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    Jun 24, 2024  
2020-2021 Catalog 
2020-2021 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Graduation and Commencement

“Graduation” and “commencement” refer to two different activities. “Graduation” occurs at the conclusion of each trimester term, when degrees are conferred on students who have completed their program requirements during the trimester. When students graduate, their degrees are conferred and recorded on their transcripts and diplomas are issued to them. Graduation activities are administered by the Office of Records and Registration. “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, students must apply for graduation online via GGU4YOU. Submission of the application alerts the Office of Records and Registration to perform a final degree audit and to confer the candidate’s degree. Consequently, all potential degree candidates must apply, whether or not they want to participate in the commencement ceremony.

The deadline to apply for graduation depends on a student’s final term of enrollment:


Fall 2020 December 1, 2020
Spring 2021 April 1, 2021
Summer 2021 August 1, 2021

The degrees of students who fail to comply with these deadlines will be conferred with the subsequent term for which they apply.

If students do not complete their academic program requirements within the term they have applied to graduate, their applications will expire and they will be required to reapply for graduation.

Doctoral degree candidates also must apply for graduation. They should consult further with the director of the doctoral program for other commencement eligibility requirements.

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 of Completion Request forms to the Office of Records and Registration. 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 a trimester term (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 of their programs’ academic requirements and have applied for graduation or submitted the Certificate of Completion Request form. The degree term will be the one in which both of these criteria 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

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, as described above. Students must register for commencement online through GGU4YOU at and pay the non-refundable $100 commencement fee. Students may not be able to participate in the ceremony and will accrue late fees to participate if they apply after March 1.

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

To be eligible to participate in commencement and to be listed in the 2021 commencement program, students must be either

  1. Summer 2020, fall 2020 degree awardees, or spring 2021 degree candidates;
  2. Summer 2021 degree candidates with no more than 15 undergraduate units or 12 graduate units remaining to be completed in the summer 2021 term.

All tuition and fees must be paid prior to commencement unless other arrangements have been made. All candidates with outstanding balances who desire to participate in commencement must be cleared 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 maintained cumulative grade point averages in their Golden Gate University courses as follows:

Associate’s Degrees:

High Honors 4.000-3.750 GPA
Honors 3.749-3.500 GPA

Bachelor’s Degrees:

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

Honors are awarded as of the date the degree is granted. These honors appear on both the diploma and official university transcript.

Graduate Programs

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

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

Honors are awarded as of the date graduates’ degree are conferred. Honors appear on both graduates’ diplomas and official GGU transcripts. Coursework completed by graduates that did not apply to their academic program requirements is not included in their program GPA calculations and therefore does not affect their honors eligibility.

Honors designations do not apply to certificate programs and doctoral degrees.

Awards and Award Ceremony

Each year, at the end of the spring trimester and prior to commencement, the Division of Student Success hosts an award ceremony to recognize outstanding student award winners in various categories. 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 March 1 commencement deadline and who will complete all degree requirements by the end of the spring trimester.

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 an application for graduation 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 six to eight weeks after their degree conferral date (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 or Records and Registration 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 Records and Registration at or by calling 415-442-7278.

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