Graduation and Commencement


Graduation - Completing requirements and receiving a degree from UCSC
Commencement - The ceremony where you walk across the stage


Tracking Your Process

Students are expected to track their own progress towards graduation. This means, regularly checking your student portal to make sure you are on track to graduate.

We recommend that at least two quarters prior to your expected graduation term you review the following information to determine your eligibility to graduate in the quarter you plan to finish.

  1. Review your Academic Advisement Report for information about general education, university, and college requirements, and in some cases major requirements (note: not all major departments use this report to track their students).

  2. Do a graduation check with your major adviser to be sure you have completed all major requirements needed for graduation.

  3. Do a graduation check with your Cowell College adviser to be sure you have completed all university requirements for graduation. This means all requirements aside from completing all of your major requirements.

  4. Use this worksheet to clearly outline what you have completed and what you have remaining.

  5. In the quarter you have completed your degree you will announce your candidacy on the student portal.

While you are responsible for tracking your own progress towards graduation using the numerous resources available to you, it's always good practice to double check your status by doing a graduation check with BOTH Cowell College and your major adviser.

Applying to Graduate

You are eligible to graduate as soon as you have completed all of UCSC’s graduation requirements. You can find instructions to apply for graduation on the Registrar’s website as well as Frequently Asked Questions about graduating. The deadlines to apply to graduate for each quarter are listed on the UCSC Academic and Administrative calendar. Once your graduation has been approved, your diploma is mailed to your permanent address (listed in your Student Portal) between two and three months after the quarter in which you graduated.


Commencement is the ceremony celebration of the completion of your degree. Cowell College holds a commencement ceremony, but your major or department may also hold a commencement ceremony, and the Ethnic Resource Centers do as well. You may choose to participate in whichever commencement ceremonies hold meaning for you. You can participate in the Cowell Commencement even if you graduated in the quarters preceding the ceremony or plan on graduating in the quarters following the ceremony. Keep an eye on the Cowell Commencement website throughout the year for details about the ceremony for participants and guests.