames is Herff Jones.

If I have questions about any Commencement Ceremony, who should I ask?

You can email or call the Enrollment Management and Student Affairs front desk at 503-725-5249.