Commencement Information

UPDATE: Commencement Announced: News and Events Page

Graduation and Commencement

Students often inquiry about the difference between graduation and commencement. Graduation is the completion of all degree requirements and the degree conferred on the student’s official transcript. Commencement is the ceremony held by the University to celebrate the student’s completion of their degree. Attending commencement does not insinuate that student’s have officially graduated.

Application for Graduation

Students that are within 12 credits of completing their undergraduate program, 6 credits for graduate program, may file an Application for Graduation. The Office of the Registrar will use the application to complete a degree audit to ensure students are meeting graduation requirements.

Complete your Graduation Application by using the following link: Graduation Application. This application is not the same for commencement ceremony.

Graduation Requirements

In order to be eligible for graduation the following must be met:

  • Complete the minimum credit hours required for degree
  • Have a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.0 for undergraduate programs and 3.0 for graduate programs.
  • Meet residency requirements

Academic Honors

Recognition is rarely in short supply at USU. Faculty frequently congratulate those who achieve great things in the classroom, and students often congratulate each other on their success. Each year, however, USU recognizes a select group of individuals who earn outstanding grades in their studies. Students who demonstrate exceptionally high academic scores are eligible for academic honors. Academic honors are posted to the final transcript when the student’s degree is conferred. These honors include:

Undergraduate Students
Summa Cum Laude graduates hold a GPA of 3.80-4.00.
Magna Cum Laude graduates hold a GPA of 3.65-3.79.
Cum Laude graduates hold a GPA of 3.50-3.64

Graduate Students
Graduate students with a cumulative grade point average of 3.7 or above will be recognized and awarded the status of “With Distinction.”

Commencement Ceremony

Each year, USU holds a commencement ceremony at a select location in the greater San Diego area honoring all graduates from the academic year. Graduates receive their diplomas within 90 days of completing their program, and will have indicated their interest in participating in the ceremony on the graduation application. An invitation to RSVP for the event will be sent to students USU emails. Undergraduate degree candidates who are within 12 credits of program completion or graduate degree candidates within 6 credits of program completion on the date of commencement (within the calendar year) will be invited to participate in the ceremony.

2020/2021 Graduation Ceremony Information

Location: Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina
Date: Saturday, October 23, 2021
Time: 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM PDT.

United States University (USU) continues to monitor county and state regulations, including those guidelines set by the Centers for Disease and Control Prevention (CDC).

USU has published on the University Website information regarding COVID-19 guidelines for students, faculty, and staff while on campus. That information can be found HERE.

Attendance for the commencement ceremony will be very limited. Due to space restrictions and health and safety guidelines, only four (4) guests shall be allowed to attend per graduate. Please continue to monitor this page for the most current details and safety measures regarding Commencement and Reception. We will continue to update the COVID-19 Page as state and county regulations continue to evolve.

*The University is no longer accepting RSVPs. The deadline to RSVP was June 30, 2021. Students that did not RSVP will not be allowed to participate in commencement. No exceptions will be made.

Josten’s USU store is now open. Caps and gowns must be ordered directly from Josten’s no later than September 16th, 2021.

Students graduating with Honors will be provided with Honor Cords at the graduate reception the day before.

Student Commencement Speaker

Unites States University invites graduating students to apply for our student commencement speaker to address the graduating class of 2020/2021 at the Commencement Ceremony.

A student speaker will have the honor to be selected by Student Commencement Speaker Committee to convey a message of inspiration, common experiences and insights, as well as inspire fellow graduates.

If interested please review the eligibility criteria below and contact David Noriega at to obtain and complete the Student Speaker Application. The application is due no later than September 17th, 2021.


In order to be eligible to address commencement graduating students must meet the following criteria:

  • Be eligible for graduation.
  • Be in good academic standing (high Cumulative GPA, no disciplinary action or academic progress warning/probation).
  • Commit to attend and participate commencement ceremony

The selected applicant chosen by the committee may receive assistance from the college deans with refining their speech, if needed.