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Commencement FAQs

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 pdx.edu/registration/applying-degree for more information on graduation deadlines.

The final deadline to guarantee your name will be included in the printed commencement program is April 30, 2017. The last day to register to walk in the commencement ceremonies is June 1, 2017. Any requests after these deadlines cannot be guaranteed.

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. 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 1-2 business days 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. 

How do I know if I'm registered (or not) for the commencement ceremony?

After the student has submitted their application to graduate, a confirmation email from the commencement office will be sent to their pdx.edu email account to notify the student of their commencement ceremony participation. Please expect this intial email to be sent 1-2 business days after the application is submitted. If no email is found, check your spam folder before contacting our office. Students who indicated they will be participating will receive additional emails from now until the ceremony automatically to their pdx.edu inbox without taking any additional steps.

If you have not received any emails from our office, please email commencement@pdx.edu to inquire about your status.

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 3-5 business days. We will email you once your record has been updated.

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

The last day to register for Commencement is June 1, 2017. Any requests after these deadlines cannot be guaranteed.


Ceremony Dates & Times

When is the Commencement Ceremony for this academic year (2016-2017)?

Commencement will be held on Sunday, June 18, 2017 at the Moda Center (formerly the Rose Garden Arena). 

What are the ceremony times?

Professional Schools & Colleges* will attend our Morning Ceremony from 10:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

College of Liberal Arts & Sciences will attend our Afternoon Ceremony from 3:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

*Professional Schools include: College of Urban & Public Affairs, School of Business Administration, Graduate School of Education, Maseeh College of Engineering and Computer Science, College of the Arts, School of Public Health, and School of Social Work.

I'm unsure of which School or College my major falls under, how can I find out?

Undergraduate students, please visit: https://www.pdx.edu/undergraduate-programs

Graduate students, please visit: https://www.pdx.edu/graduate-programs

When is Fall, Winter, or Summer Commencement?

PSU celebrates student's achievements following the Spring quarter. There is no Fall, Winter or Summer commencement ceremonies. Certain Schools and Colleges have separate celebrations available to their graduates throughout the year. Connect with your program adviser for more information.

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 2017 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?

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

2017-2018 academic year will be celebrated between June 13-18, 2018 (subject to change - more information will be posted by late July 2017).

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 graduate line-up and parking. Out of respect to others, students and guest are expected to stay for the entire ceremony.

Ceremony Participation

Which commencement ceremony can I participate in?

Undergraduate and Master's students that are receiving a degree from Fall 2016-Fall 2017 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 2017 University Commencement Ceremony if I am not eligible for graduation Fall 2016-Fall 2017?

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. Requests are not guaranteed approval but each request will be reviewed.

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

I graduated last year or 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-wide 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 2017 Graduates: University Place Hotel and Conference Center is hosting a 'PSU Friends and Family Graduation' 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?

Students with a F-1 or J-1 visa, can request invitation letters using the online request system Worldlink. You ODIN will be used to log in to the system.

Students with other immigration statuses, please visit the Office of International Affairs, East Hall room 101 in person, Monday through Friday 8:00am-5:00pm. Letters take between 3 and 5 days to process. Please take your student ID with you.

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 (graduates do not need a ticket for themselves) 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 $9 each. The Moda Center has ample seating and we do not anticipate running out of seats.

Do children need a ticket?

If the child needs/wants their own seat, they need their own ticket. Children without tickets must be of lap size and fit comfortably.

When/Where can I pick up my tickets?

Tickets will be available through our online ticket portal and in-person at the PSU Box Office on Monday, May 1, 2017. Each graduate is allotted four free tickets (graduates do not need a ticket for themselves).

For instructions on how to access your tickets online, please visit the PSU Box Office homepage for step-by-step instructions. The PSU Box Office is located on the first floor of Smith Memorial Student Union, across from Subway.

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 (ATM's are limited, please bring cash if possible). 

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 trying to access your tickets on or after May 1st, 2017. Tickets are unavailable until this date.

2. You are registered to participate in the 2017 Commencement ceremonies on Sunday, June 18th. Only students who are registered to participate in the university-wide Commencement will receive 4 free tickets.

3. 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. 

4. You are selecting the correct ceremony on the Commencement Ticket homepageAll other Professional Schools and Colleges will participate in the morning ceremony. Majors under the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences will attend 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? How do I know if I'm eligible?

Please visit the Latin Honors page for more information and to learn how PSU awards latin honors. 

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 regardless of your participation in our commencement ceremony.

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 (students and guests) will be expected to conduct themselves in a mature and responsible manner. Out of respect to other graduates and guests, all participants are expected to stay for the entire ceremony.

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 24 & May 25. The last day regalia can be preordered using our online site is Friday, April 21, 2017. Orders placed after this date may incur additional fees.

Starting April 24th, students can preorder items in-person 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 19th. 

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?

SCHOOLDEGREESCOLOR
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
School of Public Heath Health Studies, 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 askdars@pdx.edu.

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 the day of commencement and OPB1 the following weekend. More information will be released closer to the ceremony on our homepage.

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.

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.

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

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