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Graduation FAQs

We are delighted to announce that Summer 2023 Graduation ceremonies will take place at Westminster Cathedral, Central London. 

To answer any questions, we have provided a set of frequently asked questions under the following headings:

On the day

There will be four ceremonies in total across two days. Your ceremony date and time is specified on your invitation.

Ceremony 1   

Wednesday 19th July 2023       


Institute of Education

Ceremony 2   

Wednesday 19th July 2023       


Faculty of Business and Law/Institute of Theology and Liberal Arts     

Ceremony 3   

Thursday 20th July 2023       


Faculty of Sport, Allied Health and Performance Science/Psychology and Pedagogical Science-Sport and Exercise Sciences

Ceremony 4   

Thursday 20th July 2023       


Faculty of Sport, Allied Health and Performance Science/Health Sciences

What time do I need to arrive?

We recommend arriving at least an hour and a half before your ceremony begins. This is so you have time to collect your gown, have your photo taken and be seated before the ceremony begins. You should be seated at least 15 minutes before the ceremony start time.

Please remember that there are up to 300 fellow students graduating with you, who are also sticking to the same time frame, so earlier is always better than later!

The ticket registration desk will be open from 8.00am.

How long are the ceremonies?

The ceremonies last for around one hour. Timings depend on the number of graduands in each ceremony.

Please bring a bottle of water with you as this is not available once inside, and it can get very warm when graduands are wearing their gowns. Please note that whilst water is encouraged, food is not allowed in the Cathedral. Any graduands or guests that leave the Cathedral will not be allowed re-entry, and leaving during the ceremony is highly discouraged.

Registration and tickets

How do I book my tickets?

Please go to our tickets webpage for full details on how to book your tickets.

To attend the ceremony, you will need to book a ticket for yourself, free of charge. Each graduand is allowed to bring max. two guests and guest tickets cost £20 each. To book your tickets, you will need your student ID.

Entry to the Ceremony will be strictly by e-ticket only and your e-ticket will only be valid for the ceremony to which you have been invited.

Graduands will be asked to show the e-ticket for themselves at the namcard collection desk and at the cathedral, prior to entering the gowning area.

Guests will be asked to show their e-ticket at the Cathedral.

When will I receive my tickets?

E-tickets will be sent to the email address that you provide a week before the ceremony date, and you will be required to display this at the namecards desk at St Vincent's Centre, Hinsley Room, 5th Floor, Carlisle Place, London SW1P 1NL on the day of your ceremony.

On presenting your e-tickets, you will collect your namecard

Please, note that your guests must have their e-tickets on their own mobile devices, as they will access the Cathedral from a different entrance.

Entry to the Ceremony will be strictly by e-ticket only, and these will only be valid for the ceremony to which you have been invited.

The namecard collection desk will be open from 8.00am.

How many guest tickets can I get?

Each graduand can book two guest tickets, at £20 each. 

Can I buy extra/additional tickets?

When booking, you will not be given the option to request additional/extra tickets.

Please, do not enquire about extra tickets availability, as we are unable to pre-book, reserve, allocate any extra ticket

Should extra tickets become available, the Graduation Team will inform all the graduands via email and instructions will be given on how to book; and they will be sold on a first come, first served basis.

Can I bring my young child to the graduation ceremony?

Yes, children are welcome. However, for safety reasons and because of the capacity of the venue, they will need their own ticket if they are over two years old. Those under three years old will have to be sat on a lap. Note that graduands and guests are not sat together – so any young children will not be able to sit with you if you are graduating and will need to be supervised by another adult. Please note that buggies will have to be kept at the back of the Cathedral.

Please also bear in mind that the ceremonies are long (up to 1 hour) and will not keep young children entertained – please let us know if you are bringing a young child and we can arrange for your guests to have an aisle seat in case you need to leave.

I have/my guest has additional needs – can I/they still attend?

All are welcome at the graduation ceremonies and we do our best to accommodate all additional requirements. Please either mention your requirements when booking your tickets, or email and we can put in place arrangements to ensure your day runs smoothly.

Please make sure your guests make themselves known to the ushers on entry to the Cathedral.

I need a letter to support my VISA application

We are only entitled to provide you with proof of having booked a ticket for your graduation ceremony. We cannot provide you with an invitation letter for you or your guests for visa purposes. 

Please, email only after you have booked your tickets, and we can give you a letter confirming your invitation. You should then liaise with the relevant immigration authorities.

My friends are in a different ceremony – can I swap?

Unfortunately, the answer is no. Our ceremonies are arranged according to subjects so that your lecturers and tutors are also there to support you and your achievements. It also means that any guest speakers are tailored to your course so that you have the most enjoyment out of the day.

What happens if I cannot attend the ceremony?

If you cannot attend then you will be graduating in absentia – this means that your name will still appear in the programme (unless requested otherwise) but will not be read out during the ceremony. Please let us know at if you are not attending and we will take you off of our email list. We are unable to defer ceremonies for those graduands who cannot attend, therefore they will graduate in absentia.

I can’t attend my graduation ceremony, can I graduate next year?

We are unable to guarantee an alternative date. Most likely, if you cannot attend then you will be graduating in absentia.

Academic failure: I have received the invitation to attend, however, after the Exam Board, I have been informed that I haven’t successfully completed my degree yet and I need a refund. Is there a deadline?

Booking your place at graduation does not automatically mean that you have successfully completed your programme. All students who are due to complete their course are invited to graduation in order to allow time for arrangements to be made.

You should book your ticket irrespective of academic factors.

If you are subsequently not eligible to graduate due to academic failure, you are not entitled to attend the ceremony. However, you will be invited to the next available ceremonies following successful completion of your programme.

We recommend that you take this into consideration should you need to arrange flights and/or hotel bookings.

Please cancel your order immediately if the booking system is still open. In this case you will be entitled to a full refund for your order as long as it is requested seven working days before your ceremony.

If you miss the deadline, please email with your request.

We will also provide Ede & Ravenscroft with a list of students who have not successfully completed their courses and refunds will be issued on that basis.

I think I am eligible to graduate but I haven’t received my invitation, what should I do?

Please email as soon as possible and a member of the team will contact you.

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When will I get my certificate?

All graduands at the summer ceremonies will receive their certificates by post after the graduation by mid-September. Therefore, certificates will not be presented at the ceremonies. If you have not received your certificate by the end of September, please contact us at your permanent address has changed please amend it on your e:Vision portal: 

If you don't have access anymore to e:Vision, let us know by emailing, so that we can post the certificate to the correct address.

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Gowns and dress code

Do I have to wear a gown?

Yes, it is a requirement for our graduands to wear academic dress to the ceremony. You can book your gown with Ede and Ravenscroft.

Please ensure you book your gown by Sunday 25th June 2023.

In addition to academic dress, all graduands must wear smart formal wear for their ceremony.

We warmly encourage students to wear their traditional and/or cultural dress to graduation if they wish to. 

How much does it cost to hire a gown?

Full details of charges are available on the academic dress for graduation webpage.

What gown do I need?

This will be stated in your invitation. You will need to hire a gown and hood that matches your award e.g. Research (PhD, MRes), Postgraduate (MPhil, MA, MSc, PGCert, PGDip, PGCE), Undergraduate (BA, BSc, DipHE, CertHE, FdA, FdSc). Please go to Academic dress for graduation for full details on how to hire your academic dress and note you will need to know your head circumference, chest and height measurements to place your order. 

When/Where do I collect/return my gown?

You will collect your gown at St Vincent's Centre, Hinsley Room, 5th Floor, Carlisle Place, London SW1P 1NL (please see map). You must return your gown at the same point by 5.30pm.

Graduands attending a morning ceremony can collect gowns from 8am and graduands attending an afternoon ceremony can collect from 12pm, to enable you to have photos before the ceremony, if you wish. You will need to return your gown by 5.30pm, before you leave the venue.

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Where do I buy photos from?

Our photos are taken by Ede & Ravenscroft – If you wish to take the opportunity to have professional photographs as a memento of the day, you can book your photos alongside your ticketing purchase or purchase your photographs pack on the day.

The Award Photographer will also take a picture of you as you walk across the stage so, please stop and pose for this with the presiding officer.

Disclaimer: By attending graduation you give us permission to use any photos you appear in for St Mary's printed publications, our website, and social media.

Where do I go to have my photos taken?

You will have your photos taken in:

Use the graduation map for directions.

This will be signposted from the robing area and the Cathedral. We recommend that you arrive early to collect your gown (at 8am or 12pm depending on your ceremony time) and have your photographs taken before your ceremony to avoid the queues later on.

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Is there a post-ceremony celebration?

No post-ceremony reception/refreshments will be held this year.


We would like to offer students the opportunity to purchase an additional memento of their time at St Mary’s. The Student Union will be open selling a variety of merchandise.

You can order graduation merchandise from the St Mary's Students' Union store.

Alos, our Alumni Team will be present during graduation.

Travelling to Westminster Cathedral. Is parking available?

The Cathedral is located on Victoria Street and you will need to go to the Ticket and Namecard Desk and Gowning area at St Vincent's Centre, Hinsley Room, 5th Floor, Carlisle Place, London SW1P 1NL first (just a couple of minutes away from the Cathedral by walking).

Summer Graduation Map

Unfortunately, we cannot provide parking for Graduands and Guests at Westminster Cathedral 

By car

There is limited parking near the Cathedral, however there are meters for cars in the streets behind the Cathedral.

We recommend travelling by public transport where possible. Unfortunately, we are unable to arrange parking for guests with disabilities or blue badge holders.

Please note that the Cathedral is located within the Congestion charging Zone and the Ultra Low Emission Zone.

By Train

The nearest tube and train station for the Cathedral is Victoria.  When you arrive at Victoria Station. For directions from the station please see the map.

Please note that planned strike actions may affect your journey so please check an alternative route and extend your journey time.

Check TFL for updates.

If you are travelling from the St Mary's University Campus in Twickenham, trains depart from Strawberry Hill for Clapham Junction every half hour e.g. at 08.08am or 08.38am. Alternatively trains for Clapham Junction also go from Twickenham more frequently.

Check train times at the following link TFL

The journey from Strawberry Hill takes about an hour, but please allow for delays. 

Victoria station is also on the Circle, District and Victoria tube lines.

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Disclaimer: Our website contains links to websites owned and operated by third parties. If you use these links, you leave our Website. The University has no control over the contents of any linked website and is not responsible for these websites or their content or availability.

Please, note that the university does not provide gown hire or photography services for graduation events. While we may provide information about these services on our website or at graduation events, these services are offered by independent third-party vendors who are not affiliated with the university. We remind all graduands that any purchases made from these vendors are solely between the graduand and the vendor, and the university cannot be held responsible for any disputes or issues that may arise from these transactions between graduands and vendors.