Commencement 2020

Date and Time:
Tuesday, May 19, 2020 at 2:00 PM


Zellerbach Auditorium


Commencement Speaker:
Dacher Keltner


Reception to follow at Lower Sproul


COVID-19 Update

Hello Psychology Community,


As you may have heard, due to the continuing COVID-19 pandemic, the campus-wide general commencement ceremony in May has been postponed. The exact date has not yet been determined, but it is anticipated to be held in July or August.

Given this new paradigm, we here in Psychology are considering options for how we might proceed with appropriately honoring our graduating students.  In order to make the best decision possible, we would like to hear from you.  Obviously we will be limited in what we can do by a number of factors, but want to be sure we're arranging an event that is best for our whole community and especially our graduates.


Please take a moment to complete the Psychology Graduation 2020 preference survey by next Thursday, April 2. It's short, I promise. And your responses will help us in creating the best possible graduation experience we can.


If you have questions or other thoughts that would best be conveyed offline, feel free to reach out to Christine directly at Thanks so much!



Registration for the Spring 2020 Commencement is now closed. The deadline to register for commencement was Friday, March 27th. Due to program production deadlines, we are unable to include the names of the students who register late.  You are still welcome to walk the stage during the ceremony.  To do so, please refer to the Other Important Instructions section at the bottom of this page.


A reception will be held after Commencement at approximately 4:00 p.m. at Lower Sproul outside of the venue. No tickets are required for the reception. The reception will be catered and will include light refreshments.


*The Psychology Department does not have a rehearsal for Commencement. Please familiarize yourself with the ceremony details in advance. Details noted below in the Other Important Details section.



*Keep in mind, the Psychology commencement ceremony is a smaller, more personal celebration for Psychology Graduate and Undergraduate students. It is separate from the general, campus-wide CAL commencement ceremony. For more information regarding the campus-wide ceremony, please visit:


  • Ceremony Participation vs. Degree List

    Students sometimes think that these two things are the same. CalCentral has automatically added each student to their anticipated semester to receive their degree based on your semester at UC Berkeley. If you plan to graduate early or stay for the summer/another semester, please see a college adviser. Being on the degree list means that you plan to complete all of your requirements for the degree.

    By signing up for commencement to participate in the ceremony means that you are ready to celebrate your time at Cal with your loved ones. Students may participate even if they finished their degree last December 2019; some may participate in the May 2020 ceremony even if they plan to earn an August 2020 or December 2020 degree!

  • General Commencement vs. Department Commencement

    Commencement, the campus-wide ceremony for all graduating seniors from all majors and their families, includes the Chancellor's address, keynote address, and most of the traditional pomp and circumstance. Departmental graduations occur separately within their discipline and are more personal, with each graduate walking across the stage to receive a commemorative certificate.

    Students can attend either one of the ceremonies, or both.

  • Tickets

    Please note that tickets are REQUIRED for guests and no guest will be allowed to enter Zellerbach Auditorium without a ticket. Children under 2 years of age are required to have a ticket which will be free of charge. Students participating in the ceremony do not need a ticket to get inside the venue. Please contact Cal performances for more information about tickets for children under 2 years of age.  

    Graduating undergraduate students who complete the exit survey (available online on March 30th) will be able to pick up two complimentary tickets directly from the student services office starting on 5/4 through 5/15.  Please bring a screenshot or printed copy of the survey's confirmation page.

    People may purchase additional tickets from the Cal Performances office for $12 a piece. The Cal Performances Ticket Office will be selling additional Psychology commencement tickets starting March 31st online, over the phone at 510-642-9988, and at the Ticket Office at Zellerbach Hall (Tues-Fri, 12:00 p.m.-5:30p.m., Sat-Sun, 1:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m.). From March 31st through April 30th people will only be able to purchase 10 tickets per graduating student, and then all remaining tickets will be available (unrestricted) starting May 1st.

    Tickets will be available for purchase on the day of Commencement starting at 12 pm, at the box office near the main entrance while supplies last. 

    All seating, regardless of what the tickets say, is General Admission. SEATS ARE ON A FIRST COME, FIRST SERVED BASIS.

  • Diplomas

    Diplomas are not presented at the ceremony; they are usually available about 4 to 5 months after the end of the semester. Graduates may pick up their diploma at the Registrar's Office (120 Sproul Hall) or request that it be mailed to them for a charge. To obtain your diploma, you must have all of your fees paid, all library materials returned, and have no other outstanding concerns. For more information, you can refer to the Office of the Registrar's website on Transcripts & Diplomas

  • Regalia

    Questions regarding regalia rental may be directed to the Cal Student Store, MLK Student Union, 2495 Bancroft Way, 510-229-4703 , or visit:

    For first generation low-income students, there may be options for borrowing a gown here: Please note that the deadline to apply is April 10, 2020. 

    Honor Cords may be purchased at the store by undergraduate students who are enrolled in the Honors Program. 

  • Class of 2020 Senior Gift Campaign

    For donations, please stay tuned for the updated webpage. Thank you for your support!

  • Photographs

    The Psychology Department has made arrangements with GradImages to photograph every graduating student. There will be a professional photographer present during the ceremony. A picture will be taken of each student at the moment the commemorative scroll is given to the student by the Psychology Department Chair Professor Ann Kring. For more info about ordering photos, vist the GradImages website.

    To prevent crowd congestion and to ensure the safety and comfort of all, guests may only take pictures and videos from their seats.

  • Flowers

    Our Department works with a local flower vendor, Ashby Flowers, to make it easy for family and friends to purchase flowers in advance, via their website. The folks at Ashby Flowers have flowers available for delivery directly to our Commencement venue at the Zellerbach Auditorium. To ensure routing to the correct venue please enter the “GRAD2020PSYCH” code when submitting orders. There will be a selection of flowers for purchase on the day of graduation.

  • Parking

    On-campus visitor parking is available in any designated student lot on campus, for a $10 fee. Parking lots near the Zellerbach Auditorium include:

    1) Lower Sproul Lot (formerly known as MLK Student Union Garage) - located in Bancroft Way near Telegraph Ave., under Zellerbach Hall

    2) Recreational Sprots Facility (RSF) Garage - located on Bancroft Way at Ellsworth Avenue. 

    See map for parking lots here. For more information about parking click here. Traffic is likely to be heavy around the theater and parking may be difficult, so be sure to allow plenty of time to get there. Please see the Parking & Transportation web site for more information on parking fees, maps and locations, disability parking, and public transportation.

  • Weather Considerations

    Please inform your guests that, though the ceremony is an indoor event. The reception will take place in the outside open area of Lower Sproul.  The reception will take place rain or shine, so guests should plan accordingly (with sunglasses, sunscreen, umbrellas, water, sweater or jacket, etc.). 

  • Visitor Information

    Visitors coming from outside the Bay Area may wish to contact UC Berkeley Visitors Services at 510-642-5215. Information on local accommodations can be found at the Berkeley Visitors Bureau. For additional information you can refer to this Grad guide for 2020.

  • Zellerbach Auditorium Policies & Information

    The Commencement Ceremony will be held at Zellerbach Auditorium  (see map), a large indoor performance space in the center of the main campus. For those unfamiliar with the campus, please view/print this Campus Map.

    We recommend you arrive at least 45 minutes early to assure you do not miss any of the ceremony. In addition, we recommend you bring as little as possible since there is no bag or coat check available and all bags are subject to search at the discretion of the theatre staff.

    The following are prohibited inside the Zellerbach Auditorium:

    • Glass bottles/Aluminum cans
    • Food and beverages (with the exception of plastic bottled water)
    • Coolers/ice chests
    • Baby strollers (designateed parking is available inside)
    • Skateboards/bicycles/scooters
    • Musical instruments
    • Noise-makers/air horns/fireworks
    • Rolls of toilet paper
    • Balloons (may be tied-off at the entrance gates at own discretion)
    • Signs/banners/flags
    • Tripods/monopods/selfie-stick for cameras
    • Animals (with the exception of documented service animals)
    • Lawn furniture or chairs
    • Wearing Masks of any kind
    • Packages
    • Any items that can be perceived as weapons

    Please note that this list is not exhaustive. 

    Zellerbach Hall is a modern facility and the staff at the Zellerbach Auditorium will do their best to accommodate everyone's needs for special seating. If you anticipate needing accommodations to enjoy the graduation, please contact the graduation coordinator in the Psychology department as soon as possible. Please reach out to Christine Mullarkey by email at or by phone at (510)643-8114.

  • Disability Accommodation & On-Site Medical Aid

    Please inform the Student Services Office when you sign-up for commencement if you or any of your guests require disability accommodations at Zellerbach Auditorium (e.g., if they are disabled and/or will be using a wheelchair, if they need seating close to an entrance to reduce walking, or if they need an assisted listening device). If you have any questions about accommodations for the event, please contact Christine Mullarkey at  

    Information on the campus' Disability Access Services can be found at

    There will be a registered nurse and campus security aides on duty during the ceremony should anyone need medical attention. 

  • Other Important Instructions

    The Zellerbach Auditorium doors will open at 1:00 p.m. and the ceremony will start promptly at 2:00 pm.

    GRADUATING STUDENTS, PLEASE ARRIVE AT THE ZELLERBACH AUDITORIUM ON TUESDAY, MAY 19, 2020, AT 1:00 PM IN ROBE AND READY TO GO. Students participating should congregate by the check-in tble located in Lower Sproul at 1:00 pm. Guests should find their seats.

    You will then be given a color coded index card on which to print your first and last name. If pronunciation is a concern, it should be spelled phonetically on the card. You will also be given directions regarding the processional and scroll presentation part of the ceremony by Student Services Staff who will guide you.

    Although we cannot guarantee that you will be able to sit near your friends, your chances of sitting beside them are greatly increased if you are next to each other in the same line (in other words, ask for a card that is the same color as those of your friends).

    After receiving your card, it is impossible to switch cards, so make sure you know what line you want to be in before asking for a corresponding card.

    On cue, the lines will march into the Auditorium and into the student seating. Please remain standing until Prof. Kring signals candidates to be seated.

    The first half of the ceremony is dedicated to the announcement of prizes, honors, and speeches.

    In the second half of the ceremony:

        Ph.D. candidates will be hooded individually by their Faculty Advisor.
        B.A. candidates will be presented with a commemorative scroll on stage by Prof. Kring.

    Prof. Kring will then end the ceremony. The audience will remain seated while the students leave the stage.

    The ceremony typically lasts between two and two-and-a-half hours.