Degree Ceremony Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How do I book a degree ceremony?
A: Students in the final year of their degree (or who have received Leave to Supplicate for a research degree) will receive an email from the central University Degree Conferrals Office, inviting them to book a degree ceremony. Historic graduands - anyone wishing to graduate more than a year after they have finished - must fill in an graduation application form and return it to the Academic Office.
Q: When should I book a degree ceremony?
A: Undergraduate finalists and Taught Postgraduate students in their final year of study receive an email from the Degree Conferrals Office at the end of November (Michaelmas Term) inviting them to book a degree ceremony. Postgraduate Research Students will be invited to book a degree ceremony when they receive their results or when they are granted Leave to Supplicate. Historic students can ask to be put on a waiting list to graduate when a place becomes available.
Q: How many guest tickets to the degree ceremony can I have?
A: Each graduand is automatically allocated two guest tickets to the degree ceremony. Unfortunately, due to the restrictions of the venue, the University cannot offer more than two guest tickets per graduand for the Sheldonian Theatre. Guests who are unable to attend in person will be able to watch the ceremony live via the University's streaming service; a DVD of the ceremony will also be available to purchase from the University's Media Production Unit after the ceremony.
Q: I would like more than two guest tickets to the degree ceremony. Is that possible?
A: The University guarantees two tickets per graduand for the degree ceremony. It is highly unlikely that any additional tickets will be available as it depends on other St Hilda's graduands not taking their full allocation. However, when you receive your graduation information pack about two months before your scheduled degree ceremony, you may ask to be added to a waiting list for any additional tickets which may become available. There is no guarantee that any extra tickets for a degree ceremony will be available. It is important to bear this in mind when inviting guests as entry to the degree ceremony is strictly by ticket only.
Q: Do I pay for guest tickets to the degree ceremony?
A: There is no charge for guest tickets to the degree ceremony. It is not possible to purchase additional guest tickets to the ceremony.
Q: How do I obtain a visa invitation letter for my guests?
A: Maoliosa Kelly in the Academic Office can prepare a visa letter for your guests. Please email her the following information about your guests: names, relationship to you, dates of birth, passport numbers, travel dates, and address while in the UK and please let her know the address to which you would like the letters sent.
Q: Are children permitted to attend the ceremony?
A: It is recommended that children under the age of seven do not attend the ceremony. Children aged seven and over are welcome to attend the ceremony and will need their own guest ticket.
Q: If I am no longer able to attend the ceremony, how do I cancel my booking?
A: Please contact Maoliosa Kelly as soon as possible if you are unable to attend the ceremony (firstname.lastname@example.org). The names of all those graduating are submitted to the Proctors 60 days before the date of the ceremony. Once your name has been submitted only the Vice Chancellor can approve a withdrawal (which she will do only in the most exceptional circumstances relating to health and family). If you do not cancel your booking before the deadline of 60 days before the ceremony - and do not attend on the day - your degree will be awarded in absentia and it will not be possible to take your degree in person at a later date.
Q: Can I graduate with two degrees in person at the same degree ceremony?
A: You can take one of the degrees in person, and the other ('lower' degree) in absentia.
Q: What should I do if one of my guests requires disabled facilities?
A: The Sheldonian will not reserve spaces, and advises guests who wish to claim seats on the ground floor to arrive a little in advance of the doors opening at approx 30 minutes before the ceremony time. For the Sheldonian there are two public disabled parking spaces on Broad Street. Guests using wheelchairs will be directed by the security staff on the gate to the South Doors facing the Divinity School, where there is a ramp. Once inside the building there is access to the ground floor and a disabled toilet. The corridor is narrow in places; a wheelchair wider than 700mm would have difficulties. There is an induction loop inside the auditorium.
Q: What do I wear at the Degree Ceremony?
A: All graduands must wear sub fusc and bring their own mortar board. NB: Failure to meet the regulations of sub fusc may result in graduands being barred from the ceremony.
You are required to wear your preference from the following as sub fusc:
- Either dark suit with dark socks; or dark skirt with black tights or stockings; or dark trousers with dark socks or dark hosiery.
- Dark coat, if required, worn underneath the gown
- Black shoes
- Plain white collared shirt or blouse
- White bow-tie, black bow tie, black full-length tie, or black ribbon.
- The appropriate academic gown (see below; Academic Gowns for Students
- Mortar board or soft cap
Members of the University serving in H.M. Forces are permitted to wear uniform together with a gown.
At non-summer ceremonies - standard practice (November to May, plus ceremony on 18 July)
- Undergraduate graduands should wear sub fusc and their commoners' gown when they enter the Sheldonian and then change to the gown of their undergraduate degree.
- Postgraduate students who do not have a previous degree from Oxford should wear sub fusc with their advanced student gown and then change into the gown of their postgraduate degree.
- Postgraduate students who do have a previous degree from Oxford should wear sub fusc with the gown from their previous degree and change into the gown for the degree they are receiving. For example, they would wear their BA gown into the Sheldonian and change into their DPhil gown.
- If a graduand is receiving a lower award in absence at the same ceremony, they must wear the gown from this award when they enter the Sheldonian and then change into the gown of the award they are receiving in person.
Regardless, during the ceremony you will change into the gown and hood of the degree you have just earned. This is the gown that most students need to hire.
At summer ceremonies (July to October - except BMBCh ceremony on 18 July 2020)
- Undergraduate students only (including undergraduate Masters, BA, and BFA) enter summer degree ceremonies wearing the gown of the award they are about to receive (as opposed to wearing their commoners'/scholars' gown).
- They will add their hood immediately after conferral and return to be acknowledged.
- This dispensation is granted to ease the period between leaving the Sheldonian after conferral, and returning to be congratulated, where a large amount of students will change in the Divinity School and Convocation House.
- Any non-undergraduate student will dress/change for the ceremony as they would any other ceremony in the year. They will go in wearing the dress of their current Oxford status and change into the dress of the degree that they are conferring.
At all other times of the year, November to May, standard practice MUST be applied.
See detailed University regulations.
Q: How do I order my gown?
A: Gown hire must be arranged directly with a gown hire shop, such as Walters, 10 Turl Street, Oxford (tel: +44(0)1865 241848). You can find more information and hire your gown through the Walters website. You can choose to have your gown delivered to College by Walters and handed to you at Registration in College on the morning of the ceremony, or to collect your gown from Walters shop yourself.
Q: Is there a dress code for guests attending the degree ceremony?
A There is no formal dress code. However, most guests dress for a formal occasion.
Q: Where can I find out more about what happens at the Ceremony?
A: For information about the degree ceremony, please see the University of Oxford website . The Dean of Degrees will brief candidates in College before the degree ceremony.
Q: Will there be a photographer at the ceremony?
A: Penguin Photography will take photographs at St Hilda's College, before and after the ceremony. A group photograph of the graduands will be taken at 10.00am in College. There is no need to book in advance. Photographers also set up outside the Sheldonian Theatre. It is officially not permitted to take flashlight photography during the ceremony. All Oxford Degree Ceremonies are filmed and can be purchased from the Media Production Unit.
Q: Where can I park in Oxford? Can I park in College?
A: It is almost impossible to park close to the Sheldonian so we advise you to park close to College. There is a Pay and Display car park in St Clements. We encourage you to use the Park and Ride system. A limited number of parking spaces may be available in College for Blue Badge holders only.
Q: Is there a charge for my degree certificate?
A: There is no charge for your degree certificate.
Q: How do I get my degree certificate?
A: If you are graduating at a July ceremony or in absentia your degree certificate will be posted to the address you specified when you booked. For all other ceremonies if you are graduating in person, you may collect your degree certificate from the College after the ceremony.
Q: I haven’t had my degree conferred yet and I need proof of my degree. What can I do?
A: Information about obtaining a degree confirmation letter (if you have passed your examinations but have not yet had your degree conferred at a ceremony) can be found on the University website.
Q. Is there anything that can prevent me from graduating?
The conferral of your degree is conditional on the passing of all required examinations. If you have any debts or fines outstanding to the College or the University you may not be permitted to graduate.
If you are a research student (DPhil, MLitt and MSc (by research)) you must also submit a hardbound copy or your thesis to the Research Degrees Team (at the Examination Schools) before you will be allowed to attend a ceremony. If your programme of study started on or after 1 October 2007, you must also deposit a digital copy of your thesis with the Oxford Research Archive. You must submit both the hardbound and digital copies at least five days before your ceremony. For more information, see Oxford Digital Theses.