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Commencement FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

Completing Your Degree
Registering for Commencement
Ceremony Dates & Times
Ceremony Participation
Tickets & Guests
Speakers
Odds & Ends

 

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 pdx.edu/registration/graduation 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 askdars@pdx.edu.

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. To verify that you opted to participate in the commencement ceremony, please fill out this form.

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’m not sure whether I registered for Commencement. How can I find out?

Please fill out this form, and we will email you with the answer.

Ceremony Dates & Times

When is the commencement ceremony for this academic year (2013-2014)?

Sunday, June 15, 2014 at the Moda Center (formerly the Rose Garden Arena)

Ceremony Times

College of Liberal Arts & Sciences 10:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Professional Schools & Colleges 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 2012, 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
Southwestern@ous.edu

When are the Commencement Ceremonies for future dates?

Spring 2015 Commencement Ceremonies
Sunday, June 14, 2015
Moda Center at the Rose Quarter (formerly the Rose Garden Arena)

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?

Students that are receiving a degree from Fall 2013-Fall 2014 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 2014 University Commencement Ceremony if I am not eligible for graduation Fall 2012-Fall 2013 Commencement Ceremony?

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 commencement@pdx.edu 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. You can also view this list of Commencement-related celebrations.

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?

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

How many tickets do I get?

Graduates receive 4 complimentary tickets for students and additional tickets will be available for purchase for an additional fee. Ticket sales help cover the cost of Commencement. Tickets will be available through the PSU Box Office or at the Moda Center on the day of Commencement.

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.

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, announcements, stoles of gratitude, and class rings may be purchased at a Graduation Fair or online (online site coming soon). Regalia will be available for purchase on the day of the ceremony plus an additional charge. 

Graduation Fair Dates & Times
January, 28, 2014, 1:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. in SMSU 327/328

April 10, 2014, 1:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. in SMSU 296/8

May 29, 2014, 1:00 p.m. to 8 p.m. in SMSU 296/8 

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

School Degrees Color
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 MAS, 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?

It usually takes 3 to 4 months for diplomas to be ready for pick up. You can pick up your diploma at the Office of Degree Requirements in 104 Neuberger Hall during normal business hours.

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 www.GradImages.com.

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 June 16 and OPB1 the following weekend. More information will be released closer to the ceremony.

I need insurance after college.& What are my options?

Students should visit the Oregon Department of Consumer & Business Services' tips on getting insurance after college.

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 commencement@pdx.edu.

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

You can email commencement@pdx.edu