Degree ceremonies | University of Oxford
Students graduating
Greeting Officials of the University of Oxford as they pass
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Degree ceremonies

Academic degrees date from the second half of the twelfth century. The present ceremony retains all the essential features of its ancient predecessors, with the proceedings still conducted in Latin.

Announcement: Ceremonies in May 2020

Due to the rapidly evolving coronavirus (COVID-19) situation, the decision has been taken to cancel degree ceremonies held on 2 May and 9 May.
We greatly regret the inconvenience to you and your guests and we share your disappointment at not being able to celebrate your achievements in May.  We shall be reviewing the ceremony schedule in due course and will let you know about alternative arrangements as soon as possible.
We would like to reassure you that the health, welfare and safety of students, staff and visitors is the number one priority for the University. We are following Government guidance, and the latest information is being frequently updated on the University’s coronavirus advice page.
If you have any queries about the arrangements outlined above, please contact your college.

Booking your degree ceremony

University of Oxford degrees are conferred at degree ceremonies, held in the Sheldonian Theatre. You may graduate in person or in absence, either straight after you've finished your degree, or many years later. If you choose to graduate in person, you will be presented by your college, hall or society.

  • Undergraduate or Taught Master's students: you will automatically receive an email around late November in your final year of study with instructions regarding when and how to book your degree ceremony. If you have not received an email at this time, please contact your college for further information. They will be able to advise you on any delay to the invites or forward any issue onto the Degree Ceremonies team for further investigation.
  • 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 invitation at this time, contact the Degree Ceremonies team.
  • Conferring your degree in absentia: Students who are eligible to have their degree conferred in the current ceremony cycle can select to have their degrees conferred in absentia on Self Service when invited to register for a ceremony. If you are a member of the University of Oxford’s alumni and would like to have your degree conferred in absentia, please contact your college who will arrange for your degree to be conferred at the next ceremony.

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

Getting to grips with degree ceremonies

Some of the traditions in Oxford’s degree ceremonies are hundreds of years old, and parts of them take place in Latin. This can mean it’s hard for students to know what to do and when on the day. This short animation gives an overview of what to wear, the format of the event, and where you need to be at which points of the ceremony.

Degree ceremony dates

Please note that colleges will present graduands only on certain dates. If you completed your degree a number of years ago and haven’t yet graduated, or if you are a candidate for the Oxford MA, please contact your college to confirm which dates will be available to you.

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 and you will not be able to attend a future date.   Your place will be offered to graduands on the waiting list for that ceremony.

If you are, due to exceptional circumstances, required to withdraw from the ceremony within the 60 day period your college may seek permission on your behalf from the Vice-Chancellor and Proctors (via the Degree Conferral Office) to exceptionally be allowed 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 visas 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.

On the day of the ceremony, you are advised to allow yourself plenty of time to get to Oxford.

Dates and times of degree ceremonies in 2019 and 2020

  • Saturday 13 July 2019 (11:00; 14:30)
  • Tuesday 23 July 2019 (11:00; 14:30)
  • Friday 26 July 2019 (11:00; 14:30)
  • Saturday 27 July 2019 (11:00; 14:30)
  • Friday 2 August 2019 (11:00; 14:30)
  • Saturday 3 August 2019 (11:00; 14:30)
  • Saturday 14 September 2019 (11:00; 14:30)
  • Friday 27 September 2019 (11:00; 14:30)
  • Saturday 28 September 2019 (11:00; 14:30)
  • Friday 1 November 2019 (11:00)
  • Saturday 2 November 2019 (11:00; 14:30)
  • Saturday 9 November 2019 (11:00; 14:30)
  • Saturday 18 January 2020 (in absence only)
  • Saturday 29 February 2020 (11:00; 14:00; 16:30)
  • Saturday 2 May 2020 (11:00; 14:30)
  • Saturday 9 May 2020 (11:00; 14:30)

Dates and times of degree ceremonies in 2020 and 2021

  • Saturday 18 July 2020 (11:00; 14:30)
  • Tuesday 28 July 2020 (11:00; 14:30)
  • Friday 31 July 2020 (11:00; 14:30)
  • Saturday 1 August 2020 (11:00; 14:30)
  • Friday 7 August 2020 (11:00; 14:30)
  • Saturday 8 August 2020 (11:00; 14:30)
  • Saturday 12 September 2020 (11:00; 14:30)
  • Friday 25 September 2020 (11:00; 14:30)
  • Saturday 26 September 2020 (11:00; 14:30)
  • Friday 6 November 2020 (11:00)
  • Saturday 7 November 2020 (11:00; 14:30)
  • Saturday 14 November 2020 (11:00; 14:30)
  • Saturday 23 January 2021 (in absence only)
  • Saturday 27 February 2021 (11:00; 14:30)
  • Saturday 6 March 2021 (11:00; 14:30)
  • Saturday 8 May 2021 (11:00; 14:30)
  • Saturday 15 May 2021 (11:00; 14:30)

Degree ceremony FAQs

What if you are a final year student due to graduate this summer, will the ceremonies still go ahead?

Due to these unprecedented circumstances all graduation ceremonies scheduled to take place in May 2020 have been cancelled, with a decision to follow shortly around the status of the June and July ceremonies.

Information for those students who have been affected will follow shortly.

We know this is incredibly disappointing for many of you, and want to reassure you that this decision was made with the best interests of our student community in mind.

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?

If you booked through Student Self Service (rather than your college), you will be able to amend your details, excluding the ceremony date, up until 60 days before your chosen ceremony (30 days for research and some modular course students). After that date you should contact your college.

If you need to amend the ceremony date please 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?

Taught students in their final year of studies will receive an invitation to book a ceremony. Students on taught courses, who are not in their final year, will not be able to book a place until the start of their final year.

Research students will not be able to book a ceremony until they have been granted leave to supplicate.

Do I need to pay anything for graduation?

You will only pay a fee if you are having your MA conferred, which will cost £40. Please contact your college to enquire about how to pay the MA fee and if they require a payment for gowns, lunch etc. 

Failure to pay the MA fee before 30 days before your ceremony will result in your place in the ceremony being cancelled.

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. Ministers of religion may wear clerical dress, with a gown over, when attending ceremonies.

If you wear a headdress/scarf for religious reasons, a black scarf should be worn.

Students having a doctoral degree conferred should wear the gown of their existing University of Oxford 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.

Students having the degree of BA, BFA, BTh, MBiochem, MChem, MCompSci, MCompPhil, MEarthSci, MEng, MMath, MMathCompSci, MMathPhil, MMathPhys, MPhys or MPhysPhil conferred during ceremonies in July (with the exception of 13 July 2019), August or September should wear the gown of their new degree into the first part of the ceremony. The hood of the new degree is only to be worn part of the way through the ceremony after the degree has been conferred.

Students having a graduate masters degree conferred, and students having the degree of BA, BFA, BTh, MBiochem, MChem, MCompSci, MCompPhil, MEarthSci, MEng, MMath, MMathCompSci, MMathPhil, MMathPhys, MPhys or MPhysPhil conferred on 13 July 2019 or during November 2019, February 2020, March 2020 or May 2020, should consult their college as to whether they should enter the ceremony wearing the gown of the current status, or the status which will be conferred. In all cases, the gown and hood of the status to be conferred will be required as a minimum.

If you are in doubt as to which gown(s) and hood(s) you will need, your college will be able to advise.

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. Candidates who fail to submit thesis copies prior to their ceremony date, and within 30 days of the ceremony, will forfeit their opportunity to graduate in person at a later ceremony. 

How do I request the non-Christian formula?

If you are attending a degree ceremony to confer your MA, DD, DCL, DM or MCh, you will be admitted to these degrees by the Vice-Chancellor with a specifically Christian formula. An alternative, non-Christian formula is available on request. If you wish to be admitted with the non-Christian formula, this has to be made clear when booking your degree ceremony.

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. If you have already had your degree conferred, but did not receive a certificate following the ceremony, or your certificate has been lost, destroyed, damaged or stolen, visit the degree certificates page.

Please note that certificates for ceremonies held in July and August (with the exception of the 13 July 2019) will be posted to students by 31 August. For all ceremonies, if you have not received your degree certificate within three months of the date of your ceremony (or 30 November for July ceremonies) and you fail to notify us of this within that period, you will be charged for a replacement certificate. Replacement certificates can be ordered through our online shop.

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 the ceremony, please 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 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 (MBiochem, MChem, MEng, MMath etc).

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.

Will my name appear in the degree day brochure?

If you are having your degree conferred in person, your name will be printed in the brochure, providing you have given permission for this to happen when you book onto a ceremony. If you haven’t told us you would like your name printed, or are receiving your degree in absentia, your name will not be included. If you are attending in person and would like to update your preference (up until 30 days before the ceremony), you may do so by contacting your college office. It is not possible to make any changes within 30 days of the ceremony.

I’m conferring my degree in absentia; will my name still be read out during the ceremony?

Only the names of those having their degrees conferred in person will have their names called out during the ceremony.

When can I use the title ‘Dr’ after completing my DPhil?

The title of doctor should only be used once the DPhil degree has been conferred at a degree ceremony, whether this is attended or the degree conferred in absence. Students who have completed their viva or submitted corrections should not use the title until such time as the DPhil degree has been conferred, at which point it is officially recognised by the University. 

You may of course opt not to use the title of doctor and instead include ‘DPhil’ after your name, again once the degree has been conferred, although you should not use both the title of Dr and DPhil following the name at the same time. 

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

You will receive at least two guest tickets. There is no formal dress code, however most guests dress for a formal occasion. Check with your college about any special considerations for your college graduation event.

Can children attend the ceremony?

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.

Will the ceremony be filmed, to allow friends and family who cannot attend the ceremony in person to watch too?

For friends and family who do not have a guest ticket, live streaming of the ceremony will be available at Just click on the correct date and time of your ceremony; the live stream will start a few minutes before the ceremony begins. In addition, some colleges organise viewing facilities on college premises for those that do not have tickets for the ceremony. Please confirm with your college as to whether they offer this.

Following the ceremony you may buy a copy of your ceremony on DVD or digital download. The live ceremony stream will not be available after the ceremony has finished.

Please be aware that by attending a degree ceremony at the University of Oxford, either as a graduand or as a guest, you may be captured in photography or film footage. Note that not all students choose to graduate in person at a graduation ceremony – you can also choose to graduate in absentia.

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

We ask that you and your guests refrain from taking photographs or recording videos during the ceremony. This will avoid disrupting the experience for other students and guests. There are opportunities to applaud the graduands on the day at certain points during the ceremonies.

Official photographers will be based inside the Sheldonian quadrangle following the ceremony, should you wish to order official degree day photos, and you will be able to order a copy of your ceremony on DVD or digital download after the ceremony.

Can I buy University of Oxford graduation memorabilia?

Official photographers will be based inside the Sheldonian quadrangle following the ceremony, should you wish to order official degree day photos, and you may purchase a copy of your ceremony on DVD or digital download after the ceremony. Further graduation memorabilia will be available from the Oxford University Shop.

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.

The Sheldonian Theatre is a Grade I listed building. Please note that there are no lift facilities and the majority of seats are benches, some without back rests. Guests should be made aware that they may have to climb several flights of stairs to be seated.

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.

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