SSW Commencement FAQs
Frequently Asked Questions
Completing Your Degree
Registering for Commencement
Ceremony Dates & Times
Tickets & Guests
Odds & Ends
What is the difference between Graduation and Commencement?
“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 the School of Social Work. It is an opportunity for you, your family, friends, and the SSW community to celebrate your accomplishment.
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.
How do I apply to graduate?
BSW/CFS Students: There are three basic steps to graduate.
Step 1: 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.
Step 2: Submit a degree application - Any student seeking a degree from PSU must apply for the degree. See Applying for a Degree for specific dates and further information.
Finally, attend to any outstanding grade issues or outstanding student account balances. 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. Please note that your PSU account will be billed a $20 processing fee.
MSW/Ph.D. Students: After registering for your final term, you must complete the following steps.
Step 1: Fill out your MSW graduation checklist - Checklists will be sent out by Jim Nash via the MSW student listserv) and turn it in to Roxanne Dinca (there will be a box up at the front desk for checklist drop off). Distance Option students do not need to complete a MSW graduation checklist unless they deviated from the program plan of their cohort.
Step 2: Apply to graduate with the Office of Graduate Studies - Go to the OGS website (www.pdx.edu/ogs/home) and click on the Forms tab. The name of your application is: Application for Awarding of Master’s or Doctoral Degree. Please note that only OGS can run DARS repots fro graduate students. You will not be able to run your own DARS report.
OGS urges you to fill out the form on a computer to ensure legibility, which can reduce errors and helps process your file more quickly and accurately. When you fill out the top half of the form online, the bottom half will be completed automatically. After completing the form, print out one copy. This copy will be turned in to the Office of Graduate Studies. You must sign and date both halves. Your application will not be accepted without signatures on both halves. Please note that your PSU account will be billed a $20 processing fee.
Submit the completed application (both halves; do not cut the form in half) to the Office of Graduate Studies, XSB 184. They are open Monday-Friday, 8:00AM to 5:00PM. APPLICATION IS DUE NO LATER THAN FRIDAY, APRIL 5! If you need to mail the application to us, please send it to:
Office of Graduate Studies (OGS)
Portland State University
PO Box 751
Portland, OR 97207-0751
IMPORTANT: Faxed and emailed applications will NOT be accepted.
When do I receive my diploma? Can I have my diploma mailed to me?
The Office of Degree Requirements processes diplomas. Diplomas will be ready for pick up in early September. You may go to the office and pick up your diploma (located on the first floor of Neuberger Hall). It is recommended that you call Degree Requirements first, to ensure that your diploma will be available for pick up (503-725-3438). You can also have your diploma mailed to you by filling out the Diploma Mail Authorization form located on the Degree Requirements website (www.pdx.edu/registration/contact) under Forms. This form can be printed and mailed to Degree Requirements or it can be filled out and submitted online.
Once I’ve applied to graduate, how do I register for the SSW Commencement Ceremony?
Undergraduates can register for Commencement online at http://sswugcommencement2013.eventbrite.com. Graduate students can register for Commencement online at http://sswgrcommencement2013.eventbrite.com.
I registered for a Commencement Ceremony, but made a mistake. How can I change the registration?
Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with your full name and student ID number and what you wish to change.
I’m not sure whether I registered for Commencement. How can I find out?
Please email email@example.com.
When is the SSW Commencement Ceremony for this academic year (2012-2013)?
The School of Social Work will host one undergraduate Commencement Ceremony and one graduate Commencement Ceremony. Both ceremonies will occur on Saturday, June 15, 2013 at the Peter Stott Center.
The Undergraduate Commencement Ceremony will begin at 10:30am. Students participating in the ceremony must arrive at the Stott Center no later than 9:30am for check-in and the class photo.
The Graduate Commencement Ceremony will begin at 2:30pm. Students participating in the ceremony must arrive at the Stott Center no later than 1:30pm for check-in and the class photo.
How long does the SSW Commencement Ceremony typically last?
The Commencement Ceremony lasts approximately 1.5 - 2 hours.
Can my friend “hood” me?
Only your practice instructor or a designated SSW faculty member may “hood” you.
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.
Will there be accessibility seating? Do babies or children need a ticket?
Yes, there will be floor seating reserved for families with accessibility needs. There is also space between the rows of bleachers for wheelchair access. Babies or children do not need a ticket ONLY if they will not be using a seat (i.e. will be in a carrier).
How do I pick up my tickets? How many tickets am I allowed?
After you have registered for Commencement using the links above, you will be able to print out your tickets for family and friends. Students participating in the ceremony do not need a ticket for themselves. Registration for the Undergraduate ceremony will close at 5:00pm on Friday, May 31. Registration for the Graduate ceremony will close at 5:00pm on Tuesday, May 21. Please be sure to secure your tickets before then.
Each Graduate student will receive 6 tickets for family and friends. A waitlist will be generated for graduates requesting additional tickets. SSW MSW Program Assistant, Roxanne Dinca will manage the waitlist and you can request to be added to the waitlist by emailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please specify how many extra tickets you will need. Extra tickets will only be distributed AFTER each graduate has picked up their allotted 6.
Each Undergraduate student will receive 8 tickets for family and friends. A waitlist will be generated for students requesting additional tickets. You can be added to the waitlist by contacting email@example.com. Please specify how many extra tickets you will need. Extra tickets will only be distributed AFTER each student has picked up their allotted 8 tickets.
Where can I buy my cap, gown, announcements or other regalia for the Commencement Ceremony?
Regalia for commencement can be purchased at the Portland State University bookstore. Visit the bookstore website for details at www.portlandstatebookstore.com
Does the School have loaner regalia?
The School has a limited number of gowns, hoods, and caps to let students borrow on a first come first serve basis.
Undergraduate students, please email Melissa Penners (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you would like to borrow a gown/hood/cap. Be sure to include details about the items you'd like to borrow (gown/hood/set) and your height.
Graduate students, please email Roxanne Dinca (email@example.com) if you would like to borrow a gown/hood/cap. Be sure to include details about the items you'd like to borrow (gown/hood/set) and your height. Please note, Roxanne will distribute gowns/hoods/caps at the beginning of Spring term – April 1st. Roxanne’s office hours are 8:00-1:00 p.m. daily.
Is regalia required in order to participate in the SSW commencement ceremony?
Regalia is encouraged, but not required. Regalia has a rich and interesting history.
What are the tassel colors for my particular school?
The SSW color is Citron.
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.
Name cards will be available in the graduate staging area. These cards serve two purposes: 1) Informing the name reader how to pronounce your name phonetically and 2) Providing Grad Images with your email address. Grad Images will email you an event access code so that you can view and purchase your pictures. Remember, if you do not provide your email address, Grad Images will not be able to notify you that your photos are available to view.
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 the SSW Commencement Ceremonies, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I want to share my SSW graduation story with others. Where can I do this?
We want to hear your story! Please email your story to email@example.com.
What if the job I am applying for needs verification that I have an MSW Degree but my diploma isn’t ready?
In this instance, please contact Janet Putnam (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Jim Nash (email@example.com). Janet and Jim can write a letter to the agency where you are applying, confirming that you have met the requirements for the MSW degree and that your diploma will not be available until early September.This letter has been accepted by agencies in past years as proof of graduation.