Graduate Studies

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I know if I am eligible to participate?

Graduates from summer and fall 2019, as well as candidates for spring 2020 graduation are eligible to participate. Participation in Commencement is not automatic. You must register.

Do I register for the 4:30 p.m. ceremony or the 7:30 p.m. ceremony?

You can find your master's program in the ceremony college schedule. The deadline to register is May 1, 2020. All student participants must register - even if you do not need guest tickets.

When will I receive an invitation to register?

Graduates from summer and fall 2019 are sent an invitation to register March of 2020 in their CSU Chico Wildcat email. Email invitations for spring 2020 candidates will be delivered in late March if they filed for spring 2020 graduation.

How many guest tickets may students request?

Each student may request up to 6 guest tickets for Laxson Auditorium.

When will tickets be available? How will students receive their tickets?

Students will be able to request tickets starting May 5th at 9 a.m.. To be eligible for tickets, students must have registered to participate in the ceremony. A link for online ticket ordering is placed on this website.

Do children need a ticket to attend this ceremony?

Children, ages two and under, do not need a ticket but must be seated on the lap of an adult.

Are tickets required for a guest in a wheelchair?

Yes. Also, each guest requiring special seating accommodations may have one additional guest to accompany them in the accessible seating area. The additional guest must also have a ticket. These are included in the initial ticket allotment each student receives. Please contact the Office of Graduate Studies (530-898-6880) if you or a guest require a wheelchair seating accommodation.

What if I need a disability-related accommodation?

If you (meaning student) need a disability-related accommodation, (for example, sign language interpreter) contact the Accessibility Resource Center: 530-898-5959 or Accommodations will be provided upon request for people with disabilities, provided the request is made at least two weeks prior to the event.

Is there a charge for tickets?


Will there be extra tickets?

The ticketing system will close on Friday, May 8th. If there are any unclaimed tickets, they will be made available on a first-come, first-served basis, on Tuesday May 12th. (Extra tickets are typically available.)

When will I receive more information about the master's Commencement ceremonies?

The Office of Graduate Studies will be in contact with master's students when information is available and applicable. All information will be delivered to the CSU, Chico student email.

When should I arrive for the ceremony? Where do I go?

Students need to arrive at 3:45 p.m. for the 4:30 p.m. ceremony, and 6:45 p.m. for the 7:30 p.m. ceremony. The student assembly area is located on the lawn outside of Ayres Hall, or in the case of rain, in Selvester's 100. More information about check-in will be sent to the Wildcat student email for students who have registered for the event.

How early should my guests arrive?

Laxson doors will open at 4:00 p.m. for the 4:30 ceremony, and 7:00 p.m. for the 7:30 p.m. ceremony. Reserved seating is not available. Guests are advised to arrive early for preferred seating.  Guests should be in their seats no later than 4:20 p.m. for the 4:30 p.m. ceremony and 7:20 p.m. for the 7:30 p.m. ceremony. 

Where can my guests park?

All University and City parking regulations are enforced during the day of the ceremony. The closest parking structure is located at 3rd Street and Normal Street. There is also street parking available around Laxson Auditorium and an additional parking structure is at the corner of 3rd and Salem Streets.

How long is the ceremony?

Approximately 90 minutes.

What about photographs at the ceremony?

Photographs will be taken by GradImages Photography two times during the ceremony. GradImages will contact you when the photos are available for online viewing and ordering. You have no obligation to purchase photos.

Students can pre-register their own e-mail address and those of friends and family by visiting GradImages will be in contact when photos are available for online viewing and ordering. GradImages Phone: 800-424-3686.

What is the meaning of academic dress?

The wearing of academic gowns, mortarboards, tassels, and hoods has been an integral feature of American commencement pageantry since the end of the nineteenth century. In Europe, these traditions originated during the Middle Ages. The early commencement ceremonies in our country were known for debates and orations given by the candidates to demonstrate their knowledge. California State University, Chico maintains much of the tradition and pageantry of the early times in its commencement exercises. The Academic Procession is a colorful parade with faculty in distinctive caps and gowns from universities around the world. The hoods that are worn are fashioned of velvet and silk, their rainbow colors denoting the wearers' institutions and fields of study.

Our master's candidates carry, and later wear, hoods lined in silk with University colors, red and white. The colors listed below are those used on the velvet facing of the master's hood to indicate the field of study in which the candidates have taken their degrees.

Master's Hood Color for Field of Study
Biological SciencesGold
Business AdministrationYale Blue
Communication Sciences and DisordersSilver Grey
Communication StudiesCrimson
Computer ScienceGold
EducationLight Blue
Electrical and Computer EngineeringOrange
Environmental ScienceGold
Interdisciplinary StudiesMulti-color (Gold, Red, White)
KinesiologySage Green
Mathematics EducationGold
Nutritional ScienceMaroon
Political ScienceYale Blue
Public AdministrationPeacock Blue
Recreation AdministrationSage Green
Social ScienceCitron
Social WorkCitron
Teaching International LanguagesLight Blue

How do I rent my cap, gown, and hood?

You rent the cap, gown, tassel, and hood (the cap and tassel are yours to keep) from the Wildcat Store in the BMU. The cost is $70.00. Rentals may be pre-ordered online March 4 - March 31, 2020. To pre-order online visit this website. Pre-orders can be picked up beginning Monday, May 4.

If you miss the pre-order deadline, the Wildcat Store will have rentals available Thursday, May 7, through Thursday, May 14. Wildcat Store hours(opens in new window).

What is the meaning of the Commencement Ceremony?

The hierarchy of degrees dates back to the universities of the 13th-century Europe, which had faculties organized into guilds. Members of the faculties were licensed to teach, and degrees were, in effect, the professional certifications giving them the guild status of a "master." There was originally only one degree in European higher education, that of master. The baccalaureate, or bachelor's degree, was simply a stage toward mastership and was awarded to a candidate who for three of four years had studies the prescribed texts in grammar, rhetoric, and logic and had successfully passed examinations held by his masters. The holder of the bachelor's degree had thus completed the first stage of academic life and was enabled to proceed with a course of study for the degree of master. After completing those studies, he was examined by the chancellor's board and by the faculty and, if successful, received a master's degree, which admitted him into the teachers' guild and was a certificate of fitness to teach at any university.

This May, we are going to participate in a ceremony that has its roots in medieval Europe with these master's candidates about to be initiated. Like their medieval counterparts, the candidates have been selected based upon the approval of the university faculty and the Chancellor's Board of Trustees. The wearing of black robes is a direct link to the distant past when the university and church were inseparable. Central to this ceremony is the placing of the academic hood over the candidate's head.

How do I receive a Commencement program?

The Commencement program, with the names of potential graduates and ceremony details, will be distributed to students upon check-in to the assembly area. A day program, with ceremony details, will be given to all guests who attend the ceremony.

Is there anything special after the ceremony for parents and students?

We will offer a reception immediately following both ceremonies. The reception will be in the BMU Auditorium. Light refreshments will be provided. 

When will I receive my diploma?

Following a final evaluation of your records and degree clearance, your diploma will be mailed to the permanent address on file in your CSU, Chico portal account approximately 12 weeks following the ceremony.

Will the master's ceremonies be streamed live on the web?

Yes. Go to the CSU, Chico livestream website to watch the Master's Commencement Ceremonies live. 

Where can I get more information?

Our website will be updated frequently, especially as we get closer to the day of the event. The Office of Graduate Studies will send more detailed information to students who have registered for the event to the Wildcat student email. For more information regarding the master's Commencement ceremonies, call us at 530-898-6880. The Office of Graduate Studies is located in the Student Services Center, Suite 460.