Degree Ceremony Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How many guest tickets to the degree ceremony can I have and is there a dress code for guests?

A: Each graduand is automatically allocated two guest tickets to the degree ceremony. Unfortunately, due to the restrictions of the venue, the University cannot offer more than two guest tickets per graduand for the Sheldonian Theatre. Guests who are unable to attend in person will be able to watch the ceremony live via the University's streaming service; a DVD of the ceremony will also be available to purchase from the University's online gift shop after the ceremony. There is no formal dress code. However, most guests dress for a formal occasion.

Q: Is it possible to obtain extra guest tickets to the degree ceremony?

A: There is no guarantee that any extra tickets for a degree ceremony will be available. It is important to bear this in mind when inviting guests as entry to the degree ceremony is strictly by ticket only. Extra tickets are rare and usually become available at short notice. About two months before the ceemony, when you receive your graduation information pack, you will be asked for your requirements regarding extra tickets for the ceremony.

Q: Do I pay for guest tickets to the degree ceremony?

A: There is no charge for guest tickets to the degree ceremony. It is not possible to purchase additional guest tickets to the ceremony.

Q: How do I obtain a visa invitation letter for my guests?

A: Maoliosa Kelly in the Academic Office can prepare a visa letter for your guests. Please email her the following information about your guests: names, relationship to you, dates of birth, passport numbers, travel dates, and address while in the UK and please let her know the address to which you would like the letters sent.

Q: Are children permitted to attend the ceremony?

A: It is recommended that children under the age of seven do not attend the ceremony. Children aged seven and over are welcome to attend the ceremony and will need their own guest ticket.

Q: What should I do if one of my guests requires disabled access?

A: Ushers at the entrance to the Sheldonian Theatre will help those who require disabled access - please let them know what your guest requires upon arrival. It is advisable that your guests arrive at the Sheldonian shortly before the doors open (30 minutes before the start of the ceremony), so that arrangements can be made in good time. It is not possible to reserve seats in the Sheldonian but the Sheldonian staff will attempt to seat the whole party of your guests together on the ground floor but, as space is limited, unfortunately this cannot be guaranteed.

Q: If I am no longer able to attend the ceremony, how do I cancel my booking?

A: Please contact the College Office as soon as possible if you are unable to attend the ceremony( The names of all those graduating are submitted to the Proctors 60 days before the date of the ceremony. Once your name has been submitted only the Vice Chancellor can approve a withdrawal (which she will do only in the most exceptional circumstances relating to health and family). If you do not cancel your booking before the deadline - and do not attend on the day - your degree will be awarded in absentia and it will not be possible to take your degree in person at a later date.

Q: Can I graduate with two degrees in person at the same degree ceremony?

A: You can take one of the degrees in person, and the other in absentia. Your name will be read out twice in the ceremony.

Q: What do I wear at the Degree Ceremony?

A: Full academic dress must be worn at degree ceremonies. You should wear a mortar board or soft-cap, and your preferred sub-fusc from the following list:

  1. Either dark suit with dark socks; dark skirt with black tights or stockings; dark trousers with dark socks.
  2. Dark coat if required
  3. Black shoes
  4. Plain white collared shirt or blouse
  5. White bow-tie, black bow tie, black full-length tie, or black ribbon.

Members of the University serving in H.M. Forces are permitted to wear uniform together with a gown.

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.

Please be aware that you may be refused admission to the degree ceremony if you are not properly dressed.

Q: Where can I find out more about what happens at the Ceremony?

A: For information about the degree ceremony, please see the University of Oxford website . The Dean of Degrees will brief candidates in College before the degree ceremony.

Q: Will there be a photographer at the ceremony?

A: There will be a photographer at St Hilda’s College before and after the ceremony to take photographs. There is no need to book. It is officially not permitted to take flashlight photography during the ceremony. All Oxford Degree Ceremonies are filmed and can be purchased from the Media Production Unit

Q: Where can I park in Oxford? Can I park in College?

A: It is almost impossible to park close to the Sheldonian so we advise you to park close to, College. There is a Pay and Display car park in St Clements. We encourage you to use the Park and Ride system. A limited number of parking spaces may be available in College for Blue Badge holders only.

Q: I haven’t had my degree conferred yet and I need proof of my degree. What can I do?

A: Information about obtaining a degree confirmation letter (if you have passed your examinations but have not yet had your degree conferred at a ceremony) can be found via the Student Gateway.

Q. Is there anything that can prevent me from graduating?

The conferal of your degree is conditional on the passing of all required examinations. If you have any debts or fines outstanding to the College or the University you may not be permitted to graduate.

If you are a research student (D.Phil, M.Litt and MSc (by research)) you must also submit a hardbound copy or your thesis to the Research Degrees Team (at the Examination Schools) before you will be allowed to attend a ceremony. If your programme of study started on or after 1 October 2007, you must also deposit a digital copy of your thesis with the Oxford Research Archive. You must submit both the hardbound and digital copies at least five days before your ceremony. For more information, see Oxford Digital Theses.