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Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, The University has decided that Congregations can take place 'in person' but without guests during the summer of 2021.

All dates are subject to change or cancellation, dependent on the latest government advice regarding COVID-19.

The University and the Colleges recognise the importance of celebrating students' achievements in a fitting way. For students who graduate in absence because of the Covid-19 crisis, the University and Colleges’ Congregations Working Group has adopted the key principle of seeking to offer a ceremony in the Senate-House that will be as close as possible to the usual in-person graduation. Our aim is to make it possible for College cohorts to reunite in their College and to process together to the Senate-House in academic dress, where those still to graduate will have their degrees conferred and those who have graduated in absence will have their degrees celebrated in a similar way. How soon this can happen will depend on when social distancing rules have eased and large gatherings are again possible, but in the hope that this could take place next year, the Working Group is consulting with Colleges on a range of potential dates for 2021.

Transcripts for degrees awarded based on assessments modified as a result of COVID-19 will include brief wording explaining that the candidate undertook alternative assessments, and provide a link to a fuller explanation of the nature of the assessment, hosted on the CamData website.

Paper copies of certificates and transcripts for everyone who has graduated in absence during the lockdown period will be produced and posted as soon as staff are able to return to the workplace. Further copies may be ordered once this service is available again. A service that allows you to access your official transcript electronically remains in place and has been enhanced to include an image of your graduation certificate. This subscription service to Digitary allows you to share documents on-line with other organisations such as employers or other educational institutions. Further information is available here

Students of Lucy Cavendish are awarded their degrees at a ceremony at the University's Senate House. The ceremony is called a Congregation. Students who graduate at a Congregation are called Graduands and are presented to the Vice-Chancellor, or their deputy, by the College's Praelector.

A Graduand can choose to be awarded their degree 'in absence' or 'in person', and there are five Congregation Dates throughout the academic year at which Lucy Cavendish presents our Graduands 'in person'.

For a number of reasons you may not be able, or wish, to appear 'in person' for your graduation and if this is the case you can graduate 'in absence' at most Congregations during the academic year.  'In absence' Graduands do not attend a Congregation at the Senate House - their degree is awarded at the Congregation and a degree certificate is sent to the Graduand by post by the College shortly after the Congregation.

Whether you wish to graduate 'in person' or 'in absence' you must contact our Praelector's Secretary at least three weeks in advance of your chosen Congregation Date to register your interest.  The University gives the College a deadline for each Congregation and the names of all graduands who wish to attend a particular Congregation must be submitted to the University by that date, and it is not possible to add graduands to a Congregation after the University's deadline.

The College organises a reception for each of the five Congregations at which our Graduands can graduate 'in person', and Graduands are encouraged to bring family and friends to the reception to share their celebration.

When our Praelector's Secretary receives an email from you with your chosen graduation date, she will send you information about arrangements for your graduation, including Academical Dress, and how to book an unrestricted number of tickets for our College reception and up to three Senate House tickets for your guests.  The Praelector's Secretary will book your graduation with the University and will advise you on the Monday preceeding your graduation of the timetable for your graduation day.

Car parking is available at Lucy Cavendish for Graduands and their guests.

It is possible to make modifications to your Congregation.  The Trinitarian formula is usually used: 'in nomine Patris, et Filii et Spiritus Sancti', ie 'in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit'; however:

  • you may prefer 'in nomine Dei', ie 'in the name of God', or
  • you may prefer neither of the above.
  • for religious or medical reasons you may not wish to kneel.
  • you may wish another name other than your first name to be used, eg Mary JEAN Jones.

If you wish to make any exception to your Congregation please contact our Praelector's Secretary.

All Graduands meet at Lucy Cavendish College before the Congregation to celebrate their graduation with friends and family at a drinks reception, followed by a rehearsal for Senate House with our College Praelector.  During your rehearsal verbal information will be given to you by the College's Praelector and your outfit, gown and hood will be checked to ensure that you are wearing correct Academical Dress.

Following the reception and rehearsal at Lucy Cavendish, Graduands process on foot to the Senate House led by the College's Praelector, and joined by Fellows of the College.

Guests leave College slightly earlier than Graduands as, before the Congregation begins, they are invited to take their seats in the Senate House. Please note, guests cannot be admitted once the Congregation has started and must remain in their seats until the Congregation has finished.  The University Proctors advise that the occasion is not suitable for small children and babies but they are very welcome at the celebration in College.

Once at the Senate House, as rehearsed in College, the Praelector will hold each candidate in turn by her right hand and say:

Dignissime domine Domine Procancellarie et tota Academia praesento vobis hanc mulierem quam scio tam moribus quam doctrina esse idoneam ad gradum assequendum (name of degree); idque tibi fide mea praesto totique Academiae” (Most worthy Vice-Chancellor and the whole University, I present to you this woman whom I know to be suitable as much by character as by learning to proceed to the degree of [name of degree]; for which I pledge my faith to you and to the whole University).

The Graduand then kneels and after enclosing the Graduand’s hands between her own, the Vice- Chancellor or her deputy says:

Auctoritate mihi comissa admitto te ad gradum (name of degree), in nomine Patris et Filii et Spiritus Sancti" (By the authority committed to me I admit you to the degree of [name of degree], in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit).

The new graduate then rises, bows to the Vice-Chancellor or Deputy and retires.

All dates are subject to change or cancellation, dependent on the latest government advice regarding COVID-19.

Academic Year 2020-2021

September 11, 2021 - (2020 GA cohort only) BTh, BA, VetMB and BA with MEng or MMath or MSci degrees only - in person but no guests permitted at the Senate House

September 18, 2021 - (2020 Postgraduates and 'legacy') - in person but no guests permitted at the Senate House

Academic Year 2021-2022

Extra ‘in person’ ceremonies next year are under consideration. A University Working Party is meeting to consider when guests will be allowed at the degree ceremonies in the Senate House and which of the ceremonies below will be “in person” or “in absence”,

We will update this list as soon as further information is available and once the College has been able to consider its position.


October 23, 2021 - currently 'in absence' ONLY

November 27, 2021 - probably 'in person or 'in absence'


January 29, 2022 - 'in absence' ONLY

February 26, 2022 – possibly 'in person or 'in absence'’

March 26, 2022 - 'in absence' ONLY

April 2, 2022 - 'in absence' ONLY


April 30, 2022 - 'in absence' ONLY

May 21, 2022 – ‘'in person or 'in absence'' -  For MA and all other degrees

GENERAL ADMISSION 2022 - ''in person or 'in absence'

July 2, 2022 - BTh, BA, VetMB and BA with MEng or MMath or MSci degrees only


July 23, 2022 - 'in person or 'in absence'

The University's website has detailed information about Academical Dress. Graduands must follow the University's guidelines when choosing their outfit for graduation. If you are unsure please check with a member of Tutorial Office.

Gowns and Hoods

Affiliated and Mature Undergraduates

You should wear the College undergraduate gown and the hood of the degree you are about to receive.


If you are already a graduate of the University of Cambridge, you should wear the gown and hood of the highest degree you have previously received from the University.

Not a graduate of the University of Cambridge

You should wear the gown appropriate to your status: either a BA status gown (23 years of age and under) or an MA status gown (24 years of age and over), and the hood of the degree that you are about to receive. If you are receiving more than one degree, you should wear the hood of the higher of the two degrees you are to receive.

If you already have a BA degree, but no higher degree than the B.Chir, and you are being admitted to the MB, you should wear the B.Chir gown and hood. It can happen, albeit rarely, that students receive two degrees at the same ceremony. In this instance please seek advice from the Praelector's secretary Sarah Thomas (

Gowns and hoods for graduation may be hired from any of the following shops in Cambridge:

A E Clothier, 7 Pembroke Street, Cambridge
Ede & Ravenscroft, 71/72 Trumpington Street, Cambridge
Ryder & Amies, 22 Kings Parade, Cambridge

The University's Senate House is located on Kings Parade in the centre of Cambridge, and a map can be found here.

Guests should be aware there is no parking at the Senate House. Although parking can be found relatively nearby at either the Park Street or Grand Arcade car parks, guests should note that parking in Cambridge is very expensive.

Graduation days are very busy in Cambridge and if you wish to book a taxi from the College to the Senate House we would recommend doing so in advance either in our Porters' Lodge or by calling a local taxi company, for example.