What to expect during your ceremony

Graduation ceremonies are presided over by either the ChancellorVice-Chancellor, Deputy Vice-Chancellor or one of the Pro Vice-Chancellors, all of whom have the authority to confer degrees.

Each ceremony begins with staff processions, which are conducted into the Great Hall by the Bedells, or Ceremonial Officers, who are members of the University staff. Information about who is involved in the processions is given in the graduation programme which is available to all graduands and guests on the day of the ceremony.

After‌ the processions have entered the Hall the presiding officer will declare the ceremony open.  Each graduand is presented to the presiding officer by the Dean of the relevant Faculty, or their representative.  The graduand approaches the presiding officer holding their hands out in front of them pointing forward with palms together.  The presiding officer clasps their hands around the graduand's hands, and at this point the degree is conferred.  An illustration of the hand position can be seen at Hands at conferral (PDF, 276kB).

After the last new graduate has returned to their seat, an honorary degree is awarded to an individual who has made a significant contribution to society.  A speech presenting the honorary graduand is given by the public orator before the presiding officer confers the degree.  The honorary graduate may then address the congregation offering inspirational words to our graduates.

Once all the degrees have been conferred the presiding officer addresses the new graduates and their guests.  The ceremony concludes with the singing of the National Anthem, led by a student singer from the University of Bristol, after which the processions are led out of the Hall by the Bedells, followed by the new graduates.

Presentation of names and degrees

Graduands who attend a graduation ceremony will have their first name (or preferred middle name) and surname announced.  We regret that we are unable to use names that do not appear within the graduand's official name as registered on their student record.  If a graduand has a query about their name or needs to make an amendment to their officially registered name they should contact their Faculty Office.  Names cannot be amended after an award has been made.

Graduands' names are printed in full in the graduation programme, which is a public document given to all graduands and guests at their ceremony.  If a graduand has obtained a first class honours or distinction degree classification, their names will be printed alphabetically by surname under the heading of that degree classification in the programme.  Those with a 2.1, 2.2. or 3rd class honours degree classification are then listed under the heading 'With Honours' in the programme for undergraduate degrees, or merit and pass classifications are listed under the heading 'Master of Arts/Science' etc for postgraduate degrees.  Ordinary degrees appear under the heading 'Bachelor of Science/Arts' etc following the undergraduate honours section.  Graduands will be presented onstage in programme order.

Graduands' names may also be used on University merchandise including the graduation hoodie, which lists the names of all students graduating in the degree congregation under the title 'Class of 2019'.

Graduands should contact the Graduation Office to discuss any issues arising in relation to this use of personal information.

Filming and photography

Photography is permitted during the ceremony.  However, we as that the views of others are not obstructed and that any photographs are taken in as discreet a manner as possible.

Graduation is a special day and we recognise that not all of your friends and family can attend in person, therefore our graduation ceremonies are professionally filmed and streamed live on the website and may be available for viewing after the event.  In addition, the University may have an official photographer persent.  please note, footage may also be used or media publications and advertising as well as social media.  All graduands and guests should be aware that they may feature in this footage.  By registering to attend the graduation ceremony, both students and guests are giving permission for your image to be recorded and used in the manner described above.

Graduands should contact the Graduation Office if they have any issues relating to this.

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