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Graduation: How the day works

On arrival

You are advised to arrive at St Mary's at least one hour prior to the start of your ceremony. On arrival graduands must report to the ticket and namecard collection desk. At this desk, you will be asked to show your e-tickets either in your email or a printed copy if you prefer, in order to register and to collect your namecard and guest tickets.

Your namecard will include your seat number and name with phonetic spelling, if you have provided this when booking or to You will need to hand this to the presenter on the platform when your award is being conferred to ensure that your name is called. Therefore, please do not lose the namecard.

The Chapel will open approximately 30 – 40 minutes before your ceremony. Graduands are requested to be robed in their academic gown and in their seats at least 15 minutes before the commencement of their ceremony. The ceremony will last for no longer than twp hours.

Getting there

The Chapel is based in the heart of the campus. Please note that there are no parking facilities on campus, and we recommend that you use public transport. Find out more about getting to campus.

View and download map (PDF)

Academic dress

It is compulsory for graduands to wear academic dress. Graduands should wear their gowns and hoods throughout the ceremony. Mortarboards should only be worn when processing out of the Chapel.

In addition to academic dress, graduands are asked to conform to the following dress code: smart formal wear.

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


Ede and Ravenscroft will be based in the Shannon Suite, where you will be robed. If you have been unable to order a gown, there will be a limited number of gowns to hire on the day.

The robing area will be open from 8am on both graduation days. Please ensure you arrive in plenty of time to collect your gown to ensure that you are seated no later than 15 minutes prior to the start of your ceremony.


Graduands are seated separately from their guests and your seat number will be given on your namecard. graduands will not be admitted into the Chapel unless you have registered at the ticket desk and collected your namecard. You are asked to be seated at least fifteen minutes prior to the start of the ceremony.

Graduands will enter the Chapel via the main entrance on the Piazza. Graduand seating will be to the rear of the Chapel, facing the platform.  Please follow the signs to your row and seat number e.g. A1, A2, B1, B2.  Ushers will be present to help you find your seat and answer any queries.  Guest seating will be at the front of the Chapel, facing the platform.


The presentation will be in alphabetical order within each degree.  An usher will signal to graduands when to move from their seats and regulate the flow of the procession. Graduands must bring their namecard with them, which will be passed to the presenter. Each graduand will mount the steps and pass the namecard to the presenter.

When their name is announced, graduands should walk up the steps to the platform.  They should stop for an award photograph with the University Vice- Chancellor, then leave the platform at the other end and return to their seat by walking up the right-hand side of the Chapel, facing the main entrance to the Chapel. Graduands are asked to return to their seats quietly, as directed by the Ushers.

End of the ceremony

At the end of the ceremony, graduands are invited to put on their mortarboards and will be led to file out behind the procession of academic staff.

Please note that a post-ceremony celebration will be held at the Dolce Vita lounge.  We wish you a wonderful ongoing celebration of your success at St Mary’s University. 


The University wishes to remind students and guests that no photography or filming is allowed during the service lead by the Clergy, at the beginning of the ceremony. If you wish to take photographs or videos inside the Chapel during the ceremony, please do this very discreetly and not block the view for anyone in the congregation.

Ede & Ravenscroft will be in the Shannon Suite to take individual photographs before and after the ceremony. There will be four or five studios available and these will operate on a first come, first served basis.

If you intend to have your photograph taken before the ceremony, please ensure that you allow sufficient time to ensure you are still seated 15 minutes before the start time of the ceremony.

First Aid

Staff with first aid training will be on duty. Should you need any attention please contact one of our Stewards or a member of Security.

Information and queries on the day

There will be stewards around the Chapel, Refectory, Dolce Vita Lounge, and Piazza who will be happy to help with any enquiries you may have on the day.

Further information

If you require any further information relating to the degree ceremony, please contact: The Graduation Team by email at

You can also download our "On the day" notes.

Please, note that due to the high volume of queries, the Graduation Team will not be able to answer to those enquiries already included in our FAQs.

We hope that you will enjoy the event and we look forward to seeing you there.