Information for Graduates

Commencement 2023 graduate information

Palo Alto University is pleased to announce this year’s 2023 commencement ceremony will be held at the Santa Clara Convention Center on Saturday, June 17, 2023, at 10 a.m. PT

More information will be provided as event details are finalized. Please check this page often for the most up-to-date information. 



Important Dates for Graduates

Watch this video for important deadlines!
The big day is just around the corner!

Email Announcements Sent to Graduates

Frequently Asked Questions for Graduates

General Information

How do I apply to graduate and participate in commencement?Toggle Accordion

All students who are identified as eligible to participate in the June 2023 Commencement, were contacted by the Registrar’s Office in March 2023. If you did not receive information regarding the Intent to Graduate and Participate in Commencement form, please reach out to the Registrar’s Office at

Who can participate in commencement on June 17th?Toggle Accordion

Students who are eligible to walk in commencement have completed or are on-track to complete the following:

1. Submitted Intent to Graduate Form

2. Completed the Total Unit Requirement for Program (which includes anticipated spring and summer course registration)

3. Completed all Course Requirements (successful completion of all courses required for your program)

4. Students must schedule and defend their dissertation by May 15th (PhD and PsyD only). D-6 form on file. For this year only, students must defend by June 2, 2023 in order to be eligible to walk in commencement. Please reference the communication above.

5. Started internship (PhD and PsyD only)

What is the difference between commencement and graduation?Toggle Accordion

Commencement is the ceremony to honor students whose degrees have been conferred or who are expected to graduate in the academic year. 

Graduation is the completion of one's program requirements and the awarding of the degree.

How do I verify or change the name that will be printed on the commencement program?Toggle Accordion

When completing the Intent to Graduate Form, please make sure that you double-check the entered spelling of your name. Once the form is submitted, we will use the entered name for the commencement 2023 program. Changes to names must be submitted by May 15. 

Please email if you have any questions. 

Will the Commencement cermeony be livestreamed?Toggle Accordion

Yes, the link to access the live-stream, will be added to the PAU homepage and the commencement page as we get closer to the ceremony date.

Where can I find ticket information?Toggle Accordion

Graduates can request tickets through Eventbrite. Each graduate can invite up to 7 guests for the in-person ceremony. When reserving your tickets, there is no need to enter guests' names or contact information (the graduate's name will be on each ticket). Please forward your guests their digital tickets. 
Paper or digital tickets will be accepted at the entrance to the ceremony hall. The deadline for graduates to reserve tickets is June 3. 
*Please use your PAU email address when reserving tickets (non-PAU email reservations will automatically be canceled). 
**Please note that children over the age of two will require a ticket to enter the ceremony.
***Graduates do NOT need a ticket to attend the ceremony, tickets are for guests only.

How do I request an accommodation for a guest with a disability?Toggle Accordion

Please complete the ADA Request Form and indicate the accommodation needed by June 1, 2023.

Who can attend the Commencement ceremony?Toggle Accordion

Family, Friends, & Guests with a ticket are welcome to attend the in-person ceremony. The ceremony will also be live-streamed fro guests who are unable to attend in person.

Regalia, Photos, and Commemorative Items

How do I obtain my regalia?Toggle Accordion

You can order your regalia on Josten's website or you can call Josten's customer service at 1-800-854-7464. The deadline to order your regalia is May 4. 



How do I order personalized Commencement announcements?Toggle Accordion

Visit Josten's website or contact Josten's Customer Service at 1-800-854-7464 to place an order. 

Can I order a PAU class ring?Toggle Accordion

Yes, visit Josten's website to view our PAU ring collection, or contact Josten's Customer Service at 1-800-854-7464 to place an order. 

Will there be a professional photographer onsite?Toggle Accordion

Yes, PAU partners with GradImages, who will take multiple photos of each candidate as they process across the stage. GradImages will email graduates a few days after commencement when proofs are ready (as long as a valid email address was provided). 

If you have not received your proofs within five business days, please contact customer service at 800-261-2576.


How can I order Commencement photos?Toggle Accordion

Photos taken by our professional photographer can be ordered through Grad Images.

Does PAU have a cap adornment policy?Toggle Accordion

PAU supports the decoration of caps for the commencement ceremony. While the University recognizes that this is an important activity, students choosing to wear a decorated cap during the ceremony must follow the guidelines below. The guidelines will be enforced at the Commencement ceremony, and the University reserves the right to request that graduates change inappropriate attire before they are allowed to participate in the ceremony. The University wants this experience for our graduates to be a positive and celebratory event of self-expression yet respectful to all.


  • Only the flat top area of the mortarboard may be decorated. Adornments should lay flat on the top of the cap. Decorations may not include the following:
  • Profanity
  • Symbols for or references to alcohol or controlled substances
  • Political statements, symbols, or political party references
  • Three-dimensional objects
  • Flowers of flower crowns
  • Objects that light up

Note: Any adornment or message deemed inappropriate or determined to be a distraction will not be permitted.



Degree, Diploma & Transcript Information

How do I receive my diploma?Toggle Accordion

Once you have completed all degree requirements and have received a final grade for all of your courses, the Registrar's Office will confer your degree.  Upon the conferral of your degree, you will be sent a Diploma Request Form asking for your name as you would like it to appear on your diploma as well as the address to send it to.

Please make sure that you double-check the entered spelling of your name before submitting the Diploma Request form.

When will I receive my diploma?Toggle Accordion

Once you have completed the Diploma Request Form, it takes 4-6 weeks for our vendor to print your diploma and for the Registrar's Office to mail it to you. For additional questions about your diploma, please contact the Registrar's Office at

Can anything prevent the release of a diploma?Toggle Accordion

Yes, diplomas will not be released for students who have outstanding financial obligations to the University or outstanding academic requirements.

What are the diploma sizes?Toggle Accordion

The undergraduate and masters diploma's measure 8.5" x 11" and the doctoral diplomas measure 11" x 14".

How do I order a diplolma frame?Toggle Accordion

Visit the Jostens website, or contact Josten's Customer Service at 1-800-854-7464 to place an order.

Please note the following diploma sizes:

Bachelor's and Master's - 8.5" x 11"

Doctoral - 11" x 14"

Will a diploma be withheld if I do not complete exit counseling?Toggle Accordion

Yes. Graduating students must complete online federal exit counseling on to receive their PAU diploma.

When are degrees considered official?Toggle Accordion

Degrees are considered official when all grades are received and all degree requirements are successfully met and posted on your transcript.

What are University Honors?Toggle Accordion

University honors are for undergraduate students and are determined using a student’s cumulative GPA., academic honors are designated as follows:***

Summa Cum Laude 3.75+ (3.75-4.0)

Magna Cum Laude 3.66+ (3.66-3.74)

Cum Laude 3.5 + (3.50 - 3.65)

University Honors are noted on the diploma and transcripts.

***For the commencement program, academic honors are based on all of your completed coursework through the end of the winter quarter.***

How do I obtain an official transcript or degree verification?Toggle Accordion

Upon awarding of your degree, the Registrar’s Office will email you (via your PAU email address) notifying you that your degree has been conferred and stepson how to request your diploma. This email also includes detailed information on how to order your official transcript through the National Student Clearinghouse.

A degree verification can be obtained by emailing the Registrar’s Office at  Information regarding the details required for your verification request can be found here.

Does having a hold on my account prevent me from obtaining my diploma or official transcript? Toggle Accordion

Diploma - Alumni with a financial hold from their student billing account will not be able to receive their diploma until all outstanding financial obligations are paid 

Official Transcript - PAU will withhold the release of official transcripts of  a student with a Library hold and/or Student Success hold. Any student with these holds must work with the appropriate department to resolve their hold.

Day-Of Ceremony Information

When and where do candidates line up?Toggle Accordion

Please arrive at Hall B in the Santa Clara Convention Center by 9:15 a.m. (45 minutes before the start of the ceremony). Please be dressed in your regalia. 

Will there be a place where graduates can store their valuables during the ceremony?Toggle Accordion

No. Please leave valuables and personal possessions with family and friends; we do not have security or space to store them. We are not responsible for lost, stolen or destroyed personal possessions.

How early should guests arrive at the Santa Clara Convention Center?Toggle Accordion

Please let your guests know that the doors to Hall C & D, where the ceremony will be held, will open promptly at 9 a.m., one hour prior to the ceremony. If your guests arrive before 9 a.m., they will be required to wait in the lobby of the Convention Center. Guests are required to have an Eventbrite ticket. Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. Graduates, please be sure to notify your guests of this procedure. If you or your guests require ADA accommodations, please complete the ADA Request Form by June 1, 2023.

Are seats reserved?Toggle Accordion

No, all seats are general admission and on a first-come, first-served basis, unless requesting ADA accommodations.

How long does the Commencement Ceremony last?Toggle Accordion

The ceremony will last approximately 90 to 120 minutes.


Can children accompany candidates on stage?Toggle Accordion

No, children need to be seated in general seating with the candidate's guests.

Are there any areas that are restricted or off-limits?Toggle Accordion

Some areas of the ceremony hall will be blocked off for visibility and safety reasons or may be reserved for graduates. We ask that guests do not sit in these blocked areas. Our volunteer ushers may ask guests to relocate to another seating area if needed. 

Can guests record the ceremony?Toggle Accordion

Yes, the use of video cameras will be allowed to the extent that they do not obstruct the view of other guests in the audience. Monopods, bipods, and tripods are not allowed.

Financial Aid Information

Where do I complete federal exit counseling?Toggle Accordion

Graduating students must complete online federal exit counseling on in order to receive their PAU diploma.

Where can I find more infromation regarding student loan repayment?Toggle Accordion

For additional information regarding student loan repayment please visit our site:

Alumni Information

Now that I’ve graduated, how do I stay connected to PAU?Toggle Accordion

Visit the PAU Alumni website for information regarding important alumni news and information, alumni benefits, resources, and events. 

You can also join your alumni Facebook and LinkedIn groups to keep in touch with peers and hear about alumni programming.


Does my PAU email address expire?Toggle Accordion

No, it is yours to have as an alumni. It is also another great way to stay connected to the University. 


Email us at