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General Admission Graduation FAQs for Undergraduates

How do I register for General Admission Graduation (BA, MSci, MEng, MMath degrees)?

You will need to register for General Admission graduation via the registration form that will be sent to you by the Tutorial Office at the end of Lent Term. If you have not received the link to the form by 5 April 2024 please email You’ll also be able to use the form to request tickets for the ceremony at Senate House and the Senior Tutor's Buffet Lunch at the College afterwards.

I’m a third-year and am intending to stay on for a 4th year – do I still need to register for graduation?

Yes, you do - even if you intend to stay on for a fourth year (e.g. NatSci, Maths, Management Studies) you must still apply to graduate; we can withdraw people from graduation at the last minute, but we can’t add them.  Once your results have been confirmed, we will confirm your choice to continue with you and then withdraw you. Depending on your results publication date, this may not happen until quite close to graduation day. 

If I don’t want to go through the ceremony in person, what do I do? 

If for any reason you don’t want to or aren’t able to attend General Admission, we would ask that you speak to the Tutorial Office the first instance. If you really aren’t able to attend, you may collect your degree “in absence” by ticking that box on the registration form. 

If you’d like to go in person to another congregation in the year, please check the College website for the dates, choose one and email the Tutorial Office to make arrangements. We can also arrange for you to receive your certificate in absence at any of those congregations. Basically, you will not receive your degree certificate until you’ve gone through a Senate House congregation, either in person or in absence. 

When taking the degree in absence, your degree certificate and official transcript will be posted from the Tutorial Office approximately three weeks after the ceremony.

Do I need a ticket for myself for the graduation ceremony?

No, only for your guests.  Each student is allowed 2 Senate House tickets and may join a wait list for any additional tickets  - see below.

Can I request more guest tickets?

Two guest tickets is our standard allocation for the graduation ceremony at Senate House.  Occasionally, we have the capacity to issue extra guests tickets, in which case we take the following steps:

  • At the point of registration each graduating student is entitled to request two extra guest tickets for Senate House. This is in addition to their two guaranteed guest tickets.
  • When you apply for an extra ticket, the Tutorial Office will note this and allocate the request to a waiting list.
  • If extra tickets become available*, the Tutorial Office will allocate these extra tickets strictly in the time/date order of application.
  • We will notify students about their extra ticket allocation one week before the graduation ceremony.
  • Important: When making plans regarding guests, you should bear in mind that waitlisted tickets are highly sought after and aren't guaranteed. If you are lucky, you may get one extra ticket; it is very unlikely that you'll receive two.

*Extra Guest Ticket availability is calculated by:

  • the number of tickets allocated to the College by Senate House
  • less the number of guaranteed tickets requested by each student graduating;
  • plus the number of tickets made available when those going on to a fourth year are withdrawn from the ceremony (normally one week before the graduation ceremony).
  • The remaining tickets are then allocated as above.

Are children allowed as guests at graduation?

Tickets are required for all guests including children and babies. Please note that the ceremony can last for up to one hour.

Children of all ages are welcome at the Senior Tutor’s Buffet Lunch at College afterwards. Tickets are not needed for children under 8 years of age.

One of my guests has mobility issues – what should I do?

When your guests enter the Senate House grounds, they should find one of the constables (in top hats), who can guide them to ramp access and ground-floor seating.

I have accessibility concerns – what should I do?

Graduands with accessibility concerns are welcome to use mobility aids in the Senate House. The Senate House does not regulate the style or colour of these aids. There is also step-free access to the Senate House. If other accessibility concerns arise, reach out to Tutorial or speak to one of the Senate House Constables on the day, and they will be able to assist you. 

If you will be leaving Senate House by the step-free exit, please advise the Tutorial Office so they may inform the congregations team. This will allow Student Administration staff to hand you your certificate at the correct exit.

What do I wear?

Start with the College website Dress Code page. The main advice is to start early when planning what you’re going to wear and to book your graduation gown and hood well in advance from one of the outfitters in town. Ensure you source black / dark clothing / shoes as soon as you can, as it will be difficult to purchase graduation clothes close to the date. 

If you’re hoping to do a 4th year and therefore not graduate, tell the robe outfitter when ordering and ask them if they’ll defer your order until the following year (or cancel it if you’d prefer). 

You can always check with the Tutorial Office if you’re unsure about whether your suit is dark enough or if you’ve got the right shoes. If in doubt, the darker (towards black) the better. Your attire for this occasion is important so do take the time to sort it well in advance. 

Do I need a special gown?

No, you wear your usual gown but the hood must be right for the degree you are getting (for a B.A. it’s a black hood trimmed with white fur). The staff at the outfitters will know exactly what you need. Remember to tell the outfitters that you will need to collect your hood the day before the graduation ceremony, in readiness for the dress check and graduation group photo, which takes place during the late afternoon.

What about mortar boards?

Also called ‘squares’, these are not obligatory. You cannot wear one in the Senate House, but will have to carry it under your arm, put it down on the dais while you kneel to receive your degree, and then remember to pick it up again afterwards.

What should guests wear for graduation?

Strictly speaking, guests who are members of the University (including non-graduands) should wear their academic gowns. It is unlikely, however, that anyone would notice if they didn't. Other than that, there is no dress code, although guests typically choose to dress smart/casual. Suits and ties are not necessary.

Are guests allowed to take bags/luggage into the ceremony?

No, for security reasons large bags and rucksacks are not allowed into Senate House. Your guests are welcome to leave their luggage in your rooms.

Where can my guests park their cars?

Cambridge is not a good place for cars. Details of public transport and Cambridge's park and ride system are available on the maps and directions page of this website.

Is it possible to take photographs during the graduation ceremony?

No. Guests are strictly forbidden from taking photographs or using video cameras during graduation ceremonies. The University does, however, take photographs of all graduates, and it is possible to buy copies from them afterwards. The livestream of the ceremony will be available for two months after the ceremony date.

You are welcome to take photographs at College and outside the Senate House.

Do I need a ticket to attend the Senior Tutor's Buffet?

The Senior Tutor's Buffet Lunch takes place in the College grounds after the ceremony.  You can reserve tickets (in the form of wrist bands) for your guests to attend the Buffet Lunch on the registration form – you don’t need a ticket but your guests do.  The cost (tbc for 2024 -- was £15 per ticket in 2023) will be added to your final College bill. Tickets are not needed for children under 8-years of age.  

When do I pick up my tickets?

Tickets for the graduation ceremony and wrist bands for the Senior Tutor's Buffet Lunch will be available for collection from Tutorial staff on the Wednesday afternoon at the same time you’re having a dress check before the graduation photograph and Graduation Dinner. Tickets for the Graduation Dinner are not issued (as we will already have a record of who is attending and have a seating plan).

Is there guest accommodation available over graduation for my family?

No. The College isn't able to offer accommodation to your guests during Graduation week.  There are a number of hotels in Cambridge but it would be wise to book early to avoid disappointment. You can also point your guests to the University Accommodation Service website for a listing of bed and breakfasts in the city. 

What happens before the ceremony at Senate House?

If you are graduating in person then you will be required to attend a brief rehearsal in College prior to the ceremony. The Praelector will guide you through the details of the ceremony.  Afterwards you process out of the College down to Senate House for the ceremony. Full details will be sent to you by the Tutorial Office prior to the ceremony.

How do I obtain my Degree Certificate and Transcript?

One original degree certificate is issued without charge to all graduands. If in person, it will be given to you at the ceremony. If graduating in absence, the certificate will be sent to you by post. Any extra copies must be ordered from the University's Student Registry office.

Degree certificates (as well as transcripts) are also available online after graduation. For more information please see the Student Registry website.

What name will appear on my certificate?

Your name(s) will appear as they do in CamSIS.  It’s a good idea to check your name on CamSIS and then email the Tutorial Office to make any changes (i.e. add middle names) for you before graduation. A change of surname may require a legal document.

What about Graduation Dinner?

Also on the registration form, you’ll be able to sign up for the Graduation dinner, which takes place on the night before Graduation day. You do not need a ticket for this.

Dress code is black tie with gowns (not hoods, although you’ll need your hoods for the photograph prior to dinner).  

Are non-graduating third years in the photo?

No, only those graduating are part of the graduation photo, but non-graduands often stand around to watch, cheer, etc.

Am I allowed to bring guests to the Graduation Dinner?

The Graduation Dinner is for those students who are graduating, and those students that are staying on for an additional 4th year, or have been abroad for a year (as part of their studies) – basically your matriculation cohort.  The College Fellows are also invited, but no guests are allowed on this occasion.

If I’m staying on for a 4th year/I’ve been away on my “Year Abroad” – can I still attend the Graduation Dinner?

Of course, we would welcome you to come along and bid your matriculation cohorts a fond farewell! You will need to pay for your ticket, though (same price as a formal dinner).