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 seven 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 ceremony usually lasts for approximately an hour and a half. After the ceremony, graduands collect their degree certificates and St Hilda's completes the celebrations with a College reception with food and refreshments for the graduands and their guests.
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 and Taught Master's students will receive an email in Week 8 of Michaelmas Term of their final year of study with details of to book a place at a ceremony.
- The email explains how to book via the 'Degree Ceremonies' tab in Student Self-Service.
- 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 contact the Academic Office at email@example.com to be added to the waiting list. 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.