Commencement Frequently Asked Questions

Last updated: September 24, 2014

What is Commencement?

Commencement is the official ceremony held by the University every year to honor its graduating students. Although not every City University of Seattle site worldwide holds its own ceremony, several do. CityU students studying outside the U.S. may choose to attend the U.S. ceremony rather than one at their own site. This document provides information only on the ceremony held in Seattle.

When and where is the Commencement?

The Commencement will be held Saturday, June 20, 2015 at Seattle Center Key Arena (in downtown Seattle), starting at 1pm and lasting approximately 2 hours. More details on the logistics of the ceremony can be found here.

Who is eligible to participate?

  • Students completing their degree program during the current academic year: Anyone who will complete all their degree requirements during the 2014/15 academic year (July 1, 2014 – June 30, 2015) is eligible to participate in the 2015 Commencement if his/her cumulative GPA is at least 2.0 for an undergraduate program or 3.0 for a graduate program.
  • Previous graduates: Students who graduated earlier than July 1, 2014 and did not attend a previous CityU commencement are eligible to participate.
  • Students within two courses of finishing their degree program: Students who will have completed all but one or two courses of their degree program by June 2015 are eligible to participate.
  • Students completing their degree program in Summer 2015: Students with more than two courses left, who plan to complete all remaining program requirements during the Summer 2015 term may be eligible to participate, depending on the results of their degree audit (see below).
  • Exceptions: Students in unusual circumstances who are not eligible to participate may write a letter to the Registrar to explain their situation and request an exception.
  • Student completing certificate programs: Students completing only a certificate program, and not a degree-granting program, are not eligible to participate in Commencement.

How do I sign up to participate?

  1. Apply to graduate: To participate in Commencement you must first apply to graduate. This can be done online or by submitting a Degree Audit Application. To apply online, go to and log in to the CityU Student Center. Under the My Academics option select Graduation/Apply for graduation.
    • Deadline to apply: The initial deadline to apply in time to ensure eligibility to attend Commencement (February 15, 2015). Students who apply any time after April 21, 2015 will not have their names printed in the Commencement brochure due to printing deadlines, unfortunately, but they may still participate in the ceremony if the degree audit indicates that they are eligible.
    • Results of degree audit: As mentioned above, once you have applied to graduate, the Registrar's Office audits your academic record. The results of the degree audit, along with an updated program plan, are then emailed to you. In addition to any impediments to program completion, the degree audit states clearly whether you are eligible to participate in Commencement 2015.
  2. If eligible, let us know that you plan to attend Commencement when you receive the results of your degree audit. Please email us to let us know that you plan to attend. Include your full name and student ID. If you have questions, please contact us.

    Please Note: If you do not contact us after receiving your degree audit, we will assume that you do not plan to attend, and will not print a name card for you or include you in future updates about the ceremony.
  3. Check the CityU website for details. Detailed information on the ceremony, including where to park, how and when to order regalia, having graduation honors recognized at the ceremony, etc., can be found on the Commencement pages of the CityU website.

Quick facts about the ceremony

  • You may invite as many guests as you wish. There is no cost to attend the ceremony. No tickets are required, and no seats are assigned.
  • A special section of Key Arena is set aside for disabled seating.
  • Graduating students should arrive no later than 11:30am, and be lined up for the processional by 12:30pm (Doors open at 11am)
  • There are several parking lots surrounding Seattle Center. Parking is the student's responsibility.
  • There are many hotels within the vicinity of the arena. For lodging suggestions contact
  • The location of Seattle Center Key Arena is First Avenue North between Thomas and Republic Streets.

What happens at the ceremony?

  • Students arrive at Seattle Center Key Arena well before the ceremony, bringing their Commencement regalia. After putting on their caps and gowns (in designated dressing areas), they check in at the name card desk to pick up the name cards they will give to the readers on stage, so that when they are called onto the platform, the reader will correctly announce their name and degree.
  • Family members and/or other guests may accompany the students until it is time to line up for the procession into the arena. Professional photographers are available on-site, and items such as class rings can be ordered. Then the guests find seating wherever available in the arena and the students go to designated areas to be lined up according to school and degree program.
  • Students are directed by CityU staff to enter the arena in a procession, and take their seats on the floor of the arena. Faculty members also enter in a procession, and sit on stage with guests and university officials. The ceremony includes remarks by the president, a guest speaker, and a student speaker. Then the graduating students are lined up to walk onto the stage one by one, by school and degree. Each student's name is announced (via name card), with degree and graduation honors (if any). The student walks over to the president, receives a diploma cover (symbolizing the degree), has his/her picture taken with the president, and leaves the stage to return to his/her original seat. (See below for order in which students are called.)
  • Once all students have received on-stage recognition, concluding remarks are given. The entire ceremony lasts about two hours.

What do I need to know to order Commencement regalia?

Click here for information on placing your cap and gown order.

What are the requirements to have graduation honors announced at Commencement?

Students with graduation honors are given a special cord to wear (or may bring the one they received in the mail if their diploma has already been sent to them) after picking up their name card at the name card desk. Honors are indicated on the name cards. Click here for detailed information on graduation honors and their recognition at Commencement.

In what order are students announced at Commencement?

Students are presented by school and by degree, as follows:
  • ASOE, Division of Arts and Sciences
    1. Associate of Science in General Studies
    2. Bachelor of Arts in Applied Psychology
    3. Bachelor of Science in Communications
    4. Bachelor of Science in General Studies
    5. Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology
    6. Master of Counselling
  • Albright School of Education
    1. Bachelor of Arts in Education
    2. Master of Education
    3. Master in Teaching
  • School of Applied Leadership
    1. Master of Arts in Leadership
    2. Master of Education (Adult Learning)
    3. Doctor of Education in Leadership
  • School of Management
    1. Bachelor of Arts in Management
    2. Bachelor of Science in Accounting
    3. Bachelor of Science in Business Administration
    4. Bachelor of Science in Computer Systems
    5. Bachelor of Science in Information Systems
    6. Master of Arts in Management
    7. Master of Business Administration
    8. Master of Public Administration
    9. Master of Science in Computer Systems
    10. Master of Science in Project Management
    11. Master of Science in Technology Management
    12. Master of Science in Information Security

How can I get more information?

Phone 206.239.4513, or email.

PLEASE NOTE: Occasionally some details regarding Commencement change slightly. Please check the CityU portal or website for the latest version of Commencement FAQs.