2019 Baccalaureate commencement facts

College of Engineering undergraduate commencement ceremony

Tuesday, May 21, 2019  |  2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.  |  Hearst Greek Theatre


Berkeley Engineering graduatesCommencement day schedule

1:00 p.m.
The Hearst Greek Theatre gates open to graduates and ticketed guests. Students participating in the ceremony assemble on Maxwell Family Field.

2:00 p.m. sharp!
Procession begins.

Department receptions
Department receptions for graduates and their guests will be hosted prior to the commencement ceremony. Locations and times will be posted on department websites and printed in the program.

Congratulations graduates!

Commencement is a significant occasion, a milestone in your academic career. As you begin to think about graduating from Cal, and especially as your family and friends make plans for commencement, please reference this fact sheet to answer the questions most frequently asked.

Commencement tickets

Commencement tickets will be distributed beginning Tuesday, April 30, through Sunday, May 19, at the Zellerbach Hall ticket office. The ticket office is located at the northeast corner of Zellerbach Hall on the UC Berkeley campus. Box office hours are: Tues–Fri, Noon–5:30 p. m.; Sat & Sun, 1–5 p.m.; closed Mondays. Tickets will NOT be available for pick up at Zellerbach on Monday, May 20 or Tuesday, May 21. The box office at the Greek Theatre will open 1 hour prior to each ceremony on Tuesday, May 21, for ticket sales on a cash only basis and will call ticket pickup. Guest tickets are $5 each; all ticket sales are final. Graduates must register to participate, but do not need to purchase a ticket. Graduates must be dressed in cap and gown and bring their Registration Card for admission to the ceremony. Guest tickets are general admission, and seating is first-come, first-serve basis.

Accommodations for disabilities

Degree candidates and guests requiring special assistance or wheelchair seating must request special seating arrangements. Space for wheelchair seating is available in the Greek Theatre, but should be requested in advance. ASL interpreters are available upon advance request.

How to order your cap and gown

Caps and gowns can be purchased from the Cal Student Store, 2495 Bancroft Way. Call (510) 229-4703 for more information.

Your diploma

Commemorative scrolls, not diplomas, are given out at commencement. Diplomas for undergraduate students will be mailed free of charge, approximately 4 months after the end of the term to your diploma address.  You can update your diploma address in CalCentral under Profile > Contact Information > Address (click on Add) > Diploma Address. If you have any questions or need more information, please visit the website for the Office of the Registrar's Transcripts & Diplomas page.  Please keep in mind that participating in commencement does not guarantee that you will graduate and receive a diploma.

Transportation to commencement

Commencement Bear Transit Shuttle Service: Shuttles are a quick, easy and inexpensive way to commute to commencement. Shuttles are free for graduates wearing cap/gown or with ID, as well as their families. Shuttles run approximately every 12-24 minutes, and all daytime shuttles are equipped with wheelchair lifts. We recommend you consider utilizing a shuttle when planning your transportation to commencement. From BART, catch the eastbound Perimeter (P-Line) Bear Transit shuttle near the Downtown Berkeley BART station. Shuttles stop at Addison/Shattuck and Hearst/Euclid. Exit the shuttle at the Greek Theatre.

View the P-Line Bear Transit page for the shuttle schedule and route map.

Parking: During commencement, visitors may park in designated campus parking lots on a first-come, first-served basis, for $10. Parking is CREDIT CARD ONLY - no cash will be accepted. You may also park in the surrounding city parking lots. Rates and hours vary.

Commencement parking is available in student ‘S’ permit areas for a $10 fee. Please read parking signs carefully. Parking will be available in the following campus parking lots:

  • Foothill Lot (Hearst at Highland Ave.)
  • Lower Hearst Structure (Hearst at Scenic Ave.)

All designated disabled spaces and non-reserved spaces will be available at $10 to disabled patrons with certified disabled placards or license plates on a first-come, first-served basis. There is a curbside drop-off area on Gayley Road just north of the Greek Theatre entrance for passengers with mobility challenges who prefer to minimize the travel distance to the Greek Theatre. For further information on parking, please visit the Parking and Transportation events website.


Fresh flowers will be available for purchase at the Greek Theatre.


The College has made arrangements with Grad Images to photograph every graduate at the moment the scroll is given. Guests are not permitted on or near the stage, and are not allowed to block aisles to take pictures. Information about ordering photos is posted on the Grad Images website at gradimages.com.

Graduation announcements

Personalized graduation announcements may be purchased at the Cal Student Store, 2495 Bancroft Way. Call (510) 229-4703 for more information.

How to wear your cap and gown

Tassels: At Cal, baccalaureate candidates for the College of Engineering wear tassels on their caps. All candidates wear the tassel on the right side of the cap and will turn their tassel to the left when their degree level has been conferred. The cap is worn with the long point of the shell to the rear. Watch our “Regalia 101” video for more tips.

Under your gown: Although not required, many graduates choose to dress up on commencement day. When planning your outfit, bear in mind that you will be in a lot of photos, which will be looked back on for years to come. The event will be a combination of standing and sitting for a minimum of 2 hours; we suggest wearing comfortable shoes. As Berkeley mornings are often cool with fog giving way to afternoon sun, light layers are highly recommended.

Honors cords

Summer and Fall 2018 and Spring 2019 B.S. and B.A. degree candidates who have an overall Berkeley GPA that ranks them in the top 20 percent of students will be eligible to purchase honors cords at the Cal Student Store for the 2019 commencement ceremony. For B.S. degree candidates the minimum overall GPA required for honors (as determined by the Office of the Registrar) for Fall 2018 or Spring 2019 is 3.745 and for Summer 2018 is 3.735 . For ORMS-B.A. degree candidates the minimum overall GPA required for honors (as determined by the Office of the Registrar) for Fall 2018 or Spring 2019 is 3.747 and for Summer 2018 is 3.735. Due to pending grades, Summer and Fall 2019 B.S. and B.A. degree candidates are not eligible to purchase honors cords for the 2019 commencement ceremony. To confirm that your cumulative Berkeley GPA through the Fall 2019 semester meets the cutoff requirement, please visit bearfacts.berkeley.edu.

What to do on commencement day

Assemble at the Maxwell Family Field lot on Stadium Rim Way, north of Memorial Stadium.

  • Bring your completed yellow registration card or get one from a staff volunteer as soon as you arrive.
  • Line up in cap and gown on Maxwell Field (no guests are allowed in the graduate line-up area or backstage). Look for department name signs and get into the appropriate line according to your department. Staff marshals will be present to assist you.
  • You will be given instructions as to where and how to be seated and when to approach the stage to receive your scroll.
  • Two of your peers will lead the procession into the arena and staff marshals will seat you in the proper section for your department.
  • Please remain in the theatre until the ceremony ends.

Enjoy your special day and congratulations on your achievement!

For information and updates, go to engineering.berkeley.edu/commencement

Download a printable version of this fact sheet (PDF)