2019 Graduate commencement facts

College of Engineering Graduate commencement ceremony

Tuesday, May 21, 2019  |  9:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.  |  Hearst Greek Theatre


Berkeley Engineering doctoral graduatesCommencement day schedule

8:00 a.m.
The Hearst Greek Theatre gates open to graduates and ticketed guests. Doctoral candidates assemble backstage. Master’s candidates assemble at the Maxwell Family Field.

9:00 a.m. sharp!
Procession begins.

Department receptions
Department receptions for graduates and their guests will be hosted after 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, please pickup your tickets before then.  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.  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 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, 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 commencement 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, Master of Science, Master of Engineering, Master of Translational Medicine, Doctor of Engineering and Ph.D. 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.

Hood: The size and shape of the hood signify the level of the degree. Master’s degree candidates: Wear your hood to the ceremony. Place the hood around your neck and shoulders so that the major portion hangs down the back. The velvet border should be on the outside. The black base of the hood, around the velvet, should be smoothed into place as it is positioned over the shoulders and down the back. Fasten the cord in front of the hood to your shirt, dress or gown to keep the hood away from your neck. To expose the satin lining, turn the velvet border outside below your shoulders at the back of your gown. The cord will keep the hood from falling off your shoulders. Doctoral degree candidates: Bring your hood to the ceremony and give it to your adviser/hooder backstage before the ceremony; you will be hooded by your adviser during the ceremony.

Hood color: The color of the satin lining reflects the University’s official colors. The title of the degree to be awarded (not the subject studied) governs the color of the velvet border. For example, the Master of Science degree in Engineering requires the color of the velvet to correspond to the title of the degree (Science) rather than the subject studied (Engineering). The color of the hoods are as follows no matter what the field of study:

  • Master of Science and Master of Translational Medicine: GOLDEN YELLOW
  • Master of Engineering: ORANGE
  • Doctor of Philosophy: ROYAL BLUE

For more tips on how to wear your regalia, watch our “Regalia 101” videos:

What to do on commencement day

Assemble backstage at the Greek Theatre (Ph.D.) or at the Maxwell Family Field lot on Stadium Rim Way, north of Memorial Stadium (M.S., M.Eng., M.T.M.).

  • Bring your completed registration card or acquire one from a staff volunteer as soon as you arrive that morning.
    • Master of Science – ORANGE card
    • Master of Engineering – BLUE card
    • Master of Translational Medicine – GREEN card
    • Ph.D. – WHITE card
  • Look for signs indicating Master’s or Ph.D. and get into the appropriate line according to 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 theatre and staff marshals will seat you in the proper section for your degree.
  • 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

PDF downloadDownload a printable version of this fact sheet (PDF)