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*Graduation updates*

Congratulations on completing your degree! The following information will guide you through the process of graduating. If you have any further queries please do contact the Student Office.

The College Praelector is Ms Alison Vinnicombe and she is responsible for presenting graduands at Congregations of the Regent House for the conferment of degrees. These ceremonies take place in the Senate House, and reach back many centuries. Graduands are presented individually by the Praelector to the Vice-Chancellor of the University or his Deputy in the presence of the Proctors, who are the elected representatives of the Regent House. After your degree has been conferred you will be presented with your degree certificate.

What is graduating in absence?

Graduating ‘in absence’ or ‘in absentia’ means to have your degree awarded or conferred without attending a ceremony in person.

Candidates who graduate ‘in absence’ are then unable to have their degree conferred ‘in person’ at a subsequent date.

What is a celebratory graduation due to the COVID-19 pandemic?

Candidates who opted to graduate ‘in absence’ at earlier ceremonies affected by the COVID-19 pandemic are able to return to Cambridge and have their degree celebrated at a future graduation ceremony.

With effect from the ceremony on Friday 29th April '22, graduands are once again able to have their degree conferred In Person with guests in attendance. As such, those who opt to have their degree conferred In Absence on Friday 29th April or at a subsequent ceremony will not be eligible to 'celebrate' the conferral of their degree In Person at the Senate House on a later date.

If you wish to return and celebrate your degree please contact the Student Office at least one month prior to the date you wish to attend. Please note that the College does not put forward candidates in person at every ceremony.

In order to graduate you must meet the requirements of the degree you wish to have conferred. This may mean residence requirements, examinations results or approval from Student Registry.

Graduate students must have received their approval letter from the Board of Graduate Studies in order to graduate. You are unable to have your degree conferred until you have received that formal approval but you are able to provisionally apply for any of the smaller ceremonies throughout the year and be withdrawn if the approval is not received in time. Further information on degree approval can be found here.

This is particularly important for those graduating in July as many MPhil courses will not be approved in time. Please check with your department when your Degree Committee will approve your degree.

All students must ensure all University and College bills are settled before being put forward for graduation. Any queries regarding your College account should be directed to the Finance Office.

Library books must be returned to Lucy Cavendish College Library, the UL and departmental libraries before being able to graduate.

If you are not in Cambridge you can make use of the Book Returns Service to return books to the UL, departmental and College libraries.

Academic Term

Date of Ceremony

Ceremony Type


Lent Term 2023

Saturday 25th March

In absence only

Please apply via CamSIS Self-Service.


Saturday 1st April**

In absence or in person

MA Candidates only. (Eligible candidates have been contacted by the Praelector's Office)

Easter Term 2023

Saturday 29th April

In absence or in person

Applications paused due to University number restrictions.


Saturday 20th May

In absence or in person

Please apply via CamSIS Self-Service.


Saturday 1st July*

In absence or in person

Applications are not currently open


Saturday 22nd July

In absence or in person

Applications open in April

*This ceremony is for BTh, BA, VetMB and BA with MEng or MMath or MSci degrees only

**This ceremony is for MA degrees only

Note: Those who have graduated in absence due the COVID restrictions may write to the Praelector’s Secretary with a date they wish to attend, in person, to celebrate their degree.

Academical dress hire

You may hire or buy academical dress from any of the following Cambridge suppliers. They are usually very helpful in advising the correct items to hire but they do sometimes get it wrong. All items must be collected personally despite the supplier’s websites saying that they will be delivered to your College.

Ede & Ravenscroft

70-72 Trumpington Street, Cambridge CB2 1RJ or 01223 861854

Purchase Enquiries: 01223 350048 (shop) or 01223 861854

Ryder & Amies

22 King’s Parade, Cambridge CB2 1SP


If you choose to graduate in person at the Senate-House, you are required to wear the following Cambridge academical dress at the ceremony.

  • Undergraduates and affiliated students: undergraduate gown of your college and the hood of the highest degree that you are about to receive.

  • Postgraduate candidates: either the gown and hood of your highest existing Cambridge degree or, if not already a Cambridge graduate, a BA or MA status gown (dependent on age) and the hood of the highest degree you are about to take.

  • Those collecting their MA: the gown and hood of the highest Cambridge degree you hold, for example, BA gown and BA hood.

  • Those celebrating degrees should wear the gown and hood of the degree awarded in absence.

Further information on gowns can be found on the Grad Union Website.

Academic Dress Flowchart

What to wear at graduation

As graduation is a formal occasion, an appropriate standard of dress is expected. The dress code below is strictly enforced at ceremonies, and if you do not observe it, you may not be permitted to graduate on a particular occasion. The Praelector is able to offer further advice on dress.

Dress Option One

  • A dinner jacket or black, very dark grey or very dark blue lounge suit. These must be dark enough not to contrast obviously with a black gown.

  • A plain, long-sleeved, collared, white shirt.

  • Formal black shoes. Sandals are not permitted.

  • Unpatterned black or very dark grey socks.

  • White bow-tie and bands must be worn. (Note: if female graduands opt for this, a jacket must also be worn.)

Dress Option Two

  • A black, very dark grey or very dark blue skirt suit or trouser suit, or a dark skirt without a jacket, or a dark, long-sleeved dress. These must be dark enough not to contrast obviously with a black gown.

  • A plain, long-sleeved, white shirt or blouse (unless a long-sleeved dress is worn).

  • Formal black shoes. Sandals are not permitted.

  • Unpatterned black, nearly-black, or natural coloured hosiery (even if trousers are worn).

  • A white bow-tie and bands may be worn (optional) but only with a properly collared white shirt.

  • A black cassock may be substituted for a dark suit, skirt or dress in either Dress One or Two, but it must be worn with either a white bow-tie and bands or a clerical collar and bands.


The square cap, or 'mortarboard', is optional for graduands at Cambridge. If you do decide to wear one on the day, you should take it off and carry it in your left hand inside the Senate-House.


Conspicuous jewellery and hair accessories are not permitted.

National Dress

The Praelector must request of the Proctors special dispensation if you wish to wear national dress. It must be of a formal nature.

If making a request, please email your request with a photograph (jpg) of the proposed costume to the Student Office at least three weeks prior to the ceremony.

When should I start thinking about what I’m going to wear?

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.

What shoes can I wear?

You should wear formal black shoes. There should be no buckles.

No toes or heels should be shown - so no sandals or slingbacks.

No boots.

High heels should be avoided as you have to walk from College to the Senate House!

What colour suit/skirt/dress/trousers can I wear?

Black/very dark grey/very dark blue (not brown).

These must be dark enough not to contrast obviously with a black gown.

If in doubt, the darker (towards black) the better. It may seem OTT, but your attire for this occasion is important so do take the time to sort it well in advance.

What shirt can I wear?

Shirts must be plain white, long sleeved.

(Those who choose to wear a dress must have long sleeves.)

What do I wear with white bow tie and bands?

All graduands who choose to wear white bow ties and bands must wear a properly collared shirt and a black jacket. (If you do not have a jacket you will be asked to remove your bow ties and bands). Your hood should be positioned under your bow tie and bands.

Can I be with bare legs?

Tights must be worn when wearing dress/skirt – black or sheer.

When wearing trousers black socks or black/sheer pop socks must be worn.

Will my hood be at College to collect?

No - all items of academical dress must be collected personally from Ryder & Amies or Ede & Ravenscroft despite the supplier’s websites saying that they will be delivered to College.

College does not have any spare hoods so please ensure you order one early as you cannot graduate without one.

Can I wear National Dress?

Yes, but The Praelector must request of the Proctors special dispensation if you wish to wear national dress. It must be of a formal nature.

If making a request, please email your request with a photograph (jpg) of the proposed costume to the Graduation Team ( at least three weeks prior to the ceremony.

The programme for the day with final timings will be sent out at least a week prior to the ceremony, as this information is only available once the final numbers of students graduating across the University is known.

Lucy Cavendish usually presents at the Senate House around mid-afternoon but we would recommend keeping the whole day free.

For those graduating in person this is what to expect from the day under current circumstances:

  • Arrival at College

  • Pre-booked individual and group photographs by Lafayette [graduands, celebrants and guests]

  • Dress check and rehearsal [graduands and celebrants]

  • Formal Graduation Photograph by Lafayette [graduands, celebrants and College Officers]

  • Celebratory Reception [graduands, celebrants and guests]

  • Procession to the Senate House [graduands, celebrants and College Officers]

  • Live streaming of ceremony [guests]

The in person ceremony

During the ceremony, you will proceed through the Senate House and you will stand to receive your degree. The Praelector will give the customary speech to present you and your degree will be conferred individually by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (normally your Head of House). Once you have completed your ceremony you may either engage with the Tempest photography services or leave the Yard. 

Graduands will not be able to take a bag or backpack to the Senate House.  These should be left with your guests.  All you need with you is a bank card, if you wish to purchase photographs or certificate frames from Tempest photography, and an umbrella where necessary.

The ceremony wording 

During the ceremony when your name is called, you step forward. The Head of House will recite the Christian Trinitarian Formula "Auctoritate mihi commissa admitto te ad gradum (name of degree), in nomine Patris et Filii et Spiritus Sancti”, translated as "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."

You may have the Trinitarian Formula omitted from your part of the ceremony and opt for the IND option – where the Head of House says instead `in nomine Dei’, 'in the name of God' at the end of their little speech.

You may also opt out of the IND Option so that the Head of House instead recites in Latin "By the authority committed to me, I admit you to the degree of (name of degree)” with no religious blurb at the end.

Alternative name

If you wish to have your name read out in the Senate House, in a different way to how it is on CamSIS, for example, if you are normally known by your middle name please do advise the Student Office. Please note your degree certificate will still be printed exactly as your name appears on CamSIS.

COVID-19 measures on site

Graduands and guests are strongly encouraged to wear face coverings inside the Senate House. Graduands are strongly encouraged wear plain coloured or University or College crested face coverings inside the Senate House, unless an exemption applies. You are able to remove your mask when your degree is conferred, if you wish to do so, and it is recommended you hold your mask in your left hand so it cannot be seen in the photograph that is taken of you.

Livestreaming the ceremony

To allow your family and friends to view your graduation in the Senate House, the University will provide a livestream of the event. This can be watched from anywhere around the world.  It will also be available to view online for two months following the ceremony, so you, too, can watch yourself on screen. Please note that by attending the ceremony in person, you are giving your consent to being included in the livestream. It will not be possible to take part in the ceremony and not be part of the recording.

The livestreaming is provided to allow those friends and family members unable to attend the Senate House to view this important event.  It is provided on the understanding that it is a private recording, not to be publicly shared on social media or in any public forum.  Whilst the University and the contractors will make best efforts to provide the livestream, it is not guaranteed and some circumstances may prevent either a live broadcast or possibly a later showing of any recording. 

Photography at the Senate House

Tempest, the University's official photographers, will offer studio photography and certificate framing services on the day after the ceremony has concluded, as well as photographing you inside the Senate House as your degree is conferred.  You will need to have a bank card with you at the Senate House if you wish to purchase photographs or certificate frames.  It will not be possible for graduands to gather in front of Senate-House to take photographs on the day.

If you hold a Cambridge BA, you may proceed to the MA not less than six years from the end of your first term of residence. From January 2023 those who matriculated in October 2016 and took their BA prior to December 2020 will be eligible.

We invite you to attend the ceremony in April to receive this.

Further information can be found here.

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.

Graduates can sign up to the online Digitary allowing them to access and share an electronic copy of their official transcript as well as access an image of their graduation certificate.

Students who defer graduation will also be able to access the Digitary but will not be recorded as having graduated.

Important: unless given out at an in person ceremony, certificates and/or transcripts will be sent to your ‘Home address’ on CamSIS. Please ensure this and your ‘preferred’ email address are updated on CamSIS. If you are having trouble with this please contact the Student Office. Certificates are posted untracked so if you wish to arrange for a tracked mail service please contact the Student Office.

Further information on the Verification of Degrees which may be needed for employment, is available here.