Updated November 2022

Graduation

Congregations have resumed normal operations.

The Student Registry are now limiting Senate-House guest tickets to 2 per graduand.  Every guest entering the Senate-House requires a ticket, no matter the age of the individual.  Extra tickets may become available, however please use the Senate-House waitlist during registration to ask for any extra tickets.  We cannot guarantee that any request for extra tickets will be successful.  If you need to request tickets for an accompanying carer for a guest that needs assistance, please email Graduation.

For all the latest information about graduation please see here.

Certificates and transcripts

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.

Certificates for graduation are received at the Senate-House for those graduating in person.  Those who are graduating in absence, will have their certificates mailed after the congregation at which they have graduated and are sent from the Tutorial Office to the mailing address in CamSIS.  Please ensure that your address is up to date.

A free official transcript is provided for anyone graduating and will be mailed to the mailing address on CamSIS.  These transcripts are provided by the Student Registry and can take from a week to several weeks to arrive at our offices for distribution to the graduated students.  Please ensure that your mailing address in CamSIS is up to date.

The Student Registry will also be providing a free official online degree certificate for those who have attended a congregation at the Senate-House (in person or in absence).  If you have not received a notification from Digitary CORE regarding access to your online certificate by 10 (working) days after your congregation, please email the Student Registry for more information.

The Student Registry offers for sale both paper replacement degree certificates and official paper transcripts.  Official online transcripts are also available.  The online transcript service  subscription to Digitary  CORE allows you to share your documents on-line with other organisations such as employers or other educational institutions.  More information on official online transcripts can be found here.

Further information about degree certificates and transcripts available from the Student Registry is available here.

What is a Congregation ?

Students and alumni/ae who are eligible to receive their degrees may do so at Congregations of the Regent House held on Saturdays at regular intervals throughout the year.  The College Calendar lists the occasions in the year when members are to be presented for their degrees.  The Praelector of the College, Fr Alban McCoy (praelector@st-edmunds.cam.ac.uk), is responsible for presenting students at Congregations and vouching for their academic standing.

The Congregation ceremony is one of the oldest traditions in the University of Cambridge.  The conferment of each degree is still an act of the whole University, approved by “Grace of the Regent House”, that is, by a resolution of the governing body. Groups of four graduands are presented to the Vice-Chancellor or a Deputy by the Praelector, who extends his right-hand.  The candidates hold one of his Praelector’s fingers in his/her right hand.  Their academic attainments and personal integrity are endorsed by the Praelector.  Graduands are presented one by one to the Vice-Chancellor of the University or a Deputy, in the presence of the Proctors who are the elected representatives of the Regent House.  Kneeling before the Vice-Chancellor or the Deputy, each candidate is admitted to the appropriate degree, one by one.

The congregations at which St Edmund’s plans to present graduands in person for the academic year 2022-2023 (subject to change):

Michaelmas:

Saturday 22 October 2022

Lent:

Saturday 25 February 2023 – capped at 35

Saturday 1  April 2023  – capped at 35

Easter:

Saturday 29 April 2023  – capped at 35

Saturday 20 May 2023 – capped at 35

Saturday 1 July 2023 (General Admission for undergraduates only)

Saturday 22 July 2023 – priority given to the 2022 – 2023 postgraduates, but can accept students from previous terms

Registration dates:

Registration for a graduation ceremonies will open in your CamSIS account approximately 3 months before.

CamSIS does not send a confirmation email.

Registration for graduation at General Admission (for undergraduates only) will open on CamSiS during the Lent Term.

Registration for graduation on 22 July will open on 1st May, 2023. The maximum number of graduands we can present in person at these ceremonies is 70 and it may be that you are unable to graduate if this number has registered before you.

It is your responsibility to confirm all the necessary arrangements have been made with the College before notifying family and friends and the College cannot be held accountable for any disappointed travel or accommodation plans.

Graduands may also apply to graduate in absentia at any of the congregations throughout the year. A full list of dates can be found here

Although Congregations are held throughout the year, the Congregations at the end of the Easter term are set aside for the General Admission to Degrees at which most undergraduates proceed to their first degrees at the end of their final term.  In addition to the B.A., General Admission is restricted to candidates receiving the following degrees: MMath with BA, M.Eng (Master of Engineering) with BA, MSci (Master of Natural Science) with BA, Vet. M.B. (Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine), Mus.B (Bachelor of Music) and B.Th. (Bachelor of Theology for Ministry). Please note that the MA, LL.M. and M.C.L. degrees cannot be conferred at General Admission, neither can the M.Eng, M.Sci. or M.Math without the B.A. taken at the same time. The M.B. is also not awarded at General Admission – the earliest this can be conferred is at the ordinary congregation in July. General Admission is generally the last Saturday in June, although occasionally it intrudes into July. The Master, Catherine Arnold, may be delegated to deputise for the Vice-Chancellor in conferring degrees upon members of the College at General Admission.

The College will not put forward anyone for graduation who has not settled their College and University bills.  If you have not settled your College debt, you will be removed from the graduating list and will not receive your degree.

Celebrants

If you were awarded your degree in absence during the pandemic (March 2020 – April 2022) and decide to have it celebrated this academic year, you will join a graduation ceremony in the Senate-House as normal. You will not be awarded your degree again, as it has been awarded in absence already, but you and your guests will be able to experience a graduation day as close to normal as is possible at this time.

To celebrate your in-absence degree on any of the following dates, please complete the relevant google form below.  Please note that the Student Registry has been limiting the number of celebrants at a congregation and that the Google form will close when we have reached our limit.

Those deemed eligible to graduate

Any member of St Edmund’s College who has fulfilled the appropriate examination and residence requirements may proceed to their degree at Congregation.  Candidates for Diploma Courses do not graduate, although they receive their certificates.

The College will automatically  contact those students (undergraduates) whom it expects to present for their “first” degrees at General Admission early in the Easter Term. All other students are expected to arrange graduation independently and it is the student’s responsibility to make sure they have submitted everything required in order to graduate and that their Degree Committee has approved their degree; this is especially important for PhD students who will need to check when their Degree Committee is meeting and if any corrections they are required to make to their thesis post viva will be done in time; both the hard-bound and electronic copies of your thesis must be submitted at least 10 days before the degree ceremony you wish to attend*.

The Student Registry will inform PhD students when they have been approved for their degrees and asks them to contact the College to make the necessary arrangements to have their degrees conferred at Congregation. Graduands should sign themselves up to a graduation ceremony of their choice via CamSiS .

The College will not put forward anyone for graduation who has not settled their College and University bills.  If you have not settled your College debt, you will be removed from the graduating list and will not receive your degree.

*See here for more information regarding the final submission of the thesis: https://www.cambridgestudents.cam.ac.uk/your-course/examinations/graduate-exam-information/after-examination/degree-approval-and-1

Registering for a Congregation

If you wish to put your name forward to receive your degree at General Admission or an Ordinary Congregation, you will need to do so via CAMSIS either via Self Service or if your account has expired, Extended Self-Service.

It is your responsibility to make all the necessary arrangements with the College before notifying family and friends.  The timetable for each Congregation is prepared by the Student Registry and is usually sent to Colleges 2 weeks before the event.   The Graduation Team will then circulate a timetable for the day, a list of graduands and the order in which they are presented for their degrees.  The Platoon order will provide a degree conferral order and will be used as the marching order to the Senate-House.

Information about the dress code for under the gown can be found here.

Sessions during Ordinary Congregations can have a maximum of 75 graduands from each College receiving their degrees in person. If the number of graduands applying to receive their degree in person has reached 75, any graduands who apply to have their degrees conferred in person at that particular ceremony thereafter will be contacted to say that they may either choose to have their degree conferred in absence or apply to receive their degree at another ceremony.

Guests

It is your responsibility to make all the necessary arrangements with the College before notifying family and friends or make travel plans. 

Each graduand, including MA graduands, is allowed a maximum of two guest tickets for the ceremony in the Senate-House as per the instructions from the University Marshal.  Ticket reservations are made when signing up for the graduation via CamSiS.   Graduands and their guests are invited to join the Master and the Praelector for lunch or afternoon tea before the Congregation, depending on the timetable for the day.  There is no charge to the graduands, who may also bring up to two guests at their own expense. The charge for the meal will vary  according to the timetable and payment should be made by the Friday before the Congregation.

Details of the charges for guests will be supplied by the  Graduation Team in the weeks preceding the ceremony.

Admission to the Senate-House is by ticket only.  All guests will require a ticket and this includes children and babies.  You can make a request for up to 2 extra Senate-House tickets on your CamSIS application.  Extra Senate-House tickets may become available, but we cannot guarantee that any request for extra tickets will be successful due to the limits placed on us by the Student Registry.

Access at the Senate-House is provided for wheel chairs and prams.  If extra time or space is needed for seating, please contact the Graduation Team to let them know.

First-aid will be provided by St John’s Ambulance.

All guests are required to enter the Senate-House before the formal beginning of the Congregation.  Late comers will be denied entry.

Graduation day

Graduands and their guests will be invited to meet in the Garden Room.   A buffet lunch will be served on the day of General Admission and the July Congregation, when many postgraduates proceed to their degrees.  On all other occasions a formal lunch or afternoon tea will be served in the dining hall. The Master and Praelector will both welcome the graduands and explain the ceremony.

Graduands are required to attend a rehearsal in the College chapel directly after lunch or afternoon tea.   Graduands should arrive fully robed.    The Praelector will explain the ceremonies to graduands and lead them through a rehearsal.  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. After the rehearsal the Praelector leads the graduands to the Senate-House for the ceremony.

The ceremony

Congregations are held in the Senate-House which was built between 1722 and 1730 to designs by James Gibbs.   Originally Congregations were held in the University Church of Great St Mary’s opposite the Senate-House, and later in the Old Schools in what is now called the University Combination Room.  The Old Schools, immediately to the west of the Senate-House, are the original buildings of the University, incorporating much of the fourteenth century ‘schools’ of the University, built on a site given to the University in 1278.

Smoking, photography, video and tape-recording are not permitted in the Senate-House.  Mobile telephone and pagers should be muted and not used.    There will be an official announcement to this effect at the commencement of each session.

The University of Cambridge was established by 1209. The ceremony of graduation is among its oldest traditions.  Many aspects of ceremony reflect the University’s foundation.   With the exception of some brief announcements at the beginning of each session, the ceremony is conducted in Latin.   Pages two and three of the official programme for each Congregation provide an explanation and translation of the formula for the presentation for degrees. Graduands are presented College by College in order of the date of the foundation.

Dress at Congregation

It is essential that all graduands wear the correct academical dress when they are presented for their degrees at Congregation. Graduation is a formal occasion and an appropriate standard of dress is expected. The dress code below is strictly enforced at ceremonies, and if you do not observe it, you will be excluded from the ceremony by the proctors. Officials inside the Senate-House will carefully inspect the dress of each candidate. If you are in doubt, please seek the advice of the Graduation Team in the days before the ceremony. The full rules regarding dress for congregations are set out in the University’s Statutes and Ordinances.

Please note that you can be prevented from graduating if you do not adhere to the dress code.

The following rules apply:

Option 1

A black or very dark grey or very dark blue suit. The suit must be dark enough not to contrast obviously with a black gown.

A plain, long-sleeved white shirt.

Formal black shoes. Sandals are not permitted,

Black socks.

White bow-tie and bands.  They may be worn only with a properly collared white shirt.

Option 2

A black, very dark grey or very dark blue suit, or a dark skirt without a jacket or a long-sleeved dress.

A plain, long-sleeved, white shirt or blouse.

Formal black shoes with no buckles. Open toed shoes and sling-backs are not permitted. Sandals should not be worn.

The heels of the shoes should be below two inches. Please be aware that you will be standing for some time before walking from St Edmund’s to the Senate-House where you will be standing waiting for your turn, so think carefully on your choice of heel.

Unpatterned black, nearly-black, or natural coloured hosiery.  No bare legs.

Conspicuous jewellery and hair-grips are not permitted.

Bands are optional for women. They may be worn only with a properly collared white shirt.

All Graduands must:

  • Be formal and tidy
  • Hairstyles should be neat

  • Dress should be black

All Graduands are asked to refrain from:

  • Carrying handbags into the Senate-House
  • Chewing gum in the Senate-House
  • Clapping in the Senate-House
  • Taking pictures in the Senate-House

ACADEMIC DRESS

Degree
Description

Doctor of Divinity

scarlet cloth lined with dove-coloured silk, that is

silk of turquoise-blue shot with rose-pink

Doctor of Law

scarlet cloth lined with light-cherry silk

Doctor of Medicine

scarlet cloth lined with mid-cherry silk

Doctor of Science

scarlet cloth lined with pink silk shot with light blue

Doctor of Letters

scarlet cloth lined with scarlet silk to match

Doctor of Music

cream damask, lined with dark-cherry

Bachelor of Divinity

black corded silk lined with black silk black

Doctor of Veterinary Medicine

black corded silk lined with mid-cherry silk, the

hood part-lined with cloth

Doctor of Engineering

black corded silk lined with bronze silk, the hood

part-lined with scarlet cloth

Doctor of Education

black corded silk lined with light blue silk, the hood

part-lined with scarlet

Master of Surgery

black corded silk lined with mid-cherry silk

Master of Arts

black corded silk lined with white silk

Master of Law

black corded silk lined with light-cherry silk

Master of Corporate Law

black corded silk lined with light-cherry silk, the

hood part lined with white

Master of Science

black cloth lined with pink silk shot with light blue

Master of Letters

black cloth lined with scarlet silk

Master of Research

black cloth lined with dark plum red

Master of Philosophy

black cloth lined with blue silk

Master of Music

black corded silk lined with dark-cherry satin

Master of Mathematics

black cloth lined with slate blue

Master of Advanced Study

black cloth lined with gold silk

Master of Engineering

black cloth lined with bronze silk

Master of Business Administration

black cloth lined with dark green silk

Master of Finance

black cloth lined with light green silk

Master of Education

black corded silk lined with light blue silk

Master of Natural Sciences

black corded silk lined with pink silk shot with light blue

Master of Studies

black corded silk lined with yellow silk

Bachelor of Medicine

mid-cherry silk, the hood part-lined with white fur and the tippet edged with white fur

Bachelor of Veterinary

the M.B. hood but with an edging of white fur, two inches

wide, to the tippet

Bachelor of Surgery

the M.B. hood but with no fur edging to the tippet

Bachelor of Arts

black stuff, part-lined with white fur, the tippet edged

with white fur; or, until further order, of black stuff,

part-lined with white, the tippet edged with white

Bachelor of Theology for Ministry

black stuff, lined with black silk, the tippet edged

with white fur

In case of a query please contact the Graduation Team (e-mail: graduation@st-edmunds.cam.ac.uk).

Candidates taking their first Cambridge degree wear appropriate hood of the degree to be taken.  Hoods clearly indicate the degrees sought by graduands.

National dress

The agreement of the Proctors and Praelector must be obtained before a graduand may wear national dress, service-uniform or clerical dress instead of dark clothes. Male candidates wearing national dress and service uniforms do not wear the bow tie instead of bands.

Graduands wishing to wear national dress should contact the Graduation Team at least three weeks in advance of the ceremony they are due to have their degree awarded to obtain permission.

Swords and side-arms are not worn inside the Senate-House.

Headdress

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

If  you are planning to wear national costume or a uniform with academical dress, you should wear the headdress appropriate to the costume or uniform. You should not wear headdresses inside the House unless it must be retained for religious or medical reasons.

II. M.Phil, LLM, MBA, MSc, etc.

A graduate of the University of Cambridge being admitted to a degree wears the gown and hood of the highest degree that he or she has received from the University.

Graduates of other universities should wear the gown of their awarded status (determined by age), and the hood of the master’s degree which they are going to receive.

Hiring or purchasing gowns

Hiring academical dress: graduands may hire or purchase academical dress from one of the following suppliers:

Ede & Ravenscroft,
71-72 Trumpington Street,
Cambridge, CB2 1RJ,
Hire Order: (01223) 861854
Purchase Enquiries: (01223) 350048
Ryder and Amies,
22 King’s Parade,
Cambridge, CB2 1SP,
A & E Clothier,

Additional information

Taking two degrees: note that some graduands may receive two degrees in a single ceremony. In such cases the graduand is presented for the higher degree first, wearing the gown and hood appropriate to that degree. They then fall back and join the degree group waiting to be presented for that second degree .

Official Photograph:  Tempest Photography is the University Official Photographer for congregations and an official photograph will be taken of each graduand having their degree conferred by the Vice-Chancellor or one of the designated Deputies in the Senate-House and copies may be ordered from Tempest at their marquee in the Senate-House Yard.

Degree Certificates: degree certificates are issued without further charge and are handed to graduates as they leave the Senate-House.   Further copies can be ordered directly from the Student Registry here.

Graduation in absentia: graduands who are unable to proceed to their degrees in person may graduate in their absence.  A copy of the degree certificate will be posted by the College once it has been received from the Student Registry after the congregation.

Kneeling to receive your degree:  a graduand can make the choice to kneel or not kneel to receive their degrees while approaching the Vice-Chancellor (or the designated Deputy) to receive their degree.

The Trinitarian formula: the traditional formula for the admission of candidates is in the name of the Trinity.  Candidates whose religious beliefs do not permit them to admitted in this form can make this choice on their CamSIS graduation application.