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Graduation FAQs

We are delighted to announce that Summer 2024 Graduation ceremonies will take place at our beautiful St Mary's University campus, Twickenham. 

Our ceremonies will be held across two days. Your ceremony date and time is specified on your invitation.

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 namecard, your gown, have your photo taken and be seated before the ceremony begins. You should be seated at least 30 minutes before the ceremony start time.

The ticket registration desk will be open from 7.30am.

How long are the ceremonies?

The ceremonies last between 1 and 2 hours, depending on the number of graduands. Timings depend on the number of graduands in each ceremony.

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

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 £25 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 St Vincent's Centre and at the entrance of 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 St Vincent's Centre 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.

St Vincent's Centre will be open from 8am.

How many guest tickets can I get?

Each graduand can book their own ticket for free, plus two guest tickets, at £25 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, or 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 our Graduation team 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 our Graduation team 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 defer ceremonies for those graduands who cannot attend or guarantee an alternative date. Most likely, if you cannot attend then you will be graduating in absentia.

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

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

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When will I get my certificate?

All Summer 2024 Graduates will receive their certificates by post by the end of Autumn 2024. Therefore, certificates will not be presented at the ceremonies in July. If you have not received your certificate by Autumn 2024, please contact our Graduation team.

Certificates will be sent via Royal Mail to your permanent (home) address. If your home address has changed, please amend it on e:Vision.

If you have no access to e:Vision, please let us know by emailing our Graduation team, so that we can change your home address on your behalf and post the certificate to the correct location.

We accept no responsibility for the certificates sent to a wrong permanent address. If you have not updated it you will be asked to pay for a replacement certificate.

International students: if your permanent home address is overseas and you prefer instead to receive your certificate to your current correspondence address, please amend it on your e:Vision

Please note that the name on your certificate will be the name that you registered with when you joined St Mary’s. If you want to check which name will be on your certificate or if you have any other queries, please email our Graduation team

In order to receive your certificate you will need to ensure that you have settled any outstanding debts to the University, such as tuition, accommodation and library fees.

If you are not sure whether you have outstanding debts please check with the following departments:

  • for tuition and accommodation debts: please contact our Fees Office on 020 8240 4035 or via email
  • for library debts and outstanding loans: please contact our Library Information Desk on 020 8240 4097 or via email.

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

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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.

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 the St Vincent's Centre). You must return your gown at the same point by 6pm.

Graduands attending a morning ceremony can collect gowns from 7.30am 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 7pm.

Where do I buy photos from?

Our photos are taken by our external provider – 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?

Photography location to be confrimed by E&R at St Vincent’s Centre.

This will be signposted from the robing area and the Cathedral. We recommend that you arrive early to collect your gown (at 7.30am or 12pm depending on your ceremony time) and have your photographs taken before your ceremony to avoid the queues later on.


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.

Also, our Alumni Team will be present during graduation.

Travelling to Westminster Cathedral: is parking available?

Parking is not available, we recommend all graduands and guests to look at alternative routes by train, tube, and bus.

Westminster Cathedral's closest tube stop is Victoria. From the tube stop you can follow signs for the cathedral and you will reach it in about five to ten minutes.

Where possible, please leave all of your belongings with your guests. We will not have a cloakroom available. Please refrain from bringing any large items (such as suitcases or large bags) as we are not able to put these anywhere safe whilst your ceremony is in progress.

Either at the Cathedral reception or Ticket Desk in St Vincent's Centre.

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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.