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Frequently Asked Questions about Graduation at CSUN

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Topics on This Page

Frequently Asked Questions about Graduation at CSUN

Application Process

Graduation Evaluation

Course Substitutions

Grades and GPA

Minors and Second Majors

Missing Units

Transfer Courses

Upper Division Writing Proficiency Exam

Extending My Graduation Date

Degree and Diploma

University Honors

Commencement

After Graduation

 

Answers

What is graduation? Graduation is the process of submitting an "Application for Bachelor's Degree and Diploma," completing all degree requirements, and being awarded the degree. Graduation and Commencement are two different things.

See also What's the difference between Commencement and graduation?

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How soon can I apply for my bachelor's degree? You may apply for graduation if you have met the following minimum criteria:

–and–

Before you apply, consult with an academic advisor to discuss your major and/or minor requirements, approved course substitutions and waivers, appropriate major and minor catalog years, and any needed elective courses.

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How and when do I apply for graduation? Submit an “Application for Bachelor’s Degree and Diploma” for the semester in which you anticipate completing all of your requirements. There are three (3) official graduation dates per year: the final day of the fall semester, the final day of the spring semester, and the final day of summer term.

Each official graduation date has a deadline for students to file the application. Mark your calendar with the application deadline for your official graduation date and the document deadline, published at Graduation Calendar.

Get started and find the application at How Do I Apply for Graduation?

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What happens after I apply to graduate?  After you submit an "Application for Bachelor’s Degree and Diploma," Undergraduate Degree Services (UDS) will provide a graduation evaluation. UDS will review and evaluate your academic records to ensure that all General Education, major/minor, and university degree requirements have been completed.

If you have any questions about your graduation evaluation, contact your academic advisor or Undergraduate Degree Services consultant/evaluator.

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What is the document deadline for graduation? The document deadline for graduation is the last day to submit all required transcripts, course substitution and waiver forms, and other supporting documents to Undergraduate Degree Services in order to confirm awarding of the degree. All coursework must be completed by the end of the semester in which you plan to graduate.

The document deadline for the semester or term in which you plan to graduate is published on the Undergraduate Degree Services Calendar.

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I will complete my last degree requirement in Winter Session 2014. When should I apply for graduation?  You will need to apply for Spring 2014 graduation. Your degree will be conferred and posted after all students’ grades for the Spring 2014 semester are submitted and processed.

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I already applied for graduation a few years ago. Do I need to re-apply for graduation and pay the fee again? If your Application for Bachelor’s Degree and Diploma has been administratively withdrawn, you will need to submit a new Application for Bachelor’s Degree and Diploma along with the processing fee again.

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What should I do to graduate on time? To stay on track to your degree and graduate in good time, review the following resources:

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What is a “graduation evaluation”? Sometimes called a "grad check," the graduation evaluation is a special Degree Progress Report (DPR) that enumerates each degree candidate's completed and remaining degree requirements. Your graduation evaluation/DPR has been reviewed and evaluated by Undergraduate Degree Services to verify the extent to which your degree requirements have been met.

Use your graduation evaluation/DPR as a tool to track your progress toward degree completion, just as you would your regular DPR. Learn more about DPR.

Please note: Online Degree Progress Reports are not available for second bachelor’s degree candidates at this time. Therefore, graduation evaluations will be mailed to the address on record.

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My graduation evaluation indicates that I need to submit a college transcript for my in-progress transfer work even though these courses are not required for my degree. Do I still need to submit this transcript? Yes. All CSUN students are required to submit final, official college transcripts from every institution they have attended prior to graduation. Any “work-in-progress” transcripts that you previously sent to CSUN are part of your record and must be settled with a final transcript and grade.

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Can I substitute a major and/or minor course with another course? All students are expected to meet the graduation requirements for their major and/or minor as enumerated in the CSUN University Catalog. However, an academic department can review the requirements and might allow an exception to a major and/or minor requirement stated in the Catalog. If a course substitution is approved by the department, then a "Course Substitution or Waiver" form (with all of the approval signatures) must be submitted to Undergraduate Degree Services before a modification can be made to the graduation evaluation/DPR. Please contact your major and/or minor department to discuss this option.

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Can I substitute another course for a General Education requirement? All students are required to meet the General Education requirements for their degree objective as enumerated in the CSUN University Catalog. Although an academic department might allow a course substitution for a major and/or minor requirement stated in the Catalog, General Education course requirements cannot be substituted with other courses.

If you have questions about the placement of a General Education course in your Degree Progress Report (DPR):

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How do I calculate my Grade Point Average (GPA)? Calculate your GPA by dividing the number of grade points you've earned in courses that assign letter grades by the number of units you've attempted. (Courses in which grades of CR, NC, I, RP and W are assigned are not used in GPA calculation.)

Your cumulative GPA, CSUN GPA and upper division major GPA display in DPR and MAP.

If you'd like to raise your GPA, you can determine how many credit hours and what grade average you will need to raise your current GPA using the Raise GPA Calculator.

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All my degree requirements will be satisfied except for a course with a grade of "Incomplete." Can I graduate with an Incomplete even though the course is not a degree requirement? No. All grades of Incomplete received at CSUN must be changed to a final grade, and all course requirements must be completed by the end of the semester in which you plan to graduate. If you do not intend to complete the remaining coursework to remove the Incomplete, notify Undergraduate Degree Services as soon as possible.

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Can I drop my minor? You may drop your minor by submitting a "Change of Minor" form to Undergraduate Degree Services. However, you cannot drop your minor if it is required in the major. Please consult with your major advisor.

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All my degree requirements will be satisfied except for my minor and/or second major. Can I graduate and return to CSUN in the future to complete my minor and/or second major? No. If you wish to earn a minor and/or second major, the minor and/or second major must be completed simultaneously with the first major degree. However, if you would like to pursue a second bachelor's degree here, see I Want to Apply.

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All my degree requirements are satisfied except for the overall unit requirement. What are my options to complete the minimum 120 semester units required for my degree? When considering your options to meet the minimum 120 overall semester units, keep these limits in mind:

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I was able to substitute one of my lower division courses for an upper division major requirement. Why am I now missing upper division units? Substituting a lower division course for an upper division major requirement does not give upper division university credit. The lower division units you earned for the substituted course cannot be counted toward the minimum number of upper division units needed to meet the university requirement for a degree.

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I am missing overall upper division units. Can I take a course at another college? It's possible, but be aware of the following limitations:

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Why don't some of my units count toward my bachelor's degree? You may have exceeded the maximum number of units allowed in one or more of the course categories listed below:

In addition:

Verify the maximum units allowed for each enrolled course category. If you have exceeded the unit limit for the course, then the units earned will be deducted. Also check the course numbers of the classes you've taken.

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I have already completed 70 units at a community college. Can I still take a course at my community college to fulfill a lower division General Education requirement or a lower division major requirement?  Yes. The course can meet a degree requirement, but no additional units will be applied toward the minimum number of units required to graduate. For any major or minor requirements, please consult with your major/minor advisor for approval before enrolling in the transfer course.

For more information about transferring General Education courses and major requirements to CSUN, refer to Transfer Course Information.

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All of my degree requirements will be satisfied except for the Upper Division Writing Proficiency Exam. Do I need to change my planned graduation date?  It depends. If you passed the Upper Division Writing Proficiency Exam (UDWPE) on a test date later than the last possible exam date approved for your graduation date, you will need to change your planned graduation date.

Example: As stated on the UDWPE website, the last exam date for the Spring 2013 undergraduate graduation is May 25, 2013. Therefore, if you pass the UDWPE on the June 29, 2013 test date, you will need to change your graduation date from Spring 2013 to Summer 2013 by submitting the Bachelor's Degree Date Change Form.

The last possible UDWPE test dates for fall, spring or summer graduation are published on the UDWPE website.

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I won’t be able to complete my degree requirements by the end of the semester in which I applied to graduate. What should I do? If you realize that you will not complete your degree requirements by your planned graduation date, you must change your graduation date as soon as possible as this will affect your registration for the upcoming semester.

Degree candidates who wish to change their graduation date must submit a Bachelor’s Degree Date Change form, available at Undergraduate Degree Services Forms. We recommend that you consult with your advisor or an Undergraduate Degree Services consultant/evaluator as soon as possible to discuss your options.

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When will my degree be posted on my transcript? After all students' university grades are submitted for the semester or term of your planned graduation, we will begin reviewing all degree candidates’ academic records. Because of the time required for "end of term" processing (including repeat action, GPA calculation, and academic status) and the volume of degree applicants, the degree awarding process may take 3 to 5 weeks after the completion of the term or semester.

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I'll complete all degree requirements in Summer Session 2. Will my degree show up after my Summer Session 2? Your summer term degree cannot be posted immediately after you complete Summer Session 2.

After all students' university grades are submitted for all summer sessions, Undergraduate Degree Services will begin reviewing all degree candidates' academic records. Because of the time required for "end of term" processing (including repeat action, GPA calculation, and academic status) and the volume of degree applicants, the degree awarding process may take 3 to 5 weeks after the completion of the term or semester.

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When will I receive my diploma? Diplomas will be mailed to the address on record within 4 to 6 weeks after the degree is conferred. Please verify and update your current mailing address by logging into myNorthridge Portal, locating the Quick Links box, and selecting SOLAR Student Center > Personal Information.

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Will my major option, minor, and honors be printed on my diploma?

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What if I need proof that I graduated? Once your degree has been conferred, you can obtain official transcripts that document your degree information. See How to Obtain a Transcript.

Employers and other agencies seeking degree verifications should contact the National Student Clearinghouse.

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Am I a University Honors Candidate? A student who has met the Honors criteria when the graduation evaluation is completed will be designated an "Honors Candidate." The student will be listed as an Honors Candidate in the Commencement Program. S/he is also eligible to purchase the Honors Medallion at the Matador Bookstore.

Please note that candidacy for University Honors does not guarantee that honors will be awarded when the degree is conferred. Conversely, a student who did not meet the Honors criteria when the graduation evaluation was conducted may still be awarded University Honors if the Honors criteria are met when the degree is later conferred.

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What is Honors Convocation? Honors Convocation is the annual ceremony to recognize outstanding undergraduate and graduate degree candidates. It is distinct from University Honors.

Candidates may be invited to the Honors Convocation for both scholastic and personal achievement. An invitation to participate in the Honors Convocation Ceremony does not automatically guarantee eligibility for University Honors.

To view the criteria for Honors Convocation participation, visit www.csun.edu/commencement/honors

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What's the difference between Commencement and graduation? Commencement is the ceremony where faculty, family, and friends gather to celebrate the degree candidates' academic achievements. During the ceremony, your name will be called and you will "walk" across the stage to receive congratulations.

Graduation, however, is the process of submitting an Application for the Bachelor's Degree and Diploma, completing all degree requirements, and being awarded the degree.

Your degree is official not when you participate in the Commencement ceremony, but when your degree is awarded and posted on your CSUN transcript.

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When is the Commencement ceremony, and am I eligible to “walk” in it?  The Commencement ceremony is held once a year at the end of the spring semester. Only students who earned their bachelor’s degree in the previous fall semester, as well as degree candidates for the current spring and summer terms, may participate in Commencement. For example, only students who graduated in Fall 2013 and candidates for Spring 2014 and Summer 2014 graduation are eligible to participate in the 2014 Commencement ceremony.

Please note: In order to participate in the ceremony and have your name published in the program, you must apply to graduate by the Commencement deadline published in the Graduation Calendar.

For ceremony information, visit CSUN Commencement.

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After I’ve officially graduated, can I transfer more courses to improve my cumulative grade point average? No. Once your degree has been conferred and you have officially graduated, your undergraduate records cannot be updated with new coursework.

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Can I register for classes at CSUN after I’ve graduated? No. However, if you wish to continue your education after graduation, you may enroll in courses through the Tseng College of Extended Learning or reapply for admission to CSUN as a post-baccalaureate student.

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