Frequently Asked Questions about Commencement

Frequently Asked Questions about Commencement

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 coursework 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 and register to walk in commencement is April 30th, 2019. 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 the Western Hemlock Trailer Pod 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 the application to graduate. Please apply to graduate in order to register for the ceremony. 

Graduating students must participate in the ceremony date and time assigned based on their school/college and are not allowed to participate in a different ceremony if their major does not belong to that specific school/college. Refer to our ceremony information page for details.

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. Emails will begin to be sent to all registered students starting in January of the current year (i.e. Jan 2019 for the 2019 Spring Ceremony). Please expect this initial email to be sent up to 5 business days after the application is submitted. 

Students who indicated they will be participating will receive additional emails starting February until the ceremony date. They will be sent automatically to their pdx.edu inbox without taking any additional steps.

If no email is found, check your spam folder before contacting our office. 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. Please allow 5 business days from when you submit the form for your request to be processed. Our office will go through on a weekly basis to update records.

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 April 30, 2019. Any requests after these deadlines cannot be guaranteed.

 

Ceremony Dates & Times

What is the commencement schedule for 2019?

Date School/College Location Time* Additional Information

Friday, June 14, 2019

College of Education Viking Pavilion 3-5pm

COE Commencement Website

Saturday, June 15, 2019

The School of Business

Viking Pavilion TBA

SB Commencement Website

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Professional Schools & Colleges** Moda Center 10am-12:30pm

PSU Commencement Website

Sunday, June 16, 2019

College of Liberal Arts & Sciences Moda Center 3:30pm-6pm

PSU Commencement Website

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.

When are the Commencement Ceremonies for future dates?

2019-2020 academic year will be celebrated between June 12-14, 2020 (subject to change - more information will be posted by September 2019).

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?

All undergraduate, masters, and graduate certificate students graduating Fall 2018-Fall 2019 are eligible to participate in commencement. All doctoral students graduating Summer 2018-Spring 2019 who have been certified by the Office of Graduate Studies are eligible to participate in commencement.

PSU no longer holds a Summer Commencement. Graduating students must participate in the ceremony date and time assigned based on their school/college. Not sure what school/college your major belongs to?

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

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

How can I participate in the Spring 2019 University Commencement Ceremony if I am not eligible for graduation Fall 2018-Fall 2019?

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 the reason for wanting to participate 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 commencement ceremony. Are there any alternatives?

Many departments and programs hold their own events to celebrate their students and/or communities. For a list of additional graduation celebrations, please visit our 2019 PSU Graduation Celebrations page.

These events may require their own separate registration (as they are not connected to the graduation application). Connect with the specific department/group for more information.

*Please note that these events do not replace the commencement ceremonies at the Viking Pavilion and Moda Center.

I have two majors. Can I walk with both?

Unfortunately, you cannot walk with both programs as you must choose one ceremony to participate in.

You will need to choose the major you want to be recognized with and walk during the ceremony.

Tickets & Guests

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

Attention 2019 Graduates: University Place Hotel and Conference Center is hosting a 'PSU Friends and Family Graduation' special just for you! Included in your stay are 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! Just a couple blocks away from the Viking Pavilion!

Rates start at just $84 plus tax. Call their front desk for more information.

For additional information about other lodging options in Portland for your guests, please search for lodging on Google.

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, Karl Miller Center 6th floor in person, Monday-Friday 8AM-5PM. Letters take between 3 and 5 days to process. Please take your student ID with you.

Domestic students requesting an invitation letter for family and guests can stop by the Degree Requirements office, in person, Monday-Friday 8AM-5PM, located in the Western Hemlock Trailer Pod.

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

Tickets vary by ceremony date and location. Please refer to the Tickets Section for more information.

Do children need a ticket?

School of Business & Moda Center Ceremonies: Children 2 years and younger do not require a ticket but 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 for the College of Education ceremony?

Information about tickets are TBD. Please check back for updates.

More information about the College of Education ceremony can be found on the COE ceremony page.

When/Where can I pick up my tickets for the School of Business ceremonies?

Information about tickets are TBD. Please check back for updates.

More information about the School of Business ceremonies can be found on the SB ceremony page.

When/Where can I pick up my tickets for the Moda Center ceremonies?

Information about tickets are TBD. Please check back for updates.

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 after May TBD 2019. Tickets are unavailable until this date.

2. You are registered to participate in the 2019 Commencement ceremonies on June 15 & 16. Only students who are registered to participate in university commencement will receive free tickets to their account. Are you a College of Education student? Check the COE ceremony page for more info.

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 homepage. School of Business students will attend the ceremonies on June 15 at the Viking Pavilion. All Professional Schools and Colleges will participate in the morning ceremony at Moda Center on June 16. Majors under the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences will attend the afternoon ceremony later that same day at the Moda Center. Are you a College of Education student? Check the COE ceremony page for more info.

*If you are still experiencing issues accessing 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.
  • No outside food or beverages allowed.
  • 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.

The last day to order your regalia online is TBD. All regalia is only available for purchase (PSU does not offer rentals) and is final sale.

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?

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
School of Public Health 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?

The Moda Center 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 my Commencement Ceremony, who should I ask?

Question about the College of Education ceremony should be directed to Erica at gseinfo@pdx.edu or call 503-725-9942.

Questions about the School of Business ceremonies should be directed to sbcommencement@pdx.edu or call 503-725-3712, option #4.

Questions about the Moda Center ceremonies (all other schools/colleges) should be directed to commencement@pdx.edu or call the Enrollment Management front desk at 503-725-5249.