FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN GRADUATION AND COMMENCEMENT?

Graduation is the completion of all degree requirements as recorded on the official transcript. Commencement is the ceremony in which degrees are conferred on candidates who are eligible to graduate for a given term. Participation in the commencement ceremony does not imply that you have officially graduated.

WHAT IS REGALIA?

Academic regalia is a traditional form of clothing for academic settings worn by those who have been bestowed a university degree.

At Cal State LA, candidates obtaining a bachelor’s degree wear a black gown, black cap, and black tassel.

Candidates obtaining a master’s degree will wear a master’s gown (sleeve is oblong and through the base of the sleeve hangs down in the typical manner, it is square cut at the rear part of the oblong shape), black cap, black tassel, and hood associated with their degree discipline.

Candidates obtaining a doctoral degree will wear a black robe (with three velvet bands on the sleeve, and velvet facing running down the front of the gown), black tam, gold tassel, and doctoral hood associated with their degree discipline.

CAN FALL 2020 GRADUATING CANDIDATES PARTICIPATE IN THE 2020 CEREMONIES?

Candidates who are applying for graduation fall 2020 semester will be invited to participate in the May 2021 Commencement ceremonies. For international students graduating during the fall 2020 semester, and looking to participate in Commencement 2020, due to visa requirements, must see an advisor at the International Office no later than April 1, 2020. The advisor will verify and confirm eligibility and get approval from the candidate's college Associate Dean, and University Events and Protocol (the office that manages Commencement).

HOW LONG IS EACH COMMENCEMENT CEREMONY?

Each Commencement ceremony will last about 1 hour and 30 minutes or less depending on the size of the college. Graduating candidates and their guests are expected to remain for the duration of the ceremony.

WHEN CAN GRADUATING CANDIDATES RESERVE GUEST TICKETS?

Candidates who graduated in fall 2019 or winter 2020 OR projected to graduate and are on track to complete all their degree requirements by the end of spring 2020 or summer 2020, will be able to confirm their participation and reserve guest tickets at Grad Fair on April 8 and 9, 2020 at the Golden Eagle Ballroom from 10 a.m. - 7 p.m. (student I.D. required). After Grad Fair, starting April 20, 2020 at 9 a.m. (PT) through May 1, 2020 at 5 p.m. (PT) graduating candidates can reserve their guest tickets online.  After 5 p.m. on May 1, participation and guest tickets will no longer be guaranteed.

HOW MANY TICKETS CAN GRADUATING CANDIDATES RESERVE?

Graduating candidates who confirm their participation during Grad Fair or during the online registration period of April 20, 2020 to May 1, 2020 are confirmed to receive 5 – 7 tickets depending on the college ceremony. Please see the ticket allotment listing.

IS THERE A CHARGE FOR TICKETS?

No, tickets are free of charge. The University does not support and authorize the sale of Commencement tickets. Tickets that are bought or sold are subject to invalidation by the University.

DO GRADUATING CANDIDATES NEED TICKETS?

No, tickets are only required for guests. However, graduating candidates must register and confirm their participation during Grad Fair or during the online registration of April 20, 2020 to May 1, 2020. After May 1, 2020 at 5 p.m. (PT), participation and guest ticket reservation is no longer guaranteed.

CAN GUESTS RESERVE THEIR OWN TICKETS?

No, only candidates who graduated in fall 2019 or winter 2020 OR are projected to graduate and are on track to complete all their degree requirements by the end of spring 2020 or summer 2020, may reserve guest tickets at Grad Fair or from April 20, 2020, at 9 a.m. (PT) through May 1, 2020, at 5 p.m. (PT) online.

DO CHILDREN NEED TICKETS?

Yes. Due to safety and capacity constraints, all guests including infants and children must have a ticket.

IS THERE ACCOMMODATION TO FEED AND CHANGE A BABY?

Yes. We have a lactation and infant changing room inside the Physical Education building a few doors down from the main doors of the University Gymnasium. The ceremonies will be livestreamed at this location. Only ticketed guests are allowed in this space.

CAN GRADUATING CANDIDATES HAVE GUESTS WITH THEM WHEN THEY CROSS THE STAGE?

No, guests including children are not permitted on stage, in the Academic Recession, or in the graduates’ seating area. There are no exceptions to this rule

WHAT TIME SHOULD GRADUATING CANDIDATES AND GUESTS ARRIVE?

Graduating candidates should plan to arrive at the check-in station (on the south side of the University Gymnasium) at least 60 minutes prior to the ceremony. Graduating candidates must bring a valid photo ID (University or government issued) for verification.

Guests may arrive as early as 90 minutes prior to the ceremony. Gates will close five minutes before the ceremony and will reopen after the national anthem. 

ARE THERE IN-AND-OUT PRIVILEGES AT THE GYMNASIUM?

Once guest tickets have been scanned, there are no in-and-out privileges.

WHAT ITEMS ARE PROHIBITED INSIDE THE GYMNASIUM?

The following items will not be allowed inside the venue:

  • Alcohol
  • Balloons
  • Beverages (there will be water stations inside the building lobby)
  • Bicycles
  • Bottles and cans
  • Cigarettes and E-cigarettes (the University is a tobacco and vape-free campus)
  • Chairs (portable)
  • Coolers
  • Drones
  • Drugs
  • Fireworks
  • Flags with poles
  • Food (baby food permitted)
  • Large size purses, backpacks, satchels, and duffel bags
  • Large umbrellas (umbrellas must fit in purse or bag)
  • Laser pointers
  • Mega phones
  • Pets (except for service animals)
  • Rollerblades
  • Signs larger than 16” x 20”
  • Skateboards
  • Strollers
  • Weapons (including chains, firearms, knives, spiked jewelry and belts, sticks)

ARE PETS ALLOWED INSIDE THE GYMNASIUM?

Pets are not allowed except for service animals. Service animals are working animals trained to perform tasks for the benefit of individuals with physical or mental disabilities such as guiding people who are blind, alerting people who are deaf, alerting and protecting people prone to seizures, or other tasks directly related to a disability.

Animals whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support do not qualify as service animals under the American with Disabilities Act, and cannot be brought inside the event venue.

HOW CAN GRADUATES ORDER COPIES OF THEIR COMMENCEMENT PHOTOS TAKEN ON STAGE?

During check-in of the graduating candidates, they must complete the back of the name card to ensure receipt of the digital proofs. The name cards are used for the Name Readers and the photographers. Grad Images will be taking pictures of the graduating candidates on stage. After the ceremonies, electronic proofs are emailed to the graduates for purchase of their photos.

WHEN DO GRADUATES GET THEIR OFFICIAL DIPLOMA?

Graduates will receive their diploma by mail after official certification that they have successfully completed all degree requirements. Please allow up to 6 weeks. After the degree is awarded, graduates can track the progress of their diploma using the following link: https://www.michaelsutter.com/calstatela.