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    Jul 12, 2024  
2023-2024 Catalog 
2023-2024 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Graduation and Commencement

The terms “graduation” and “commencement” refer to two different activities. “Graduation” occurs at the conclusion of each academic period (i.e., trimester term) when the Registrar’s Office confers degrees on students who have completed their program requirements during the period, records them on their transcripts, and issues their diplomas. “Commencement” is an annual ceremony celebrating the accomplishments of students who have or will graduate during an academic year. Commencement activities are administered by the Division of Student Success.

Graduation Application Process

To become a graduation candidate, degree-seeking students must apply for graduation online via myGGU/Self-Service. Submission of the application alerts the Office of the Registrar to perform a final degree audit and to confer the candidate’s degree. Consequently, all potential degree candidates must apply, whether they want to participate in the annual commencement ceremony or not.

The deadline to apply for graduation depends on a student’s final academic period (i.e., trimester term) of enrollment:


Fall 2023 December 1, 2023
Spring 2024 April 1, 2024
Summer 2024 August 1, 2024

Failure to apply by these deadlines may result in a delay in the conferral of candidates’ degrees and the conferral of their degrees may be deferred beyond their final terms of enrollment at GGU.

If students do not complete their academic program requirements within two academic periods following those for which they have applied, their graduation applications will expire, and they will be required to reapply for graduation in the future in to have their degrees conferred.

Doctoral degree candidates also must apply for graduation. They should consult further with the director of the doctoral program for other requirements applicable to eligibility to participate in the annual commencement ceremony.

Students do not “graduate” from certificate programs, since they are not awarded degrees. Consequently, certificate-seeking students are not required to apply for graduation. However, certificate-seeking students should submit Certificate Program Request forms to the Office of the Registrar. Refer to Admission to Certificate Programs  for more information.

Degree and Certificate Conferral Dates and Eligibility

The university has three degree and certificate conferral dates per academic year; each corresponds to the final day of an academic period (i.e., fall, spring, or summer). View the academic calendars for specific dates.

Students’ degrees or certificates will be conferred when they have completed all their programs’ academic requirements and have applied for graduation or submitted the Certificate Program Request form. The degree term will be the one for which both of these requirements have been met.

Conferral of degrees is not contingent upon students’ having met their financial obligations with the university. However, the university will not release graduates’ diplomas until their financial obligations have been satisfied.

Commencement Registration Process

Degree-seeking students who want to participate in the commencement ceremony must register for commencement by March 1 of the year the ceremony is to be held. Before registering for commencement, students must apply for graduation to become graduation candidates, as described above. Candidates must register for commencement online through myGGU/Student Self-Service and pay the non-refundable $100 commencement fee. Candidates may not be able to participate in the ceremony and will accrue late fees to participate if they apply after the deadline.

Commencement ceremony dates are different from degree conferral dates. Commencement is held in the San Francisco Area during the spring. Commencement information is available at

To be eligible to participate in commencement and to be listed in the 2024 commencement program, students must be either

  1. Summer 2023, Fall 2023 degree awardees, or Spring 2024 degree candidates;
  2. Summer 2024 degree candidates with no more than 15 undergraduate units or 12 graduate units remaining to be completed in the Summer 2024 Academic Period.

All tuition and fees must be paid prior to the commencement ceremony unless other arrangements have been made. All candidates with outstanding balances who desire to participate in commencement must be approved by Student Accounting Services two weeks prior to commencement.

Honors at Graduation

Undergraduate Programs

Honors are awarded to associate’s and bachelor’s degree graduates who have earned cumulative grade point averages in their Golden Gate University courses as follows:

Associate’s Degrees:

High Honors 3.750-4.000 GPA
Honors 3.500-3.749 GPA

Bachelor’s Degrees:

Summa cum laude 3.900-4.000 GPA
Magna cum laude 3.750-3.899 GPA
Cum laude  3.500-3.749 GPA

Honors are awarded as of the date graduates’ degrees are conferred. Honors appear on both graduates’ diplomas and official transcripts.

Graduate Programs

Honors are awarded to master’s degree graduates who earned cumulative program grade point averages (GPAs) in their academic programs as follows:

With highest honors 4.000 GPA
With high honors 3.900-3.999 GPA
With honors 3.800-3.899 GPA

Honors are awarded as of the date graduates’ degrees are conferred. Honors appear on both graduates’ diplomas and official transcripts. If graduates completed any coursework that did not apply to their academic program requirements, it is not included in their program GPA calculations and therefore does not affect their honors eligibility.

Note: honors are not awarded for certificate programs or doctoral degree programs (e.g., DBA).


Outstanding students are chosen based on specific award criteria determined by their schools; the award criteria vary and are available from the appropriate dean’s office. Outstanding student awards are not shown on the diploma or on the official university transcript.

Please note: Awardees are chosen from those students who applied for graduation by the commencement deadline and who will complete all degree requirements by the end of the Spring Academic Period.

Summer graduates are eligible for the outstanding student award in the following spring. All students who are selected for outstanding student awards will be notified by the Division of Student Success.

Diploma and Transcript Distribution

Students who have submitted graduation applications by the deadlines listed above and who have no outstanding financial obligations with the University can expect to receive their diploma and one official copy of their transcripts approximately eight to ten weeks after their degree conferral dates (see above). Diplomas and transcripts will be sent by first class mail to the address that students provide on the graduation application or will be available at the Office of the Registrar for students who requested “hold for pick-up” on their applications.


Inquiries about graduation application status, degree conferral status, diplomas or certificates should be directed to the Office of the Registrar at or by calling 415-442-7278.

Inquiries about commencement ceremonies and commencement regalia should be directed to or 415-442-7288.