Commencement Information

Graduation and Commencement

Students often inquire 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 students 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. Students should not plan to attend commencement until they receive confirmation from the Registrar’s Office.

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
  • Refer the University Catalog for more information regarding Graduation 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. 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.

2023 Graduation Ceremony Information

Location: San Diego Marriott Mission Valley in San Diego, California

Date: September 16, 2023

Time: 12:00 PM


Eligible students will be notified via USU email on June 1st, 2023 to complete the RSVP for commencement. If you believe you may be eligible and did not receive the notice please contact the Registrar's Office at The deadline to RSVP is June 30th, 2023.

Please be advised that RSVP is to help the university obtain a student count of expected attendees but it does not confirm your eligibility to participate in the commencement ceremony. The Registrar's Office will complete a degree audit to confirm your eligibility to participate at the commencement ceremony after the June 30th deadline. Events that could impact your eligibility are course failures, leave of absence, not maintaining continuous enrollment, etc.

Attendance for the commencement ceremony may be limited. Information about the number of guests will be sent to students via USU email. Please continue to monitor this page for the most current details and safety measures regarding Commencement and Reception.


Josten’s USU store is now open.

You can visit the store here: or call Jostens Customer Care at (800) 854-7464 Monday through Friday 9 am-5 pm central time.

The deadline to order regalia is August 10, 2023. We advise all students to order before the deadline to avoid delivery issues.

Students participating at commencement and graduating with Honors will be provided with Honor Cords at the graduate reception the day before. Please note honor cords are not mailed to the students.

Student Commencement Speaker - Currently accepting applications

United States University will be inviting graduating students to apply for our student commencement speaker to address the graduating class of 2023 at the Commencement Ceremony.

A student speaker will have the honor to be selected by the 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 August 18, 2023.


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.