COVID-19: update from the University of Oxford on degree ceremonies from September 2021
We can confirm that Oxford degree ceremonies are planned to resume from September 2021.
The University took the difficult decision to postpone degree ceremonies between May 2020 and August 2021 due to COVID-19.
However, given the improving situation with regard to the pandemic, we plan to host ceremonies from September. There will also be a graduation event for current final year medics who must have their degrees conferred before working in the NHS and cannot wait for a ceremony at a later date.
In the event that there are substantial remaining social distancing requirements, the ceremonies may have to be postponed, and we will continue to monitor developments as they unfold.
The exact dates and format of future ceremonies are still to be confirmed. We are currently working on the details of upcoming events, and more information will be communicated as soon as it is available.
There is a significant backlog of students and finalists who are waiting to have a ceremony. Given the logistical challenges involved, rescheduled degree ceremonies will have to be modified from their current form – but we will aim to keep the existing format as much as possible.
If you are waiting for a ceremony, you don’t have to take any action at this stage. You will be invited to a ceremony as soon as possible, and your college will keep you updated. More information will follow in the near future.
If you would prefer not to wait for a ceremony, you will have the option to have your degree conferred in absentia.
You can also order a degree confirmation letter in advance of your ceremony at no additional charge Degree Conferrals.
In the meantime, you may wish to consult the University of Oxford website.
What usually happens on Degree days
University of Oxford degrees are conferred at degree ceremonies held in the Sheldonian Theatre. St Hilda's College presents at around five ceremonies per year. You may graduate in person or in absentia, either straight after you have finished your degree or many years later. Current students have priority booking of degree ceremonies in the year they take final examinations. Former students (known also as historic graduands) join a waiting list to graduate and will be allocated a ceremony if there is a space available. Full information about graduation and degree certificates can be found on the Degree Conferrals website.
Most Degree Days begin with Registration in College (during which graduands register for the degree ceremony, and collect their ceremony tickets to give to their guests). This is followed by the Dean of Degrees' briefing, when the Dean of Degrees explains the ceremony and demonstrates what the graduands will be expected to do and say during the ceremony. The Dean of Degrees and the graduands then process from the College to the Sheldonian Theatre on foot. The degree ceremony takes place in the Sheldonian Theatre at 11.00am. The ceremony usually lasts for approximately an hour and a half. After the ceremony, graduands collect their degree certificates from the College. St Hilda's completes the celebrations with a lunch or garden party in College for the graduands and their guests.
The St Hilda's College Degree Day dates are:
- Saturday 18 July 2020 at 11.00am (12 places, priority given to clinical medics) CANCELLED
- Friday 25 September 2020 at 11.00am (90 places, reserved for undergraduate finalists) CANCELLED
- Saturday 26 September 2020 at 11.00am (56 places, reserved for undergraduate finalists and graduate finalists) CANCELLED
- Saturday 14 November 2020 at 11.00am (31 places, reserved for undergraduate finalists and graduate finalists) CANCELLED
- Saturday 27 February 2021 at 11.00am (10 places, reserved for graduate finalists)
How to book your degree ceremony
The University Degree Conferrals Office administers the degree ceremony booking process.
You will automatically receive an email from the University's Degree Ceremonies team, giving instructions on how and when to book your degree ceremony.
- Undergraduate or Taught Master's students will receive an email in Week 7 of Michaelmas Term of their final year of study with details of to book a place at a ceremony the following summer.
- The email explains how you book via the 'Degree Ceremonies' tab in Student Self-Service. The booking window is open for the months of December and January.
- Research students will receive an email once they have been granted leave to supplicate.
If you do not receive an email please contact the Degree Ceremonies Team.
Once you have booked, St Hilda's College Academic Office will communicate with you regarding arrival, gowning, catering arrangements and any charges you may be required to pay for the Degree Day. This will be approximately two months before the date of your chosen ceremony. Degree ceremony bookings close 30 days prior to the ceremony date but cancellation - or changing to another ceremony - is not permitted within 60 days of a booked ceremony. If you decide to withdraw from the ceremony during this time, your degree will be conferred at the ceremony in absentia. Please note that a degree is conferred only once. If your degree is conferred in absentia it is not possible to supplicate for the same degree in person at a later date. If you are, due to exceptional circumstances, required to withdraw from the ceremony within the 60 day period, St Hilda's College may seek permission on your behalf from the Vice-Chancellor and Proctors to be allowed exceptionally to apply for a place at another ceremony. Exceptional circumstances might include, but are not limited to: students or their guests with serious illness, or other comparable serious and unavoidable difficulties. Exceptional circumstances do not include work commitments, volunteering commitments, holidays, visa issues (where visa applications have been left too late to be processed in time for the ceremony), the unavailability of guests or similar. You will be asked to provide evidence of these circumstances.
Historic Graduands (alumnae/senior members who have not yet graduated) and who wish to graduate in person should complete the Historic Graduand - Waiting List application form and return it to the College Academic Office. Current students have priority booking of degree ceremony places, and any remaining places are then offered to the waiting list. The Degree Conferrals Office will take into consideration preferred dates when allocating a degree ceremony place. However, please note that there is no guarantee places will be available on your preferred date.
Historic Graduands wishing to graduate in absence should complete the Historic Graduand - In Absentia application Form and return it to the College Academic Office. Degrees will be conferred in absence at the first available degree ceremony and degree certificates mailed shortly after the ceremony.
The Oxford Master of Arts
In most UK universities, the Master of Arts is a free-standing graduate degree awarded by examination. In Oxford (as in Cambridge), the status of Master of Arts is a mark of seniority within the University which may be conferred 21 terms after matriculation. Please note the Oxford MA is about reaching a new status within the University and not an upgrade of your BA or an additional qualification. It therefore has no subject or class, and the nominals 'MA' should be represented in place of, not in addition to, the 'BA' in the holder's signature and on documents such as CVs.
If you have completed a BA or BFA you will be eligible to take an MA 21 terms after your matriculation date. In order to take your MA, you must already have had your BA or BFA conferred at a degree ceremony. The BA or BFA and MA can be conferred at the same ceremony provided that sufficient time has elapsed since your matriculation. It is a policy of St Hilda's College that the MA is awarded only in absence at a degree ceremony.
You are not at any point eligible to take an MA if your undergraduate degree is an undergraduate Masters degree (MBiochem, MChem, MCompSci, MEng, MMath, MMathCompSci, MMathPhil, MPhys, MPhysPhil).
To book, please complete the MA Degree Booking Form and return it to the St Hilda's College Academic Office. The £40 administration fee must also be paid in full no less than 30 days before the ceremony via the University online store.