Mesa Journeys




Commencement vs. Graduation

Commencement Ceremony:

A commencement ceremony is often referred to as "Graduation", but they are not always the same thing. For San Diego Mesa College, the commencement ceremony is the end-of-year celebration in May for students that have completed or are expected to complete their graduation requirements. Students that completed their graduation requirements in the prior Fall or Summer semesters can also participate in the May commencement ceremony.

Student do not receive their diplomas at the commencement ceremony. Diplomas for summer, fall, and spring graduates are mailed directly to the students after they complete their graduation process. 


Graduation, on the other hand, is a multiple step process of developing an educational plan, completing your course requirements, and submitting a Petition for Graduation. 

The term in which you have officially and successfully completed all of your graduation requirements is when you graduate. Once your final grades are posted, your academic records will be evaluated to determine if you completed all requirements and your diploma will be sent to you by mail to the address listed on Reg-E. Check out the Before You Can Graduate page for a step by step process to graduating.

Are you ready to graduate?

Below are the 4 steps you need to take to ensure you graduate and can participate in the May Commencement Ceremony.

☑  Step 1: See a Counselor - Create an Education Plan

You will need to schedule an appointment to meet with a counselor to develop your educational plan for the specific degree or certificate you are pursuing. Students can meet with their counselor in EOPS, DSPS, STAR/TRIO, or General Counseling Office

☑  Step 2: Apply for Graduation

Once you have an educational plan for the degree or certificate you wish to receive, you need to Apply for Graduation.

  • Apply for Graduation though your student portal at Under My Academics on the left-hand side of your student portal, click Apply for Graduation. Be sure to click submit at the end!
  • You may apply for graduation up to two (2) semesters before you plan to finish your classes/graduate. However, it is recommend to submit your petition the semester before you graduate.
  • Transcript Requirement:All transcripts from other colleges/universities attended must be on file prior to submitting an Application for Graduation.
    **Transcripts may be waived for petition for a Certificate of Achievement, if all coursework for the certification has been completed within the District. See Transcript section.

    Example: If you are graduating in Spring, you can petition as early as the Summer semester before, but it is recommended to submit the petition in the Fall semester before.

2018-2019 Apply for Graduation Deadlines:

  • October 1, 2018 - Deadline to file a Petition for Graduation ONLY for students transferring to a CSU in Spring 2019 who are completing an Associate in Arts for Transfer (AA-T) or an Associate in Science for Transfer (AS-T). Associate Degree for Transfer (ADT).
  • November 16, 2018 -Deadline to file a Petition for Graduation and be a Fall 2018 graduate. Students filing after this date will be Spring 2019 graduates.
  • February 14, 2019 - Deadline to file a Petition for Graduation for students transferring to a CSU in Fall 2019 who are completing an Associate in Arts for Transfer (AA-T) or an Associate in Science for Transfer (AS-T). Associate Degree for Transfer (ADT).
  • March 22, 2019 - Deadline to file a Petition for Graduation and ensure their name will be included in the commencement program. **Students filing after this date but before April 30, 2019 will still be Spring 2019 graduates, but their name may not be in the Commencement Program.**
  • April 30, 2019 - Deadline to file a Petition for Graduation and be a Spring 2019 graduate. Students filing after this date will be Summer graduates.
  • July 31, 2019 - Deadline to file a Petition for Graduation and be a Summer 2019 graduate.  Students filing after this date will be Fall 2019 graduates.


Once you submit your Application for Graduation, you may view your graduation status in the My Academics section, located on the left-hand side of your student portal.

  • Make sure your email address is up to date, in case your evaluator needs to contact you for any reason. You can update your email address through your student portal.
  • It may take up to 3-4 months to receive your graduation status online.
  • If you have trouble understanding your graduation status, please contact your counselor.

☑  Step 4: Receive an invitation via mail and email for the commencement ceremony

Graduation with Honors

Graduation with honors distinction is based upon all coursework that is associate degree and lower division baccalaureate degree applicable or coursework applicable to the certificate of achievement. If eligible, an honors notation is placed on the student's official transcript and diploma.

  • Honors is granted to students who achieve an overall 3.5 GPA.
  • High Honors is granted to students who achieve an overall 3.75 GPA.
  • Highest Honors is granted to students who achieve an overall 4.0 GPA.

The final honors distinction will be determined upon completion of all coursework completed through the semester you are completing your requirements

Catalog Rights

Students who maintain continuous enrollment may choose to graduate under the college catalog in effect at the time they began their studies in a California Community College, California State University, or University of California campus, or under the catalog in effect at the time of graduation.

Continuous enrollment is defined as attendance in one semester or two quarters (excluding summer) within a calendar year in the CSU, UC, or California Community College System.

Certification of a student's completion of CSU general education requirements or the Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum (IGETC) is not a graduation requirement. Therefore, students do not have catalog rights to a certification pattern used by a certifying institution or a CSU or UC campus.


Diplomas for associate degrees and certificates of achievement are automatically mailed to the student's official address on file. Students are responsible for updating address changes within the reg-e system.  Diplomas are mailed usually eight weeks after of the end of the semester.  

To order a duplicate copy of your diploma:

    • Contact the Evaluations Office to verify degree/certificate completion.
    • Complete the Processing Fees for Reissuing Diplomas form and take the form to the Accounting office to pay the $10 reissue fee.
    • Return to the Evaluations Office with the form and proof of payment.
    • Reissued diplomas take approximately four weeks for processing.

Certificate of Performance

Certificates of Performance are departmental awards and do not appear on student's transcripts.

Certificate of Performance Requirements:

  • Students much achieve a grade of “C” or better in each of the required courses.
  • Complete all required course work in the San Diego Community College District.
  • Course substitutions or course equivalencies from other colleges may not be used to satisfy Certificate of Performance requirements


Once a student has completed all requirements and all grades are officially posted on a student academic record, students may petition to receive their Certificate of Performance by visiting the Evaluations Office