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 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 Online Store 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: The Academic Office can prepare a visa letter for your guests. Please email the following information about your guests: names, relationship to you, dates of birth, passport numbers, travel dates, and address while in the UK and 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 the Academic Office as soon as possible if you are unable to attend the ceremony after booking. 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. The Academic Office will provide details about how to hire the correct graduation gown when contacting you two months prior to the ceremony.

Q: How do I order my gown?

A: Gown hire is arranged for you by the college for a charge of £45. If you prefer to arrange it yourself, you are welcome to do so directly with a gown hire shop, such as Walters. Please confirm your preference when completing the college's graduation celebration form which will sent to you two months before the ceremony.   

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 after the ceremony. There is no need to book in advance. It is not permitted to take flashlight photography during the ceremony itself. All Oxford Degree Ceremonies are filmed and can be purchased from the University Online Store after the ceremony. 

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 in absentia your degree certificate will be posted to the address you specified when you booked. 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 deposit a digital copy of your thesis with the Oxford Research Archive at least five days before your ceremony. For more information, see Oxford Digital Theses.