Commencement vs. Graduation
Commencement is a ceremony that celebrates the completion (or near completion) of a degree. Participation in a commencement ceremony does not indicate that you have officially graduated or completed all degree requirements.
Graduation marks the completion of all degree requirements and coursework as recorded on your official transcript. Learn more about expected graduation quarters, changing your graduation quarter, applying for graduation as a masters student, diplomas and more by visiting the Office or the Registrar's Graduation Process site.
Once you have reached 72% or more of degree completion (78% for Architecture and Landscape Architecture majors), you are assigned a graduation quarter. To view your assignment quarter:
- Log on to your Cal Poly Portal
- Click the "Academics" tab
- Under "General Degree Resources" click "Poly Profile"
- Under the "Career Program Plans" section, you will find “Expected graduation is XXX quarter”
- If you are scheduled to graduate in Winter, Spring or Summer quarter, you are automatically scheduled to participate in the Spring Commencement Ceremony. Students will automatically begin receiving information about Spring Commencement via email in Spring quarter.
- If you are scheduled to graduate in Fall quarter, you are automatically scheduled to participate in the Fall Commencement Ceremony. Students will automatically begin receiving information about Fall Commencement via email in Fall quarter.
Change Your Commencement Ceremony
Please note: In order to have your name listed in the Fall Commencement program, you must complete the Commencement Request Form no later than Friday, October 12. Any students who submit after this date will be able to participate in Fall Commencement but will not have their name listed in the program.
When to submit a Commencement Request Form:
- If you would like to participate in a commencement ceremony that is different than the one you are scheduled to participate in. (Learn how to check your graduation quarter above).
- If you are a 4+1 student and would like to participate in commencement at the completion of the undergraduate portion of your program.
- If you are an undergraduate student and submitted a Change of Degree Completion Term form late (less than one quarter prior to the quarter you plan to graduate).
- If you are a graduate student and submitted your Application for Graduation form late (less than one quarter prior to the quarter you plan to graduate).
Not sure if you need to submit a Commencement Request Form? Contact the Commencement Office at 805-756-1600 or firstname.lastname@example.org.