Degree ceremonies
The mortar board or square cap is tossed into the air as a celebration of the attained degree.
Copyright © Rob Judges Photography. This image comes from Oxford University Images. All rights reserved.

Degree ceremonies

University of Oxford degrees are conferred at degree ceremonies, held in the Sheldonian Theatre or the Examination Schools. You may graduate in person or in absence, either straight after you've finished your degree, or many years later.

Degree ceremonies booking system and Student Self Service upgrade

From Tuesday 6 January 2015 Student Self Service will look a little different when you login using your Oxford Single Sign On. The system has been redesigned and upgraded to include degree ceremony bookings. You can use the upgraded Student Self Service to amend your current booking / book your degree ceremony date, before 31 January 2015. Refer to the Student Self Service guide for details about the Student Self Service upgrade.

Booking your degree ceremony

  • Undergraduate or Taught Master's students: you will automatically receive an email in Michaelmas term in your final year of study with instructions on when and how to book your degree ceremony. If you do not receive an email, contact the Degree Ceremonies team.
  • Research students: you will automatically receive an email with instructions on how to book your degree ceremony once you have been granted leave to supplicate. If you do not receive an invite at this time, contact the Degree Ceremonies team.

Your college will communicate with you regarding arrival, gowning, catering arrangements and any charges you may be required to pay.

Degree ceremony dates

2014/2015 ceremonies

  • Saturday 7 March 2015 (11:00 and 14:30)
  • Saturday 9 May 2015 (11:00) Keble College and Christ Church only
  • Saturday 9 May 2015 (14:30 only)
  • Saturday 6 June 2015 (11:00 and 14:30)

2015/2016 ceremonies

  • Saturday 11 July 2015 (11:00; 14:00; 16:30)
  • Monday 20 July 2015 (11:00 and 14:30)
  • Tuesday 21 July 2015 (11:00 and 14:30)
  • Wednesday 22 July 2015 (11:00 only)
  • Friday 24 July 2015 (11:00 and 14:30)
  • Saturday 25 July 2015 (11:00; 14:00; 16:30)
  • Monday 27 July 2015 (14:30 only)
  • Friday 31 July 2015 (11:00 and 14:30)
  • Saturday 1 August 2015 (11:00 and 14:30)
  • Friday 11 September 2015 (11:00 only)
  • Monday 14 September 2015 (11:00 only)
  • Friday 18 September 2015 (11:00 only)
  • Saturday 19 September 2015 (11:00 and 14:30)
  • Friday 2 October 2015 (11:00 only)
  • Saturday 3 October 2015 (11:00 only)
  • Friday 6 November 2015 (11:00 only)
  • Saturday 7 November 2015 (11:00 and 14:30)
  • Saturday 14 November 2015 (10:00 and 12:30)
  • Saturday 23 January 2016 (in absence only)
  • Saturday 5 March 2016 (11:00 and 14:30)
  • Saturday 12 March 2016 (11:00 and 14:30)
  • Saturday 7 May 2016 (11:00 and 14:30)
  • Saturday 14 May 2016 (11:00 and 14:30)
  • Saturday 4 June 2016 (11:00 and 14:30)

Degree ceremony FAQs

Am I able to attend a ceremony with my friends?

Once you have received your email invitation to book your ceremony, you may wish to discuss with your friends about selecting the same graduation date if available. The University cannot arrange for groups to attend together due to space limitations and the dates your college is presenting.

Will I be able to amend the details of my booking?

You will be able to amend your details, excluding the ceremony date, up until 30 days before your chosen ceremony. After that date you should contact your college.

What if I cannot attend a degree ceremony on the dates I have been offered?

You may choose either to graduate in absence or to decline and contact your college for the next suitable date. If you select decline, it is unlikely that you will be able to graduate for at least a calendar year, because the degree ceremonies run on a cyclical basis and are allocated to capacity.

Can I book a place at a ceremony if I have not completed my degree?

Places that have not been taken up by students to graduate in person will be available to students who have not had their degree(s) conferred. Candidates for an MA, please contact your college to be placed on a waiting list for a degree ceremony.

Do I need to pay anything for graduation?

You will only pay a £10 fee if you are having your MA conferred.  Please contact your college to enquire about how to pay the MA fee and if they require a payment for gowns, lunch etc.

What should I wear to my degree ceremony?

Full academic dress must be worn at degree ceremonies, including a mortar board or soft-cap, and your preferred sub fusc. Members of the University serving in H.M. Forces are permitted to wear dress uniform together with a gown. The uniform cap must be removed when in the Sheldonian Theatre.

For all degrees you must also wear the gown of your existing status (and the hood if there is one) during the first part of the ceremony. You will change into the gown (and hood) of your new degree at the appropriate time during the ceremony. Your college will let you know which gowns and hoods you will need.

You may be refused admission to the degree ceremony if you are not properly dressed.

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 dues outstanding to your college or the University you may not be permitted to graduate.

If you are a research student, you must also submit a library and an electronic copy of your thesis at least five days before the degree ceremony. 

How do I request the non-Christian formula?

If you are attending a degree ceremony to confer your MA (or DD, DCL, DM or MCh) and you would like to have the non-Christian formula at the degree ceremony, you must notify your college at the time of booking.

How do I obtain my degree certificate?

Once you have your degree conferred at a degree ceremony either in person or in absentia, you will automatically receive a degree certificate. Visit degree certificates.

Can I have a degree certificate before the graduation ceremony?

Your degree must be conferred at a graduation ceremony before a degree certificate can be issued. If you need proof of your degree before then, order a degree confirmation letter.

Can more than one degree be conferred at the same ceremony?

Yes, but only one of your degrees will be conferred in person; the remainder will be conferred in absentia. You may also have multiple degrees conferred in absence at the same ceremony.

I have been invited to a ceremony for my most recently awarded degree but I have a previous Oxford degree which has not been conferred. Can I graduate for each one separately?

You may attend for your most recent degree and have the others conferred in absence at the same ceremony. If you would like to attend a ceremony in person for each of your degrees, you must decline the invitation for your most recent degree and contact your college.

When do graduates become eligible for the MA?

The status of Master of Arts is a mark of seniority within the University which may be conferred twenty-one terms after matriculation. This is not an automatic process and to obtain your MA you must apply to graduate at a degree ceremony (either in person or in absentia).

You must have had your BA or BFA conferred in order to take your MA. They can be conferred at the same ceremony provided that sufficient time has elapsed since you matriculated. You should book for a degree ceremony through your college. You are not eligible to take an MA if your undergraduate degree is an Oxford integrated Master’s degree.

The Oxford MA allows you to reach a new status within the University and is not an upgrade of your BA or an additional qualification. It therefore has no subject or class. The University does not issue degree confirmation letters or ECTS statements as proof of your MA. Please use your degree certificate as evidence of this award.

How many guest tickets can I have, and is there a dress code for guests?

You will receive three guest tickets. There is no formal dress code, however most guests dress for a formal occasion. Children aged seven and over are welcome to attend the ceremony, and they will require a ticket if they occupy their own seat. Check with your college about any special considerations for your college graduation event.

What do I do if my guests or I have special requirements for seating at the Sheldonian?

Please indicate at the time of your booking if you have special requirements (for example due to a disability), and inform your college of your guests’ accessibility requirements, so that the event organisers can plan where to accommodate you most comfortably and conveniently.

Is it possible for guests to take photographs during the graduation ceremony?

Guests are allowed to take photographs without flash, and use a video camera without an additional light source inside the Sheldonian. Official photographers will be based inside the Sheldonian quadrangle following the ceremony, where you may buy a copy of your ceremony on DVD or graduation memorabilia from the Oxford University Shop.

Why am I being asked to provide information on the ‘Additional Nominated Contact’ when booking my ceremony?

Your college may use the additional contact details when sending information about college graduation events.