The Ceremony

what happens in the theatre

Music will be performed by the Marylebone Trio before the ceremony starts and as graduands and guests take their seats.



The Peacock Theatre will open for seating about one hour before the ceremony is due to begin. 

  • Graduands must be seated at least 30 minutes before the ceremony is due to begin
  • Guests must be seated at least 15 minutes before the ceremony is due to begin.

Your guests will either be seated in the stalls or in the dress circle; theatre staff will be on hand to help them locate their seats.

Graduands will be seated separately from their guests, in the order that they will be presented. This is determined by:

  1. Department
  2. Level of degree (e.g. bachelor's degrees are presented before master's degrees)
  3. Programme name
  4. Alphabetically by family name

Please note that you must sit in the seat indicated on your ticket. This is to ensure that you are presented in the correct order.

Music will be performed by the Marylebone Trio before the ceremony starts as graduands and guests take their seats.

Name cards

Upon arrival in the theatre, ushers will hand graduands a card containing their personal details.

When ceremony staff indicate it is time to leave your seat to be presented on stage, please take this card with you.

When it is time for your name to be read out, you will hand your name card to the presenter who will read your name from this card.

Any firsts, distinctions and departmental/School prizes should be printed on your card in addition to your name. Research students will have their thesis titles read out in addition to their degree titles.

Ticket confirmation

Shortly after the booking deadline, usually within the following week, we will send an email to confirm ticket reservations and the date and time of your department's ceremony.

Special seating arrangements

Please log any special seating requirements you or your guests mught have on the booking form e.g. as a result of visual impairment or mobility issues.

Alternatively, you can email Ceremonies

We can usually implement appropriate arrangements provided that we receive sufficient notice.

Order of ceremony

The ceremonies normally last between one and one and a quarter hours. The ceremony proceedings are as follows:

  • At the start of the ceremony, graduands and guests will be asked to stand as the academic procession arrives in the theatre.
  • Once the ceremony has been declared open, the Director will give the opening address.
  • Then a senior member of each department will present the graduands to the Director.

When instructed by ceremony staff, you will climb the steps to the stage and hand your name card to the presenter who will read out your name.

As your name is read out, you should walk to the middle of the stage where the Director will shake your hand. If, for cultural or religious reasons, you do not wish to shake hands with the Director, please hold the ceremony brochure in your right hand as you walk across the stage.

Please also note that you may not wear your hat on stage. If you have a hat, you should leave this on your seat or carry it in your left hand as your walk across the stage.

  • Once you have shaken the Director's hand, you should leave the stage by the steps on the opposite side, walk up the aisle and return to your seat, where you will remain until the ceremony is over. Ushers will be there to guide you back to your seat.
  • At some ceremonies honorary degrees or honorary fellowships will then be awarded.
  • A member of the School’s alumni community will then deliver an address.
  • And finally, the graduands will rise and the Director will formally grant them the awards for which they have been recommended. Graduands will then have officially become graduates of the School.
  • The ceremony is declared closed and the graduates and their guests will be asked to stand for the recessional.

Post-ceremony drink receptions are held immediately following the ceremonies and the location will be printed on the graduands' tickets

Photography opportunity

Please see details about our complimentary On-stage Presentation Ceremony Photographs.


Please note that you will not receive your degree certificate during the actual ceremony.

Please see the Degree Certificate web page for information regarding certificate collection.


Ceremonies usually last between one and one and a quarter hours.

The receptions immediately following the ceremonies usually last approximately one hour.



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