Commencement 2020

Graduating students celebrating at commencement

2020 Information

Commencement Sign-up

2020 Commencement Registration is now OPEN! Click the button below to register.


College of Chemistry Commencement 2020

Zellerbach Auditorium
Wednesday, May 20th at 7pm

Commencement Speaker: Professor Emeritus Clayton Heathcock

All graduates of Summer and Fall 2019 as well as graduates of Spring, Summer and Fall 2020 are welcome to participate. If you are interested in speaking as a student speaker at Commencement, please contact Shamaya Pellum at

Registration for the ceremony will begin February 10, 2020. Please note that degree candidates who do not RSVP for the ceremony by March 9, 2020 will be charged a late fee of $20 and may not be listed in the program. Please refer to the links at the top for information about obtaining guest tickets, directions, parking, renting a cap & gown, obtaining your diploma, attending the University's ceremony (Convocation), purchasing professional photographs and much more!

Previous Commencement Speakers

2019: Geraldine Richmond
2018: Frances Arnold
2017: Jennifer Doudna
2016: Terry Rosen
2015: Judith Kliman
2014: Carlyn Bertozzi
2013: Andrew Liveris
2012: Dudley Herschbach
2011: Robert S. Langer
2010: JoAnne Stubbe
2008: John M. Prausnitz
2007: Larry Bock

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Expected Graduation Term (EGT) VS. COMMENCEMENT

Important! EGT and commencement are two separate things.

Expected Graduation Term

The EGT is the term that is listed in CalCentral which the University has confirmed as your graduation date. This is the final term that you will be completing your final courses for your degree. Please check Cal Central to ensure that your EGT is correct. This should be (the spring, summer, or fall) you expect to complete all of your degree requirements (e.g., college, double major, minors, incompletes).

Commencement List

The commencement list is how you inform us that you are planning to attend the annual College of Chemistry commencement ceremony. Commencement is a celebration for you and your family at the completion (or near completion) of your college years. It is held only in May. At Commencement, students receive a scroll, which symbolically represents a diploma. The sign-up for the College of Chemistry Commencement Ceremony occurs through this website.

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Cap & Gown

When and where can I rent and pick up my regalia?

You may rent your regalia at the The Student Store beginning in March and continuing through May. If you wish to purchase additional graduation related items - The Student Store is offering various graduation packages beginning that include items such as announcements, thank you cards, diploma cover, etc., and regalia rental. Contact the The Student Store (510-845-1226) for more information and hours of operation.

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Graduating student celebrating at commencement


Guest ticket distribution will begin in mid-April. Degree candidates will be contacted via email regarding the exact dates and location of distribution. For this reason, it is important that each degree candidate provide an email account that is regularly checked when submitting his/her commencement registration. Each degree candidate will have the opportunity to collect up to five tickets priced at $5.00 during the first round of distribution. It is imperative that each degree candidate, when submitting his/her commencement registration, be as accurate as possible when indicating the number of guest tickets needed. If the degree candidate does not require all five tickets, we ask that he/she only take as many as needed. You will not be able to obtain more tickets at pick-up than what you listed when you submitted your RSVP. It is likely that more tickets will be available after the first round of distribution. Based upon the total number of tickets requested by all degree candidates, we will determine the limitations (if any) of further rounds of ticket distribution. Specific information regarding dates and times of ticket distribution will be forthcoming via email in April.

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A professional photographer from Grad Images will take a picture of each degree candidate as he/she receives a scroll. Each Ph.D. degree candidate will be photographed as he/she is hooded. If guests wish to take their own pictures of their graduate, we ask that they please do so in an unobtrusive manner by not approaching the front of the auditorium until their graduate is approaching the stage and by returning to their seats promptly once they have taken their photograph(s).

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Summer 2019, Fall 2019 and Spring 2020 B.S. and B.A. degree candidates who are eligible to receive honors at graduation will be presented with a medal of honor from the College of Chemistry prior to the ceremony. Eligibility to receive a medal of honor from the College of Chemistry is based upon the degree candidate's overall GPA as of the beginning of the Spring 2020 semester. We are unable to include the Spring 2020 grades in our calculation because the Spring 2020 grades will not be available to us until after commencement.

GPA requirements

Minimum GPA requirements for college honors for Fall 2019 and Spring 2020 degree candidates in the College of Chemistry are:

  • Highest Honors: 3.964
  • High Honors: 3.881
  • Honors: 3.756

Honors for Distinction in General Scholarship for the College of Letters and Science

For Fall 2019 and Spring 2020 degree candidates receiving a B.A. in Chemistry (in the College of Letters and Science), minimum GPA requirements are:

  • Highest Honors: 3.959
  • High Honors: 3.870
  • Honors: 3.757

Should I purchase an honor cord?

Please note that there are absolutely no exceptions to these minimum requirements. Although you may choose to purchase an honor cord at the The Student Store, it will not be necessary to do so. Summer 2020 and Fall 2020 B.S. and B.A. degree candidates are not eligible to receive a medal of honor from the College of Chemistry at the May 2020 commencement ceremony; however, they will be eligible to purchase an honor cord at the The Student Store.

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Directions & Parking


Directions to the campus
Campus Map

Campus Parking

There are several commencement ceremonies on campus scheduled for the same day. Parking will be available for a fee on a first-come, first-served basis at many of the campus "S" permit parking structures. Specifically, commencement parking will be available at the Dana/Durant Lot, on Dana Street between Bancroft Way and Durant Avenue, and at the RSF Garage, on Bancroft Way at Ellsworth Street. Drivers must purchase a dispenser ticket to display on the vehicle's dashboard. In addition, the City of Berkeley Sather Gate Garage, located on Durant Avenue just west of Telegraph Avenue, is available to the public. For more information, please contact the Special Events Coordinator in the Parking and Transportation Office at (510) 642-5401 or check the Parking and Transportation website.

Public Transportation

AC Transit (the Alameda County bus system) has several bus lines that come to the campus from surrounding communities. BART, the San Francisco-Bay Area train system, can help you get to the campus if you are coming from other Bay Area cities. The Berkeley BART station is one block from the west side of the campus. Zellerbach Auditorium is on the south side of the campus. For more information for either of these public transportation systems, including schedules and fares, please visit the San Francisco Bay Area Transit Information web site.

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Degree Candidate Instructions

Arrival Time

On the day of the ceremony you must arrive in Zellerbach Auditorium no later than 5:15pm. Roll call will take place after announcements are made. If you are late it is possible that your name will not be announced during the ceremony. Only participants will be admitted to the pre-ceremony meeting in Zellerbach Auditorium at 5:15pm.

Line Up

After the pre-ceremony meeting, degree candidates will line up on the Lower Sproul Plaza. The order of the procession will be: Faculty, Ph.D. degree candidates, M.S. degree candidates, B.S. degree candidates, and B.A. (chemistry) degree candidates. Signs indicating where each degree group should gather will be taped to the ground. Please help us by organizing yourselves in alphabetical order within your degree and major group. Ph.D. degree candidates will line up in alphabetical order by research group. A staff member will call roll after the lines are formed.


The first person in line for each degree group will be given instructions regarding where to sit and how to approach the stage. M.S., B.S., and B.A. degree candidates will occupy the first rows of the orchestra section. Ph.D. degree candidates will be seated on the stage. When you arrive at your seat, remain standing until the Dean indicates that you should sit down.

Receiving Your Scroll

The following procedures are extremely important! When your degree group is announced, the whole group should stand up and walk towards the north end of the stage in one continuous line (A to Z with appropriate spacing). When your name is called, walk across the stage, approach the Dean to receive a scroll and exit at the other end (south end) of the stage. Ph.D. degree candidates will be hooded on stage before proceeding to the south end of the stage to receive a scroll. When returning to your seat, approach your seat from the opposite end of the same row you left. Remain standing until after your degree group has been granted a degree by the Dean. Grad Images will take a picture of each degree candidate just before he/she walks across the stage and again as he/she receives a scroll from the Dean, and each Ph.D. degree candidate while he/she is hooded. Be sure to space yourselves and smile!


Your tassel should be on the right side of your cap prior to the ceremony and on the left side after your group has been granted a degree by the Dean.

If you have any questions about these instructions, please contact Shamaya Pellum at Thank you for your cooperation and congratulations!

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PHD Candidates Instructions

Additional Commencement Ceremony Instructions for Ph.D. Degree Candidates Only

1. Each Ph.D. degree candidate will be hooded by his/her thesis professor (or Associate Dean Arnold in the absence of the thesis professor) as part of the commencement ceremony. Therefore, it is crucial that the information you submit on the commencement registration form be complete and accurate.

2. During the line-up prior to the ceremony, you should line up by research group under the name of your thesis professor, and alphabetically by your last name within your research group. A staff member will be present to place you in the correct order.

3. When your name is announced during the ceremony, your thesis title will be read and you should approach the front of the stage. Your thesis professor will present you with your hood. If your thesis professor is absent, you will be hooded by Associate Dean Arnold. Once you have received your hood, walk toward the south end of the stage to receive your scroll from Dean Clark. Then, walk behind the chairs to return to your seat on the stage.

4. Your hood will be supplied by the College of Chemistry; therefore, you need NOT rent a hood. We will be collecting hoods at the reception in Lower Sproul Plaza after the ceremony. Your name will be checked off when you return your hood. Degree candidates who do not return their hoods by the conclusion of the reception will be responsible for replacement. Do not return your hood with your cap and gown.

If you have any questions about these instructions, please contact Shamaya Pellum at

Visa Invitation Letter Request

If you need a Visa Request document for family or friends to attend the ceremony - please complete this form. For more information on how to invite family abroad, please take a look at the Berkeley International Office webpage.

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