Guide to the graduation ceremony

Graduation ceremonies are among the most formal and ceremonial of all University events. We give a quick rundown of the ceremony and guidelines on etiquette so you can get the most out of your big day. 

The ceremony

So what happens at the graduation ceremony? Here, we give a quick run down of the event.

The ceremony opens

The Graduands’ Procession enters the hall and graduands make their way to their seats. The assembly (audience) remains seated at this point. 

Shortly afterwards, the Chancellor’s Procession enters the hall. The assembly should rise and remain standing until the Chancellor invites guests to be seated. 

The Chancellor of the University will declare the ceremony open and deliver their opening address. This will be followed by an opening address from the Principal and Vice-Chancellor. The Chancellor will then proceed to the conferral of degrees and other awards, beginning with the conferral of honorary degrees. 

The conferment of degrees

Graduands are presented to the Chancellor in the following order: Honorary Degrees, Higher Degrees, First Degrees, Diplomas and Certificates. Recipients are presented by their Head of Faculty.

As you cross the stage as a graduand, you will be met first by the Chancellor of the University, who will confer your degree by ‘faux capping’ you lightly on the head. On leaving the stage you will be presented with your award documentation.

The ceremony ends

The Chancellor declares the ceremony closed. The assembly is asked to rise when the music begins, and to remain standing while the Chancellor’s and Graduates’ Processions leave the hall.

Etiquette

Graduation ceremonies are among the most formal and ceremonial of all University events, so you may find the following guidelines helpful.

If you arrive late or need to leave during the ceremony, please be aware that you may not be able to enter or re-enter the hall during the Processions.

Check that your mobile phone has been turned off or turned to silent.

Graduands

You are a ‘graduand’ before the ceremony and a ‘graduate’ when you are ‘capped’ by the Chancellor. 

If you arrive late or need to leave during the ceremony, please be aware that you may not be able to enter or re-enter the hall during the Processions.

Ensure that you have made alternative arrangements for coats, bags and other personal belongings, as you will not be allowed to cross the stage with these items.

Please note that under no circumstances may a child be permitted to cross the stage with a graduating parent. Please make arrangements for a carer to look after your child if you are graduating.

Check that your mobile phone has been turned off or turned to silent.

Guests

Please be considerate of other guests. We would ask that you take photographs from your seat to avoid obstructing the view of other guests or causing a distraction. Members of the audience may take photographs from a seated position, but should not move about the venue or use flash apparatus.

Refreshments must not be consumed in the hall.

Children

Graduation ceremonies are formal occasions and usually last for at least one hour. They are therefore not suitable for children under school age and we advise that you make alternative arrangements for small children. However, we understand that this is not always possible.

If you have a guest under school age, your party may be asked to sit at the end of an aisle or near an exit so that the child can be taken outside should they become restless. We would appreciate your co-operation in this matter.

All guests, including children over two years of age, must be in possession of a ticket.

Graduation ceremonies normally last 90 minutes and are formal occasions. We recommend that babies and young children do not attend.

We are unable to provide childcare facilities at the graduation ceremonies.

Photography

Please be considerate of other guests. We know you want to get a great picture of your loved one, but please take photographs from your seat to avoid obstructing the view of other guests or causing a distraction.

Members of the audience may take photographs from a seated position, but should not move about the venue or use flash apparatus.

Find out more about photography and graduation merchandise available on the day.