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    CSUN Commencement

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

To address questions from students, families, and the campus community about future commencement ceremony plans we have created the FAQ's below.  

Should you have additional questions that have yet to get answered, please send us an email directly at

APPLYING TO GRADUATE: Do I have to do this? What does this mean?

All students must formally apply to graduate to be eligible to participate in commencement ceremonies.

Although we encourage all our eligible graduates from both the Class of 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 to participate at this year's ceremonies, your participation is not mandatory.

CEREMONY: What are the ceremony plans for the graduating classes of 2019-2020 & 2020-2021?


After careful consideration of the health and safety of our Graduates and CSUN community, we can confirm that CSUN will be celebrating the accomplishments for the Class of 2019-2020 and the Class of 2020-2021 during the Virtual Commencement Ceremonies in May 2021. The Virtual Commencement Ceremonies will provide the opportunity for individual name recognition, traditional speeches, and an official welcome to the Alumni Association.

CSUN and the California State University (CSU) system as a whole is first and foremost concerned for the health and safety for all students and campus visitors. Currently, all 23 CSU campuses will offer primarily virtual instruction with minimum access to campuses through Spring 2021 given the COVID-19 pandemic.

This decision, in addition to Los Angeles County Department of Public Health prohibitions against large public gatherings, means that in-person commencement ceremonies are not currently authorized.

Can we delay or postpone this year's ceremonies until we can all gather on campus again?

For the past several years, CSUN commencement ceremonies have consisted of 7 college-based ceremonies that occur over a 4-day period each May. Each of these seven annual ceremonies serves up to 10,500 students and guests. The Class of 2019-20 includes 11,108 graduates alone, and this year’s graduating class is projected to be similar in size. Typically, approximately 74% of eligible graduates participate in the ceremonies and each graduate is allowed up to 7 guests. With already over 20,000 eligible graduates to celebrate (including graduates from both the 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 academic years) the university has chosen to move forward with a virtual ceremony format so that degrees can be conferred at this time rather than await an unknown future date when health conditions would allow for a safe return to campus. 

Outdoor health and safety guidelines to minimize the spread of COVID-19 per the Los Angeles County Department of Health do not allow for large outdoor gatherings or ceremonies to take place at this time. 

CEREMONY: What can I expect during my ceremony?

We are making every effort to ensure that all virtual commencement ceremonies capture the spirit of celebration and personalized recognition that our remarkable graduates deserve.

This series of virtual events will consist of an “All University Virtual Commencement Ceremony” to officially confer all degrees upon graduates, followed by a series of “College-Based Virtual Ceremonies” that would feature individual student recognitions.

  • All University Virtual Commencement Ceremony Program Elements
    • The University President will confer all degrees, joined by the Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs, the Vice President for Student Affairs, and other University leaders. 
    • Honorary guests and honored graduating students will also be recognized, including, Outstanding Graduating Student Award recipients, and the Wolfson Scholarship Award Winner.
    • Program will include speakers representing Associated Students, Alumni Association and potential keynotes.
  • College-Based Virtual Ceremony Program Elements 
    • College Deans and Associate Deans will join the Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs along with 1 -2 Cabinet members to officiate the ceremony.  An honorary student speaker will be selected for each college ceremony, in addition to other celebratory program elements.
    • Participating graduate names will be called aloud by professional name readers, accompanied by a graduate “tile” or slide (featuring a photo of the graduating student) that will be showcased on the screen as names are announced. Names will be pronounced in alphabetical order by last name. 
    • Graduate Tiles will afford students the opportunity to include their photo, field of study and/or an inspirational quote.  Students graduating with honors will have a specialized tile frame to acknowledge this distinction.

CEREMONY TIME: What's the Time/Date for the ceremonies?





Saturday May 15, 2021


All-University Commencement Ceremony


Friday May 21, 2021


Mike Curb College of Arts Media and Comm.


Saturday May 22, 2021


David Nazarian College of Business and Economics



Michael D. Eisner College of Education



College of Engineering and Computer Science



Sunday May 23, 2021


College of Health and Human Development



College of Humanities


Monday May 24, 2021


College of Science and Math



College of Social and Behavioral Sciences



Students will receive 2 souvenir program booklets in their GradBox. These booklets will contain graduating student names and degrees. 

CULTURAL CELEBRATIONS: Do we have these? How can I attend?

Although the commencement office does not directly oversee Cultural Celebrations, we encourage other departments and our campus partners to continue these traditions to the extent they can be conducted virtually and in compliance with COVID health and safety guidelines.

For more information regarding cultural celebrations, please connect with the appropriate academic department or organization. As information becomes available to us, we will be happy to share it in the Ceremony Schedules section of this website, or in this dedicated webpage here.

DIPLOMA & DIPLOMA COVER: How will I receive mine?

While the commencement office oversees specifics as they relate to the commencement ceremonies, it is Admissions & Records who coordinates the distribution/mailing of a graduates diplomas.  

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 end of the term or semester.

After the degree is granted, the diploma will be mailed to the address on record within 4 to 6 weeks. To ensure receipt, confirm and update your address online now: Log into my Northridge and select Home tab > Quick Links box > SOLAR Student Center > Personal Information section. There you can specify a diploma mailing address. Helpful: Update Personal Information

Diploma Cover
Commencement staff will ensure that all eligible graduates can receive their diploma cover. We plan to have Graduation Celebration Boxes sent to all students, which will include a diploma cover inside among other things.  

GRADBOX: What is it? Do I get one?

This year, CSUN will be sending a Graduation Celebration Box (GradBox) that will include the diploma cover, CSUN license plate, CSUN souvenir tassel, CSUN pennant, and 2 souvenir program booklets. GradBoxes are set to be delivered in June after the Car Parades conclude to those students who have RSVP/Confirmed their participation for the virtual commencement ceremonies by May 7th.

GradBoxes will also include the CSUN Honors Medallion for those who have graduated with Honors or Distinction. For more information on Honors and/or Distinction, please see other FAQ drop-downs.


GRADBOX: When will I recieve it?

For graduates attending the Car Parade, they will pick it up there. For graduates that have registered for one, and will not be attending the Car Parade, we will be mailing them out during the first week of June. 

GRADFEST: What’s happening with GradFest?

GradFest has served as a one-stop-shop for all graduation needs including renting caps and gowns, sashes, announcements, class rings, diploma frames, graduation banners & flags and more. This year, we will be offering this service virtually on March 10th and 11th. Visit our GradFest webpage to find out how to reserve a session. 

GRAD PORTRAITS: Do I need to take these?

Graduates do not have to take graduation portraits; however, during the College-Based Virtual Commencement Ceremonies, each participating graduate will have a Tile created for them detailing their name, major/field of study, and their photo. Graduates can rent caps and gowns through the CSUN Campus Store for the purpose of taking graduation portraits to use for their respective slides.  

HONORS: I'm graduating with Honors/Distinction... what does that mean?

During College-Based Commencement Ceremonies, each participating graduate will have a slide created for them that details their name, major/field of study, and their photo. Graduates that have earned University Academic Honors will also have “Graduating with Honors” (for undergraduates) and “Graduating with Distinction” (for master’s students) added to their slides.

Graduates that are awarded with the Outstanding Graduating Senior Award (OGSA) or selected as the Wolfson Scholar, will be honored at the All University Virtual Commencement Ceremony.

* Criteria on graduating with "Honors" or "Distinction" can be found on the FAQ drop-down entitled "HONORS or DISTINCTION: What is that? Do I qualify?" or by clicking the HONORS link on the main commencement website page. 

Two souvenir program booklets will be provided to all graduates in the GradBox. The program includes a listing of:

  • University Academic Honor Students - which include the level of honors they have earned.
    (students who earn their degree in the Fall term of the established academic year)
  • University Academic Honors Candidates - which are listed by name only.
    (students who earn their degree in the Spring or Summer terms of the established academic year)

HONORS or DISTINCTION: What is that? Do I qualify?

Honors at Graduation (Undergraduate) is referenced in the University Catalog and states the following:

To receive honors at graduation, a student must:

  1. Complete a minimum of 30 units of work in letter-graded courses at CSUN.
  2. Earn a GPA of 3.50 or above in all work taken at CSUN and cumulatively (transfer and CSUN work).

The level of honors is based on the grade point average in all undergraduate courses, including transfer work (cumulative). The level of honors is determined as follows:

  • Summa Cum Laude - GPA of 3.90 or above
  • Magna Cum Laude - GPA of 3.75 to 3.89
  • Cum Laude - GPA of 3.50 to 3.74

For questions about Honors at Graduation, see Graduation FAQs, visit the Undergraduate Degree Services office, call (818) 677-3781, or email

If University Honors is awarded when the degree is granted, honors will be reflected on your diploma and your CSUN transcript.


Graduating with Distinction is referenced in the University Catalog and states the following:

"A student may receive the Master’s degree with distinction by maintaining a 3.885 or higher GPA on all formal Master’s degree program coursework. The notation “With Distinction’’ is posted with the degree on the transcript, and also will appear on the diploma."
You can also inquire with the office of Research and Graduate Studies (818) 677-2138.

This suggests that students earning a masters degree do not earn "University Academic Honors" as that term and designation are for undergraduate degree recipients.

The notation “With Distinction’’ is posted on the degree and on the transcript for students earning a masters degree possessing a 3.885 or higher GPA on formal Master’s degree program coursework.

NOTE: Dean's List determinations, and/or honor society involvement does not guarantee eligibility for "Honors" or "Distinction".  Please check the University Catalog for further details. 

Students who have graduated with Honors or Distinction are eligible to purchase a specific sash and/or honors cords at the CSUN Campus Store.

Since final grades are not tabulated until after the commencement ceremonies have concluded, candidacy for Honors and Distinction does not guarantee it will be awarded when the degree is conferred. The same in reverse applies for students not designated as an Honors/Distinction Candidate; Honors/Distinction will be awarded if criteria are met when the degree is conferred.

HOODING CEREMONIES: Do we have these?

Although the commencement office does not directly oversee Hooding Ceremonies, we encourage other departments and our campus partners to explore their options.
For more information regarding Hooding Ceremonies, please connect with the appropriate academic department. As information becomes available to us, we will be happy to share it in the Ceremony Schedules section of this webpage.

NAME CALLING: Will my name get called during the virtual ceremony?

Yes, during the College-Based Virtual Ceremony, participating graduate names will be called aloud by professional name readers, accompanied by a Graduate Tile that will be showcased on the screen as names are announced. Graduates names will be called in alphabetical order by last name. 

PARADE: What are the details on the Grad Parade?

All information on the Grad Parade can be found here:

PARADE: What is the Grad Parade?

To compliment the upcoming Virtual Ceremonies, CSUN will be hosting an on-campus Grad Parade Beginning on Tuesday, May 25th.  As a vehicle based parade, graduates will drive or be driven through inner campus walkways and streets to experience the University like never before. The parade route will be filled with special moments crafted to celebrate our graduates and leave a lasting impression. More information on the Grad Parade will be posted soon and will be found on the CSUN Commencement website on both a Grad Parade and FAQ pages.    

REGALIA (CAP & GOWN): Do I need one? Where do I go? What If I already have my own?

We encourage all those that wish to participate to rent their cap and gown to take graduate pictures that will be integrated into their Graduate Tile. We will provide more information on how to share photos of you in your cap and gown at a later time through your Graduate Tile and through the Graduate PhotoBook. 

The CSUN Campus Store partners with Herff Jones to produce CSUN's commencement regalia. Student cap/gown orders will coincide with the GradFest event in March.

Grads who have already purchased their commencement regalia (Grads from 2019/2020) please consider the options below:

  • You can hold on them until you have taken photos which can be used for your personalized Graduate Tile (see other FAQ's above) and then return it to Herff Jones. 

RSVP/CONFIRM: Do I need to confirm my participation?

Yes. Information on how to RSVP/confirm your place in the May 2021 commencement exercises and the in-car parade have been sent to your CSUN email account. When you confirm your participation, you will have the opportunity to upload a graduate portrait photo for your tile and secure your GradBox. Once registration opens, you will have until May 7, 2021 to make adjustments to your portrait photo and any other part of your registration. Please review the Commencement Registration Guide to help you through this process. 

(Additional GradBox information can be found in the FAQ drop-down entitled "GRADBOX: What is it? Do I get one?")

RSVP/CONFIRM: Do I need to upload a photo to complete the registration page?

No. We encourage all graduates looking forward to participating in the virtual ceremonies or the car parade reserve their space as early as possible. Graduates will have until May 7, 2021 to uplaod a portrait photo or make adjustments to any part of their registration. They can access the account with the same link that was emailed to them initially.