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Chapman Commencement

» Frequently Asked Questions

+ - What is the difference between a double major and a dual degree?

A double major refers to two areas of study which share the same type of degree. For example, Political Science and Dance are both Bachelor of Arts degrees. If you are graduating with a double major, you may only walk once during commencement ceremonies. You will be prompted to choose a "preferred major" when you submit your online Commencement RSVP. The major you designate in the RSVP will determine which ceremony you will participate in and/or which cohort you will sit with.

A dual degree refers to two different types of degrees which have been completed concurrently. For example, a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Screen Acting would be considered dual degrees. If you are graduating with dual degrees, you may be eligible to walk once for each degree earned. If you are receiving your degrees from two different schools/colleges (i.e., Schmid College and Dodge College as in the above example), you are welcome to participate in both ceremonies. Please make sure you submit two online Commencement RSVPs -- one for each degree.

+ - Is there rehearsal for Commencement?

There is no rehearsal for Chapman Commencement, so it is vital that students check in on time. Food will not be available at check-in, and students should eat a sustaining meal before they come to line-up. Students should allow ample time to arrive, park, and walk to the check-in location. Students must bring cap and gown and their printed "Commencement Passport." Students will part from their guests at check-in, as friends and family are not permitted at line-up.

+ - Where may I find parking on Commencement Day?

Parking will be free in all designated parking structures and lots, and curbside permits are not required on local streets during Commencement Weekend. See Parking Map (pdf).

+ - How many guests may I invite, and will they need tickets for Commencement?

If your ceremony is held on Wilson Field, then you will not require tickets for your guests and there is no limit on how many guests you may invite. Please note that seating is first come, first served. Seating is in folding chairs on artificial turf. Once the ceremony begins, empty seats must be made available to accommodate guests without seats.

If your ceremony is held in the Musco Center for the Arts, then tickets will be required for your guests. The number of tickets allotted per graduate has not been determined yet, so please stay tuned for more information.

+ - Do I need to bring anything with me on Commencement Day?

Please arrive dressed in your cap and gown and with your printed "Commencement Passport" in hand. Students should avoid bringing valuables such as purses or packs to the procession lineup, as they will be obliged to carry them around for the duration of the ceremony. Security for abandoned items is not provided in the lineup locations or at the ceremony venues.

+ - What if it rains or is hot?

There is no rain plan for Chapman Commencement ceremonies. Ceremonies will take place as scheduled unless a downpour or electrical storm create a safety hazard. Graduates should plan apparel beneath their gowns according to weather conditions. Guests are also requested to dress comfortably for the weather. The artificial turf on Wilson Field can be be very warm on a sunny day, so please plan accordingly.

+ - How do we line up?

  • Each Commencement ceremony will have a line up area for students in the Hutton Gym.
  • Students graduating from CoPA will line up in the Performer's Court next to the Global Citizens Plaza.
  • Please bring your printed "Commencement Passport" with you.
  • Staff will show you to a lineup area assigned to your major.
  • Students are required to sit within their major cohort.
  • Departments march in alphabetical order by subject.

+ - How can I make sure my name is pronounced correctly?

All Chapman readers sincerely desire to say your name correctly and practice with a list of grads' names in advance. To ensure that Chapman has this information, contact the department office of your major and provide them with a phonetic pronunciation of your name well in advance of Commencement. You may also write the phonetic pronunciation of your name on your grad card to assist the reader.

+ - What will I receive on Commencement Day?

When you cross the stage, you will receive a diploma cover only. Your diploma will not be handed to you at Commencement. The Office of the University Registrar will mail your diploma to you upon certification that all degree requirements have been satisfied.

+ - What is Baccalaureate, and do I have to go to it?

Baccalaureate service is not your traditional baccalaureate service: it features inspirational messages for all graduates, whether secular, spiritual or religious. And it’s open to all: graduates, their families and undergraduates, faculty and staff.

2018 Baccalaureate service will take place Thursday, May, 10, 2018 at 7:00pm in The Wallace All Faiths Chapel, Baccalaureate Interfaith Service will feature Justin Simien, writer/director of the critically acclaimed film Dear White People.

Chapman Graduates and Faculty RSVP:
All Other guests, seating is limited to first come, first serve. For Information email us at


+ - What is Closing Convocation and do I have to go to it?

Closing Convocation is the Chapman Family's all-school ceremony honoring student achievements. We'll be turning tassels, cheering on student award recipients, listening to a celebrity keynote speaker, and closing the evening with a celebratory toast.

While students will not walk across the stage at this ceremony, they will still wear caps and gowns for the official conferral of their degree. Graduate and Undergraduate students are invited so bring your family and friends.

Last day to RSVP for Closing Convocation is April 15th. Ticket information will be distributed April 30th.

Closing Convocation is a free-ticketed event and each graduate who has RSVPd will be allotted a specific number of tickets for their guests.


+ - How are we expected to behave at Commencement?

Chapman Commencement is not a somber occasion, but it is one that the institution takes seriously. Commencement is the largest publicly attended event on campus. Families, friends, alumni and honored guests from all over the world will attend this momentous event -- how we present ourselves on that day is, for many of our guests, the only impression of Chapman they ever have. It should be a favorable one. 

We ask that students abide by the Student Conduct Code on Commencement Weekend on university common areas and at offsite venues where official university ceremonies are taking place. Some of these requirements include refraining from possessing or consuming alcoholic beverages or other controlled substances, being publicly intoxicated, and engaging in disruptive or disorderly conduct. All attendees are requested to refrain from bringing food, beverages and gum into any ceremony venue. We ask that students refrain from bringing noisemakers, signs, toys, confetti, streamers, or fireworks to any ceremony.

Students are required to wear academic attire as is appropriate to the historical, dignified traditions of graduation ceremonies. Students must remain seated at all times unless walking in procession and remain present for the entire ceremony until its conclusion. Participants and guests may be asked to leave university property at any time by Chapman University administrators, faculty, or Public Safety officers during Commencement Weekend, if they are not fulfilling these responsibilities and obligations. 

+ - May I leave Chapman as soon as I cross the stage?

Graduates are required to remain for the entire Commencement ceremony and may not leave early. Chapman diligently strives to begin and end Commencement ceremonies on time. Please refer to the Commencement schedule for the expected duration of the ceremony you will be attending. If you make celebration plans after the ceremony, it is suggested that you set your reservations or invitation time to no earlier than one hour after the ceremony's end.

+ - What should I wear to Commencement with my cap and gown?

Your academic gown is black and made of a synthetic fabric -- it might feel hot on a warm day and will not provide much warmth on a cool day, so plan your apparel underneath the gown accordingly. Footwear should be comfortable enough to tolerate standing for a long time, walking on grass and uneven surfaces, and going up and down stairs. Spike heels are not recommended. Bare feet are not permitted.

+ - May I wear flowers with my cap and gown?

Yes! A professional florist will offer corsages, bouquets, and leis available for purchase.

+ - May I decorate my cap?

Yes! However, obscene or offensive words and images are not permitted.

+ - May I keep my cap and gown after graduation?

Yes! At Chapman University, students purchase souvenir-quality caps and gowns through the bookstore. (This does not apply to doctoral students, who rent custom regalia.)

+ - What is the Senior Legacy?

"Senior Legacy unites seniors through engaging experiences and instills a lifelong commitment to Chapman University that impacts future student opportunities." 

Senior Legacy is a long-standing Chapman tradition for the senior class to present the University with a gift as a way to commemorate their time at Chapman and support future generations of Panthers. Click here for more information on Senior Legacy

+ - Will photos be taken during Commencement?

Chapman University's trusted professional graduation photographers will capture various photos of the graduate, on stage and portrait-style. They will email photo proofs and ordering instructions directly to graduates within two weeks after the ceremony. 

Family and guests are not allowed near the stage during the ceremony to take photos. Guests are encouraged to remain in their seats during the duration of the ceremony.

+ - Where may I pick up my Chapman Yearbook?

Each graduating senior is entitled to one complimentary yearbook.

+ - Do you provide accommodations for guests with special needs?

All Chapman University parking locations provide handicapped parking spaces. Please make the appropriate arrangements with your group if you need to drop a guest off close to the ceremony site.

Guest seating for commencement exercises is at field level, and there is no designated seating for guests in wheelchairs. Wheelchairs may be placed on the outside edge of a row next to the rest of the family. While the University does not have wheelchairs available for guest use, you are welcome to check out this list of local vendors who provide wheelchair rental services.

University ceremonies will also be streamed in real time to both Beckman Hall, Room 404, and on select screens in the Student Union in Argyros Forum for guests who are more comfortable watching the events from indoors.

For guests with hearing impairment, captioning will be available on the large screens near the stage.

If your guests require special accommodations beyond those listed above, please submit your request by May 10th to the Chapman Commencement Office at (714) 997-6740, or contact us via email.

+ - What's this about a Twitter ticker?

Congratulations, graduates! We're excited to share in your celebrations at the 2018 Commencement Ceremonies. But we won't be the only ones…

You're invited to share your celebrations and congratulations with us on Twitter! Tweet your messages using #CHAPMANU and your tweets may appear on the Commencement jumbotrons. 

New to Twitter? Sign up for a free Twitter account

+ - When will I get my diploma?

Degrees are awarded three times a year, at the end of January, May, and August. Your degree is awarded at the end of the term in which all requirements have been satisfied on your program evaluation. You will receive a confirmation email to your Panthermail once your degree is awarded. Mailing time for the diploma is estimated between 4-6 weeks from the date the confirmation email is sent.

Contact Us

For information about Chapman Commencement, please call (714) 997-6740
or contact us via email.

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