Frequently asked questions

Please note that the following questions and answers apply to graduands who are eligible to register for the February 2019 graduation ceremonies. 


Confirming attendance


Gown hire and dress code


Arrangements on the day

Certificates and transcripts

When will I receive my graduation invitation?

Invitations for the February graduation ceremonies will be sent out in November.  If you have not received an invitation email by Monday 26 November, and you believe that you are due to graduate in February, please contact the Graduation Office.

Why have I received and invitation when I am not expecting to graduate?

Graduation invitations have been sent out to students on the basis of information indicating that you are potentially eligible to graduate at the February degree congregation.  If your circumstances have changed and you know that you will not have your award confirmed in time to graduate in February, please contact the Graduation Office to let us know.   You should check the Eligibility page and Information for postgraduate students, if applicable, before contacting us with this information.

When can I register for graduation?

Online registration opens in November when the invitations are sent out.

If you have not received an invitation email by Monday 26 November, and you believe that you are due to graduate in February, please contact the Graduation Office.

Registration closes at 5.00 pm on Monday 10 December 2018.

Should I wait for confirmation that I have passed before returning the graduation attendance form?

No, you must complete the registration process whether you have been awarded or not.  Any student who is not awarded in time for the February ceremonies will be put forward to the July 2019 ceremonies.

I'm a postgraduate and have been awarded subject to the correction of minor errors, can I still graduate?

Yes, you are still eligible to graduate at the February degree congregation with minor errors.  However, your degree certificate will only be issued when the Postgraduate Examinations Office has received written confirmation from the internal examiner that the corrections have been made. For further information please contact the Postgraduate Examinations Office on +44 (0)117 428 3053 (internal 83053).

I have registered for graduation but have not received an acknowledgement email, what should I do?

If you do not automatically receive an acknowledgement email on submission of your online registration form, you should contact the Graduation Office as soon as possible to see if your registration has gone through.

What if I don't want to attend my ceremony?

You must still complete your registration form even if you do not wish to attend your ceremony, choosing in absentia as your option.

What should I do if I was expecting to attend the ceremony and am no longer able to do so?

If you are no longer able to attend, please telephone the Graduation Office as soon as possible on +44 (0)117 428 2943 (internal 82943) or +44 (0)117 428 3056 (internal 83056).  We will then be able to arrange for your degree to be conferred in absentia, and your certificate will be posted to your home address after the ceremony.

What should I do if I cannot touch a member of the opposite sex to perform the hand clasp at the ceremony?

We understand that for religious or cultural beliefs some graduands may not wish to make physical contact with the Presiding Officer to perform the hand clasping which accompanies the conferral of your degree.  If this is the case, please contact the Graduation Office and we can check who will be presiding at your ceremony and, if necessary, arrange for you to exchange nods instead of clasping hands.

How many tickets am I allowed?

All graduands are guaranteed two guest tickets (as well as their own graduand ticket) for entrance to the ceremony.  Please note that you will need to collect your own graduand ticket even if you have no guests with you.

Can I get more than two guest tickets for my ceremony?

Graduands can request one extra ticket in advance by sending an email to  Your full name, student number and degree course must be included in the email.  Your request will be entered into a random ballot, and you will be informed by email no later than 3 working days before your ceremony if your extra ticket has been allocated.  Please see Ticket allocation and collection for full information. 

Do I need my own ticket for the ceremony?

Yes, you will be allocated your own graduand ticket which includes your seat number.  Please note that you will need to collect your own graduand ticket even if you have no guests with you.

Are babies and children allowed to attend the ceremony?

This is a family occasion so children are welcome to attend, however they must be accompanied by an adult and any child aged 2 or over must be allocated a guest ticket.  Ceremonies last for around 90 minutes so they may not be suitable for very young children.  Out of respect for other guests we request that small children should be taken outside if they become unsettled during the ceremony, so as not to disturb proceedings.  Please note that prams and pushchairs may not be brought into the Hall but can be left in the side corridors by prior arrangement.

What should I do if I have not ordered my gown by the deadline?

Our gown suppliers, Ede & Ravenscroft, bring a number of spare gowns with them on the day of the ceremony.  These gowns are issued on a first-come, first-served basis, so we would advise you to arrive as early as possible to hire one on the day.  The gown hire company will be based in the Richmond Building for the duration of Graduation.  Payment can be made by cash, cheque, or credit/debit card.  Please note that you cannot graduate without the regulation gown and hood.

Do I need to order a hat or cap?

You are not required to order a hat or cap for the ceremony unless you are being awarded a Higher Doctorate, ie DEng, DLitt, DMus, DSc and LLD.

What should I wear for the ceremonies?

Apart from the regulation gown and hood which should have been ordered in advance from Ede & Ravenscroft we do not specify what you should wear in any detail, although it may help you to know most people decide to wear something smart that reflects that this is special and more formal occasion.

For guidance, we can advise that a combination of black and white clothing works well with our gowns, although there is no specific colour requirement.

Traditional costume is also acceptable for graduation.

Where and when should I return my gown?

Gowns will need to be returned by 7.00 pm on the day of your ceremony, either at the Richmond Building or the drop-off point at the Wills Memorial Building.

Where does the official graduation photography take place?

Official graduation photography provided by Ede & Ravenscroft is available each day at the Richmond Building, Queen's Road.  Scrolls and hats are provided for the sessions.

What should I do if I have not pre-booked my photography?

You can book on the day of your ceremony by visiting the Ede & Ravenscroft sales desk at the Richmond Building.

What's the best time to have my photos taken?

This is a very popular service so we recommend making use of what might be quieter times of the day to have your photos taken, such as while other ceremonies are taking place.

Where do I need to go on the day?

Ticket and gown collection is located at the Richmond Building, Queen's Road.  The ceremonies take place in the Great Hall, Wills Memorial Building.  A detailed map of the precinct is available here.

When should I collect my tickets and gown?

Tickets and gowns should be collected on the day of your ceremony and will be available from 8.00 am.

Please ensure that you bring a form of identification with you (e.g. your student card, driving licence or passport), when collecting your tickets.

Guests will be welcome to wait in the Balloon Bar in the Richmond Building while graduands collect their tickets and gowns, but we ask that only graduands go to the ticket and gown areas.

What time do I have to arrive for my ceremony?

You need to be robed and seated in the Great Hall, Wills Memorial Building at the time specified in the Timetable for the day information for your ceremony.

What time should my guests arrive at the ceremony?

Guests are admitted approximately 40 minutes before the start of the ceremony, as specified in the Timetable for the day information for your ceremony.

How long does the ceremony last?

The ceremony usually lasts about an hour to an hour-and-a-quarter.

How will my name/degree be announced at the ceremony?

Graduands who attend a graduation ceremony will have their first name (or preferred middle name) and surname announced.  We are unable to use names that do not appear within the graduand’s official name as registered on their student record.  

Graduands will be presented onstage in programme order, as follows: graduands who have obtained a first class honours or distinction degree classification will have their names printed alphabetically by surname under the heading of that degree classification in the programme, and the presenter will announce the name of the degree 'With first class honours (or 'With Distinction')'. Those with a 2.1, 2.2 or 3rd class honours degree classification are then listed alphabetically under the heading ‘With Honours’ in the programme, and presented as such.  Ordinary degrees then appear and will be announced under the heading ‘Bachelor of Science/Arts’ etc.  

Is there a live screening of the event?

The ceremonies will be screened live in the Pegg Theatre and the Balloon bar at the Richmond Building, Queen’s Road, and any guests without a ticket for the Great Hall are welcome to watch the ceremony there.  Tickets are not required for these venues and seating is available on a first come, first served basis.

Is there web streaming of the event?

All of the ceremonies will be streamed live and can be accessed via the University of Bristol home page or the Graduation website.

What should I do on the day if I find that I may arrive late?

If you find that you are delayed for the start of the ceremony, please call the Graduation Office on +44 (0)117 42 82943 or +44 (0)117 42 83056.

When will I receive my degree certificate?

If you are attending your graduation ceremony you will receive your degree certificate at the ceremony.  If you graduate in absentia, your certificate will be posted to your registered home address, after the degree congregation has ended. It is not possible to receive your certificate before you graduate, but you can request a verification of award letter for proof of your degree in the meantime, once it is awarded.

Can I get an electronic copy of my certificate?

No, for security reasons certificates cannot be sent out electronically.

I am graduating in my absence, can I ask a friend to collect my degree certificate on my behalf?

It is possible to arrange for your degree certificate to be collected in person from the Examinations Office, instead of being posted.  If you would like to nominate someone to collect it on your behalf you will need to email your request to, giving the name of your nominee as permission for them to collect the certificate for you.  Your nominee will need to show some identification when they collect your certificate.  Please note that certificates will be available for collection on Friday 22 or Monday 25 February 2019.

How do I obtain my transcript?

Transcripts are provided by your faculty office, so please visit the relevant faculty website for details or contact them direct for further information.

How can I check or change my address?

You can check the address that is currently registered for you at the 'Home Address' link on the left hand side of your Student Info page, and change it there if necessary.

Back to top

Edit this page