Graduation ceremonies at the University of Oxford are held in the Sheldonian Theatre in the city centre, and are part of the wider Degree Day celebrations offered to students finishing their courses. Students can choose not to attend a ceremony in-person if they prefer, and can receive their certificate through the post. This is known as graduating in absentia.
Please visit 'Degree ceremonies' on the University website for the latest status updates on degree ceremonies at Oxford.
How do I book a ceremony?
All students will be invited to book a degree ceremony in December of the final year of their course. Research students will be offered dates once they have been granted leave to supplicate.
Students are contacted by the central University bookings team using the email address on their Student Self Service record. You must therefore ensure that your details are correct.
If you would prefer not to attend a ceremony in person, you may graduate in absentia and choose to have your degree certificate sent to you in the post. This option can be selected when booking through Student Self Service.
Please note that the dates you are offered will depend on your course and when you finish your studies. Dates are allocated by the central Degree Conferrals Team, so may not align with those offered to students from other Colleges on the same or similar courses.
Note that if you graduate in absentia, you will not subsequently be eligible to attend a ceremony in person in the Sheldonian.
What do I wear for graduation?
Graduands must wear sub fusc to their ceremony as follows:
- a dark suit, skirt or trousers;
- a plain white shirt or blouse;
- a white or black bow tie, black full-length tie, or black ribbon;
- plain dark socks or stockings;
- black shoes or boots; and
- a mortar board or soft cap.
Caps, headdresses, or scarves worn for religious reasons should be black. Members of the UK HM Armed Forces may wear service dress under their gown in place of sub fusc. Ministers of religion may wear clerical dress with a gown over.
When wearing sub fusc, your legs, ankles, and feet must be fully covered. Graduands must not wear white, light, coloured, or patterned socks. Any candidates who are not dressed correctly will not be allowed to attend the ceremony, and will receive their degree in absentia.
You should bring only the gown of the degree you are receiving (e.g., your BA gown, not your Commoners' gown) unless you are a DPhil candidate: DPhil graduands also require their current gown (e.g., both the postgraduate gown and the DPhil gown).
Graduands are individually responsible for hiring the correct gown and hood directly from their chosen supplier well in advance of the ceremony.
What do the College celebrations involve?
Timetables vary depending on the time of your ceremony (morning, early afternoon, or late afternoon), but all Degree Days involve the following:
- Graduands are presented with their official degree certificates in College ahead of the ceremony.
- Refreshments are provided to graduands and their guests.
- Professional photographers will be onsite for individual and group shots.
- All graduands are invited to book drinks and a two-course formal lunch in Chapel Hall. Graduands are guaranteed up to four guests each. Students graduating dine for free; guest tickets are £32.
- Mansfield hosts a ceremony livestream free of charge in College for any guests unable to be present in the Sheldonian.
Booking a Ceremony and Graduation Dates
Note that dates are allocated by the central Degree Conferrals Team, so may not align with dates allocated to students from other Colleges. It may therefore not be possible for you to graduate on the same day as students in your cohort from other Colleges.
Booking methods vary depending on when you finished your course at Mansfield. Read on for further information.
Undergraduate and postgraduate taught students will be notified of the date for their degree ceremony in December of their final year. Research students will be offered dates once they have been granted leave to supplicate. The Degree Conferrals team will send an email with instructions on how to book a ceremony, and students will be able to book their ceremony via Student Self-Service.
If you are unable to attend the ceremony dates available to you, you may leave the invitation unused until the end of that ceremony cycle (ending 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. This means you cannot be guaranteed a graduation space if you do not use your invitation in the original booking window.
Once you have booked a ceremony, you will receive an email with further instructions approximately six weeks before the ceremony date. Please note that students will not be able to attend a ceremony if they have not paid all of their University fees or have outstanding College battels.
Graduands have the option of attending drinks and a meal in College on the day of their ceremony. Guest meal tickets cost £32.00 each, with graduands dining free of charge. Payment for all meal tickets should be made at least four weeks before the ceremony.
If you have any questions about graduating, please contact email@example.com.
If you finished your degree last academic year, or earlier, and did not immediately attend a graduation ceremony, you are classified as a historic graduand. This means that you did not attend a degree ceremony in the cycle matching the year in which your degree was completed. Each year, leavers are given priority access to spaces in their cycles, which means that historic graduands cannot be guaranteed a space after their cycle has passed. However, the College will support historic students to graduate at the earliest possible opportunity.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss your options.
In-person MA conferrals are resuming from July 2023.
To arrange to have your MA award conferred either in person or in absentia, please contact email@example.com. Note that once you have had your degree conferred in absentia, it is not possible for you to participate in a ceremony at the Sheldonian Theatre at a later date.
There is an administrative fee of £50 set by the University for the MA conferral and certificate, paid through the University Store. A link will be sent to individuals at the point of booking.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you wish to be added to the waiting list to receive your MA Award in-person. Please note that there are very few spaces available as recent finalists have priority booking.
Only those whose degrees have been conferred at a degree ceremony either in person or in absentia may receive a degree certificate, although a digital transcript is available for those who have passed their final exams but have not yet attended a ceremony.
Please ensure that you provide us with a current address when you book your ceremony, especially if graduating in absentia, so that your certificate can be safely sent to you.
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 is required to make a retrospective change under the provisions of the Gender Recognition Act 2004.
Planning your Degree Day visit
Click the dropdown boxes below for further information to help you plan your visit to College on the day of your ceremony.
Contact the Domestic Bursar if you wish to enquire after accommodation options on the dates around your degree celebrations. Please note that it is not usually possible to use College accommodation during Full Term.
Mansfield College is ideally situated between the bustling heart of historic Oxford and the quiet calm of the University Parks and the River Cherwell. The nineteenth-century buildings are set in picturesque grounds, and the range of modern facilities make excellent provision for the College community and guests. With a welcoming atmosphere and a beautiful environment, a warm reception awaits you at Mansfield.
Located close to the city centre, Mansfield College is well-connected to public transport networks. The College is within walking distance of both Oxford train station and the Gloucester Green coach station. The city’s extensive Park & Ride system also offers a regular and accessible service from the designated car parks to central Oxford.
On-street parking on Mansfield Road is provided by the City Council; guests are advised to read the street signage and payment point information carefully. Please note that onsite parking at the College is not available to the public.
Parking can very occasionally be requested for individual guests with access needs, but availability is very limited and cannot be guaranteed. Please contact your event organiser to discuss bookings.
At the front of the site, the Lodge is the first point of call for visitors to the College. The friendly Porters are a key source of information and help, and are also responsible for site security and first aid. Speak to the Porters if you need directions, assistance with ordering a taxi, or to contact another College department.
The majority of key areas within the College are fully accessible to visitors, with either step-free or lift access to the dining areas, bathroom facilities, and event spaces. Further details are below.
- Refreshment and dining areas
The Crypt Café, terrace area, and Chapel Hall all have level access. The Old Hall on the first floor is accessible via a lift which is suitable for electric and manual wheelchair users.
- Main bathroom facilities
There is level access to the unisex toilets in the Crypt Café, including a designated accessible bathroom with a wide doorway, and also step-free access to the ladies’ toilets by the Crypt Café. The men’s toilets on the first floor are accessible via a lift which is suitable for electric and manual wheelchair users.
- Event spaces
There is step-free access to the Sir Joseph Hotung Auditorium, with space for wheelchair users and guests with pushchairs. A fully accessible bathroom is available on lower ground level.
The Seminar Rooms in the Garden Building are also accessible via a ramp; there are several bathrooms on the ground floor of the building, including an accessible bathroom with a wide doorway.
Access to a quiet room is available on request, e.g., for prayer or breastfeeding, should a separate private area enable guests to feel more comfortable. Contact the event organiser and/or the Porters’ Lodge if you wish to use a space, ideally in advance of your visit to the College. Please note that access is based on room availability as these are not designated permanent areas.
Mansfield has an outstanding reputation for providing food of the highest quality, using fresh ingredients and cooked onsite by the skilled College catering team. Our staff pride themselves on their attention to detail and work hard to ensure every guest has the best possible experience. If you are dining at the College, please contact your event organiser a minimum of one week before the event to notify them of any allergies and/or intolerances.
Drinks and light refreshments are also available from the Crypt Café during regular opening hours.