Student FAQs for Commencement

Grad camera

May 9, 2023

Commencement FAQ for Students

The Film & Media department commencement ceremony:

Tuesday, May 16 | 2PM | Zellerbach Auditorium

How long is the ceremony?

The ceremony starts promptly at 2pm and lasts approximately 2 hours. The reception will follow on Lower Sproul courtyard. 

What time should I arrive at Zellerbach Auditorium?

Students are asked to arrive by 1pm. We will line up to enter Zellerbach at 1:30pm. Degree candidates line up on the Lower Sproul Plaza in the following order: Faculty, Ph.D. candidates, B.A. candidates. You will receive a card with your name and pronunciation on it. Changes to the cards are acceptable and pens will be distributed. 

How does the Processional, Scrolls, and Recessional work?

Ph.D. candidates are seated on stage. B.A. students are seated in the middle rows of Zellerbach. We ask that student speakers sit in the front row. When your group is announced (Film & Media B.A. students), the whole group should stand up and walk towards the north end of the stage in one continuous line (staff will direct students). Hand your card to the name reader, walk across the stage, receive your scroll and exit the other end of the stage. Grad Images will take a picture of each degree candidate just before the candidate walks across the stage and again as the candidate receives a scroll. Be sure to space yourselves and smile!

Remain standing until after your degree group has been granted degrees by the Chair. 

When the ceremony ends, the recession will begin with faculty, followed by Ph.D. candidates, and the front row of B.A. candidates, followed by ascending rows. Meet in Lower Sproul for the reception.

Which direction should I move my tassel?

Your tassel should be on the right side of your cap prior to the ceremony and on the left side after your group has been granted a degree by the Chair.

Is regalia required?

No, regalia is not required. We do suggest wearing business casual attire for the event. Regalia is available for purchase or rent at the Cal Student Store

Ph.D. Candidates Instruction

Each Ph.D. degree candidate will be hooded by their thesis professor as part of the commencement ceremony. 

When your name is announced during the ceremony, your thesis title will be read and you should approach the front of the stage. Your thesis professor will present you with your hood. Once you have received your hood, walk toward the south end of the stage to receive your scroll. Then, walk behind the chairs to return to your seat on the stage.

Is there a reception?

Yes! The reception immediately follows the ceremony in Lower Sproul. White tents will mark the reception area. Light refreshments and dessert will be served. 

Where is the best place to park?

Lower Sproul Garage. $11 flat rate. Debit or credit card only. No cash. Public parking is also available at the Telegraph-Channing Garage. Please note that rates and hours may differ.

There are limited designated accessible parking for vehicles bearing valid Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) disability parking placards or license plates is available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Parking for Department Graduations is only available on a first-come, first-serve basis the day of the ceremony. Graduating students and their guests may use the free Bear Transit campus shuttles to travel from the lot to Zellerbach Hall.

Visit the City of Berkeley website for more information.

Will I need a ticket for Commencement? How much are tickets?

Graduating students do not need tickets for themselves. All other guests must have a ticket to enter Zellerbach Auditorium. Tickets are available to pick up in advance (there is a limit of 10 and priced at $5 each). 

Can a picture of a ticket work for admittance?

All guests will need a physical ticket or download the pdf of their ticket on their mobile phone or print a physical copy at home to be scanned at the door. Pictures are not valid for entry. 

Do children need tickets?

Yes, all infants and toddlers will need their own ticket.

Do I have to wear a mask?

Masks are recommended but not required. 

Is there accessible seating available?

Yes! Zellerbach Auditorium is wheelchair accessible. Seats will be roped off for guests using wheelchairs or scooters and their companions. For more information, check out the FAQ for guests page

Will there be live captioning?

Yes! Live Closed Captions are provided for this event by a Real-Time Captioner. More details are provided on the FAQ for guests page

Are the graduating students’ names called at the Film & Media Commencement ceremony?

Yes! All graduates will be individually recognized and called up on stage.

Are diplomas given out at the ceremony?

No. Attending the commencement ceremony does not mean that a student has graduated. Some students attend the ceremony in May and will not finish all degree requirements until the end of summer session or the following Fall semester. The ceremony is strictly celebratory.

How are diplomas received?

It takes up to four months for all of the degree checks and verifications to be processed. Diplomas are not mailed automatically because students often leave Berkeley without updating their addresses. Students can arrange for a final transcript and diploma to be sent to them by visiting the Office of Registrar’s website.

Where and when is the University Convocation?

Convocation, the University graduation Ceremony, will be held Saturday, May 13 at Memorial Stadium. All graduating students (regardless of their major) are welcome to attend this event. This is a ticketed event.



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