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Graduation FAQs

We are delighted to announce that Spring 2023 Graduation ceremonies will take place on our own beautiful St Mary’s campus, Twickenham. 

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

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 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 and their guests at the tickets and namecards desk, prior to entering the gowning area.

When booking, you will not be given the option to request additional tickets, unfortunately. We are unable to provide extra tickets for this event due to limited capacity. Should extra tickets become available, the Graduation Team will inform all the graduands via email, and they will be sold on a first come, first served basis

When will I receive my tickets?

E-tickets will be sent to the email address that you provide, and you will be required to display this at the tickets and namecards desk at our Refectory on the day of your ceremony.  On presenting your e-tickets, you will collect your namecard and any guest tickets you have booked.

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

The ticket registration desk will be open from 8.00am.

How many guest tickets can I get?

Each graduand can book two guest tickets initially, at £20 each. Your guest tickets will need to be collected from the ticket and namecard desk at the Refectory.

When can I buy extra/additional tickets?

When booking, you will not be given the option to request extra or additional tickets, unfortunately. However, you will be asked if you wish to book extra tickets, should these become available.

If these become available, you will be notified of this via email.    

Please note that extra or additional are not guaranteed and they cannot be reserved or pre-booked. If made available, they will be sold on a first come, first served basis.

Can I bring my young child to the ceremony?

Yes. Children are welcome; however, they will need their own ticket if they are over two years old. Those under two 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 Chapel.

Please also bear in mind that the ceremonies are long (1.5 – 2 hours) 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 ceremonies and we do our best to accommodate all additional requirements. Please either mention your requirements when booking your tickets, or email graduation@stmarys.ac.uk and we can put in place arrangements to ensure your day runs smoothly.

Please note that we will only reserve two seats when you inform us of additional requirements due to limited seating. As such, if you have more than two guests the rest of your party will be seated elsewhere.

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

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 ceremony. We cannot provide you with an invitation letter for you or your guests for visa purposes. 

Please, email graduation@stmarys.ac.uk 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 graduation@stmarys.ac.uk if you are not attending and we will take you off of our email list.

I can’t attend my graduation ceremony, can I defer it?

It is usually not possible to attend a different graduation ceremony other than the one you have been allocated.

Please email graduation@stmarys.ac.uk to provide us with more details as to why you are unable to attend before the ticket booking deadline and we will take your request under consideration.

Please note: we are unable to guarantee an alternative date.

I haven’t completed my degree and need a refund. Is there a deadline?

You are entitled to a full refund for your order as long as it is requested seven days before your ceremony. Please email graduation@stmarys.ac.uk with your request. Please note that we will provide the supplier with a list of students who have not successfuly completed after the Exam Board 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 graduation@stmarys.ac.uk as soon as possible and a member of the team will contact you.

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Certificates

When will I get my certificate?

All graduands at the spring ceremonies will recieve their certificates by post prior to graduation by mid-March. Therefore, certificates will not be presented at the ceremonies. If you have not received your certificate before graduation, please contact us at graduation@stmarys.ac.uk.  If your permanent address has changed please let us know by emailing graduation@stmarys.ac.uk, 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 5th March 2023.

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

How much does it cost to hire a gown?

Charges vary depending on whether you purchase your gown online, via the call centre, or leave it until the day of your ceremony. 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. St Mary’s PhD, Masters, St Mary’s PGCE, St Mary’s BA or BSc, St Mary’s FDEG. 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. 

Please note that BA and BSc gowns are the same. Your hood will therefore either be an Undergraduate Certificate/Diploma, Foundation Degree, Bachelors Degree, Postgraduate Certificate/Diploma, Masters or Doctoral.

When/Where do I return my gown?

You will collect your gown at the Shannon Suite, by the Refectory. You must return your gown at the same point.

Graduands attending a morning ceremony can collect gowns from 8am and graduands attending an afternoon ceremony can collect from 11am, to enable you to have photos before the ceremony, if you wish. You will need to return your gown by 7pm, before you leave the main campus.

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Photography

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 Vice-Chancellor.

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:

  • Drama studio
  • F Rooms: F4, F5 & F6
  • G Rooms: G1, G2 & G3.

Use the graduation map for directions.

This will be signposted from the Main Reception and the Piazza. We recommend that you arrive early to collect your gown (at 8am or 11am depending on your ceremony time) and have your photographs taken before your ceremony to avoid the queues later on.

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On the day

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

Day 1

  • Ceremony One: Friday 24th March 2023, time 9 am
  • Ceremony Two: Friday 24th March 2023, time 11 am
  • Ceremony Three: Friday 24th March 2023, time 1 pm
  • Ceremony Four: Friday 24th March 2023, time 3 pm

Day 2

  • Ceremony Five: Saturday 25th March 2023, time 9 am
  • Ceremony Six: Saturday 25th March 2023, time 11 am
  • Ceremony Seven: Saturday 25th March 2023, time 1 pm
  • Ceremony Eight: Saturday 25th March 2023, time 3 pm
  • Ceremony Nine: Saturday 25th March 2023, time 5 pm

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 150 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 Chapel. Any graduands or guests that leave the Chapel will not be allowed re-entry, and leaving during the ceremony is highly discouraged.

Is there a post-ceremony celebration?

After your ceremony you are invited to celebrate with your lecturers, friends and family in attendance in the Dolce Vita Lounge, where light refreshments will be available. The cost of refreshments is included in your e-ticket for the event.

Merchandise

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.

Our Alumni Team will be present during graduation.

Travelling to St Mary’s University Campus. Is parking available?

St Mary’s is located on Waldegrave Road. The postcode for our main campus is TW1 4SX.

Unfortunately, parking is not available on the campus premises and we recommend using public transport.  Find out more about the nearest local car parks.

If you or your guests have additional requirements, please email graduation@stmarys.ac.uk.

If you or your guests are a blue badge holder, please indicate it when booking your tickets or contact graduation@stmarys.ac.uk and we will endeavour to make parking available for you in the main car park by Main Reception.

We strongly recommend that, where possible, you use public transport for your journey to the ceremony. The University is easily reached by South Western trains alighting at Strawberry Hill station, a five minute walk from campus.

There are usually four trains an hour to/from Waterloo.

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