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Ceremonies and celebrations

students in graduation gowns jumping in the air
Graduation ceremonies at the University of Oxford are held in the Sheldonian Theatre in the city centre – part of the wider Degree Day celebrations for students finishing their courses. You’ll also get to celebrate at Mansfield College before and after your ceremony.

What do the College celebrations involve?

While your timetable depends on the time of your ceremony at the Sheldonian – morning, early afternoon, or late afternoon – here’s what your Degree Day will look like at Mansfield:

  • Presenting your official degree certificates ahead of your ceremony
  • Providing refreshments to you and your guests
  • Professional photographers for individual and group shots
  • The option to pre-book drinks and a two-course formal lunch in Chapel Hall
  • A ceremony livestream at Mansfield for guests unable to be in the Sheldonian

When are the ceremonies?

The ceremony dates will depend on your course and when you finish your studies. They’re allocated by the central Degree Conferrals Team, so might not align with those offered to students from other Colleges on the same or similar courses.

Check the University’s latest updates on degree ceremonies.

three students with graduation gowns and umbrellas

How do I book a ceremony?

Most students are invited to book a degree ceremony in December of the final year of their course – or research students are offered dates when they’re granted leave to supplicate. We’ll email you through the address on your Student Self Service record.

Update your Student Self Service email

Can’t make it, or don’t want a ceremony?

You can graduate in absentia if you’d rather not come to a ceremony. Or if you can’t attend the dates you’re offered, you can leave the invitation unused until the ceremony cycle ends in July. You could then request to book onto a future ceremony as a historic candidate, but please note that current students receive priority for ceremony places – so we can’t guarantee you a graduation space if you don’t use your original invitation.

Degree certificates are only conferred in person at a degree ceremony or in absentia through the post – although a digital transcript is available if you’ve passed your final exams but haven’t attended a ceremony yet.

Graduating in absentia

Historic graduands

MA Awards

What do you wear?

You must wear sub fusc and the correct gown to their ceremony. As a graduand you’re individually responsible for hiring the correct gown and hood directly from your chosen supplier – well in advance of the ceremony. If you’re dressed incorrectly, you won’t be allowed to attend the ceremony – you’ll receive your degree in absentia.

What’s sub fusc and what are the exceptions?

Which is the correct gown?

How do you book the formal lunch?

You’ll have the option of attending drinks and a meal in College on the day of your ceremony. You’re guaranteed up to four guests, with guest meal tickets each costing £32, and graduands dining free of charge.

Payment for all meal tickets should be made at least four weeks before the ceremony. Booking details will be sent to you with your invitation.

What’s next?

Once you’ve booked a ceremony, you’ll receive an email with further instructions approximately six weeks before the ceremony date. Make sure you’ve paid all your University fees and outstanding College battels too, as otherwise you won’t be able to attend a ceremony.

If you want to enquire about accommodation options on the dates around your degree celebrations, contact the Domestic Bursar. Please note though, it isn’t usually possible to use College accommodation during Full Term.


Your degree certificate

The name which you held when you completed your degree (granted ‘leave to supplicate’) will be the name on your degree certificate and degree confirmation letter. The only retrospective changes that can be made are where an administrative error has occurred, or where the University makes a retrospective change under the provisions of the Gender Recognition Act 2004.

Planning your degree day visit

Our contact page has a map, directions, and travel information.

Do you have questions about graduation?
If so, please contact

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