Application for Graduation

Graduation Application Process

Graduation is not automatic. All students must apply to graduate online via the VIP Portal during the semester/term that they intend to complete final degree requirements.

PLEASE BE AWARE: If students do not apply by the University's graduation application deadline posted each semester, we can NOT guarantee inclusion in any official graduation correspondence and commencement-related materials. 

For students intending to graduate in May 2022:

  • Applications will be available now online through VIP.
  • Applications are due by Friday, April 15th. After this deadline, names may not be placed in the commencement program and diploma may be delayed.
  • Questions about graduation, please email

Students should become acquainted with the graduation requirements noted below for their program of study. Students are responsible for meeting all graduation requirements and for submitting all required forms on time. Graduation may be delayed if a student's record is incomplete.

Graduate Requirements and How To Apply

Graduate School Graduation Requirements

To graduate from a degree program in the School of Graduate Studies and Research at California University, a student must comply with the following terms as outlined in the graduate school graduation policy:

  • Possess an overall GPA of at least 3.00 with no failing grades on the transcript (unless repeated with a passing grade);
  • Earn the minimum number of credits in the courses (required and elective) specified in the program requirements;
  • Meet the graduation residency requirement by completing at least two-thirds of the program requirement credits at PennWest California;
  • Complete all non-course requirements as specified by the program, if applicable;
  • Successfully pass a comprehensive examination or portfolio requirement, if applicable;
  • For programs that require it, have an approved candidacy form on file with the Graduate School after completing six to 12 credits in the major;
  • INFORMATION REQUIRED FOR A RESEARCH PROJECT, THESIS, DOCTORAL CAPSTONE RESEARCH PORTFOLIO, OR DISSERTATION: For programs that require it, YOU ARE REQUIRED to email the following information so that your research project, thesis, doctoral research portfolio, doctoral capstone research project or dissertation can be listed in our commencement program:

    • Type: Research Project, Thesis, Doctoral Research Portfolio, Doctoral Capstone Research Project or Dissertation (only these 5 types will be listed in the program)

    • Research Advisor:

    • Title:

  • Submit the online Application for Graduation by the published due date; and

  • Pass the graduation checkout process conducted by the School of Graduate Studies and Research to ensure no financial or other obligations exist.

Commencement Honors

At Commencement, graduate students who have earned a cumulative minimum 3.95 GPA in their degree program based on their final GPA, for summer or winter term graduates, or their GPA based on the term prior to graduation, for fall and spring graduates, are eligible to wear honors cords. Graduate degree students earning honors at graduation are not acknowledged in the Commencement program and honors designations are not listed on graduate level diplomas or transcripts.


Need to contact your dean's office?
School of Graduate Studies and Research: 724-938-4066, Dixon Hall, 4th Floor

Undergraduate Graduation Requirements

To graduate from an undergraduate degree program at California University, a student must comply with the following terms as outlined in the undergraduate graduation policy:

  • Credits: There is a 120 credit minimum for a bachelor's degree and 60 credits for an associate degree (unless otherwise specified). Students in all curricula must complete a minimum of 30 credits of the last 45 credits at PennWest California. Students in bachelor degree programs who started their degrees at PennWest California must complete a minimum of 42 credits in upper division level coursework (i.e., courses numbered 300 and above).
  • GPA: A candidate for Teacher Education must possess a grade point average of 3.0 in his/her major and overall and must successfully complete student teaching before graduation. An overall grade point average of 2.0 is required for graduation. Certain other programs may require minimum grades in courses within the major. Please contact your faculty advisor for questions regarding your program's GPA requirements.
  • Repeated Courses: If you are repeating any courses this semester that you previously received a "D" grade or better in, please note that these credits must be subtracted out of the total credits applied which may put you below the 120 credit minimum.
  • Incomplete Courses: It is the student's responsibility to contact the instructor regarding any incomplete grades. A diploma will not be issued with incomplete coursework.
  • Developmental Courses: Please be aware that DMA 062, DMA 092, DMA 094, EDE 062, EDE 100, ENG 062, ENG 100, or MAT 098 will NOT count toward graduation. Developmental courses are coded as "100" or below in the course number. Please check your Degree Works to make sure you have enough "total credits applied" to graduate in your program.
  • Transfer Courses: Please immediately notify your dean's office of any transfer credits that are needed to complete your degree requirements. All transfer courses must be pre-approved and submitted by the end of the semester you intend to graduate. Official transcripts from each institution must be sent to the Office of Articulation and Transfer Evaluation (Dixon Hall, 3rd Floor / Box 37) and will be added to your student record. A diploma will not be issued with outstanding transfer credits.    


Commencement Honors: 

Academic honors are awarded to graduating students who have earned at least 60 credits at California University in a baccalaureate degree program and achieved the required GPA:

  • Highest Honors (summa cum laude): 3.750 to 4.000
  • High Honors (magna cum laude): 3.500 to 3.749
  • Honors (cum laude): 3.250 to 3.499

Honors designations for the distribution of honors cords at commencement and for the listing in the commencement program are based on the earned cumulative GPA the semester prior to graduation. Final honors designations will be listed on diplomas and on official transcripts.

Honors cords are given to students who complete their associate degree programs with a cumulative minimum GPA of 3.250. Associate students will not be recognized in the commencement program as receiving academic honors and honors designations will NOT be listed on diplomas and transcripts.

Need to contact your dean's office?

College of Education and Liberal Arts: 724-938-4240, Duda Hall, 1st Floor

Eberly College of Science and Technology: 724-938-4169, Eberly Hall, 3rd Floor

All Students Who Are Ready to Apply for Graduation

BEFORE APPLYING ONLINE (VIP): Please be aware of your graduation requirements AND the following information before completing your graduation application:

  • If you have a class schedule beyond this semester and need those classes to meet your requirements for graduation, DO NOT complete this application. Only those students who have met all of the requirements to graduate at the end of this semester should apply.
  • If it is your intent to "walk only" in the commencement ceremony and not graduate this semester, please DO NOT complete the graduation application. In order to participate in the commencement ceremony prior to the semester in which you intend to graduate, you will be required to have your faculty advisor AND your department chair confirm and sign a "Walk Early" form indicating that you will finish all degree requirements within the next semester. It is your responsibility to obtain a "Walk Early" form (via email or in person) through your college dean's office.
  • IMPORTANT: Your names (preferred and/or legal) and address on your Graduation Application must be identical to the way it appears on the University's student information system. If any information in incorrect, DO NOT submit your application until it is corrected. Name and address changes are handled through the Office of Academic Records by completing and submitting the following forms:

You will be required to provide legal documentation to change your name and/or address. The acceptable documentation is a birth certificate, marriage certificate, divorce decree, formal court order or a valid passport. Your student record holds the information that we use to list you in the commencement program, order your diploma(s), send official University mailings, and include on your final transcript; it is your responsibility to ensure the information we have captured in our records system is accurate.

IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: The student name entered on the graduation application will be used throughout all graduation and commencement materials and documentation, including on your diploma(s) and in the commencement program. If you decide to change your diploma name AFTER the submission of this application, you will be responsible for paying any fees associated with having your diploma(s) reprinted. Please be aware that the commencement program cannot be edited at any point after your name preference has been entered. Official University transcripts will only include your legal name as it is listed in the University's student information system.

When ready to apply, access the graduation application via VIP and follow these instructions:
  1. Login to VIP Portal on main page (left column)
  2. Under the Home tab, click "Banner Self-Service" (middle column)
  3. Click "Student"
  4. Click "Student Records"
  5. Arrow down - Click "Apply to Graduate"
  6. Select Term
  7. Select the radio button that says "Current Program" to begin the online process.
  • REMINDER: If you are completing two (2) or more degrees, you must apply to graduate for each degree (one at a time). Repeat instructions above for each degree to be earned.
  • Issues with your online application? If there are any discrepancies with your major/minor, etc. OR if you cannot access the online application, please contact your dean's office listed in the graduation requirements sections.


  • Clearance of Outstanding Debts/Obligations: Please make sure that you have taken care of all your outstanding financial issues, including paying parking tickets, returning library books, returning borrowed equipment, and completing your Federal Stafford Loan Exit Counseling Interview, (if applicable). This must be finalized before graduation (approximately 3 weeks) to prevent any delays with the graduation process. To check if you have any holds that need your attention, please visit the VIP Portal. You will be notified if you have any graduation clearance issues via your PennWest California e-mail.
  • Diplomas/Transcripts: Diplomas and final transcripts will be available once all degree requirements have been verified AND any outstanding obligations and debts have been cleared, approximately six to eight weeks after the end of this term. Diplomas will be mailed to the permanent address listed in the student records system, or you can pick up your diploma in your dean's office.
  • Teacher Certification (for Teacher Education Students ONLY): The process to apply for Teacher Certification has recently changed. The step-by-step instructions will be provided to teacher education students during teaching practicums to explain the certification process. Questions regarding teacher certification may be directed to the Department of Education (Keystone Hall 202, Box 66, 724-938-4142)