Graduation and Congregations

Graduation - Important Information

IMPORTANT: Please read the information below first if you would like to receive your degree at a congregation.

2023 Congregations - Dates are also listed at the bottom of the page, however some may still subject to change and some cohorts/degrees may not be eligible to attend certain dates, so please do not make any travel plans before receiving confirmation from us after the deadline passes. Once registrations are open when the date is confirmed information will be posted here.

Further dates and deadlines will be published here once known.

If you have any questions please contact the Praelector's Secretary. Once the registration deadline passes, the Praelector's Secretary will be in touch to confirm registration.

Please see this page with regards to University industrial action and how this affects graduation:

Next Congregation Dates:

Friday 20 October 2023 - This is now open to registrations via CamSIS, with a deadline of 1 October 2023 to register. 

Saturday 25 November 2023 - This will be open to registrations via CamSIS at the beginning of September, with a deadline of 5 November 2023 to register. 

Caps on Graduation Numbers

We aim to accommodate as many graduands and their guests as possible during each Congregation, but there are practical limitations. Degree Congregations take place in our historic Senate-House, where members of the University have graduated since the Eighteenth Century, but although we hold repeated ceremonies across each day, each one can only hold so many people and, to provide the best experience, ceremonies should take place during daylight. Please confirm with your College that you have a place booked at a ceremony before making any other arrangements. If there is no space at a particular ceremony, there will be later occasions and Degree Congregations take place across the year.  

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.

Further copies may be ordered once this service is available again. A service that allows you to access your official transcript electronically remains in place. This subscription service to Digitary allows you to share documents on-line with other organisations such as employers or other educational institutions. Degree certificates are now available digitally via your CamSIS Self-Service or Digitary. Further information is available here

Jet Photographic offers St John’s College specific certificate frames. These are available direct from the photographer at You may wish to purchase these now ahead of receiving your certificate in upcoming weeks.

Graduation and Congregations

What is a Congregation?

The Congregation ceremony is one of the oldest traditions in the University. 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. 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. Although Congregations are held throughout the year, the June Congregations are set aside for what is called “General Admission” to Degrees, at which most undergraduates proceed to their first Degrees at the end of their final term.

Students or alumni 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 Praelector is responsible for presenting students at Congregations when they receive their degrees.

You cannot use your degree title until you have been conferred to your degree at a congregation, so it is the student's responsibility to make sure they register for a congregation, either in person or in absentia.

Information about what happens on the day will appear here when congregations resume in person.
For FAQ's regarding things such as tickets, guests, photography at the Senate House, please visit the University's main page.
Congregation Dates and Deadlines 2022-2023

Please scroll to the bottom of the page to find the dates and deadlines for congregations - these may be subject to change due to the pandemic and the most recent congregation information will appear at the top of the page.


BChir Information

Those admitted to the BChir in June 2023 have one year in order to take their MB at a congregation. Please note that the May 2024 ceremony is the last occasion at which the MB can be conferred in person. If the MB is not conferred by then it will be automatically conferred in June 2024.

MA Information

*Those wishing to take the MA in 2024 are particularly encouraged where possible to do so at the May congregation; candidates will not normally be presented for other degrees on this occasion. You are advised not to make travel arrangements for this, or any ceremony, until you have received confirmation of your place after the deadline has passed for others to apply.

How to Register

Please read all the following information carefully to avoid missing anything important!

For those receiving degrees for the first time: Please register via your CamSIS Self-Service.

If you wish to put your name forward to receive your degree at any Congregation (other than General Admission) as a celebrant who has already received their degree in absence during the pandemic, please check the top of the page to see what dates you will be eligible to attend. You will need to read the Congregations Information which includes academic dress information, and then register for the congregation by emailing with the following information:


First Name: 

Pronunciation of Name for the Senate House speakers (if applicable):

Degree (conferral/celebration?): 

Date of Congregation applying for: 

Do you need to opt out of the non-religious formula/request an in nominei Dei version?:

Number of guests in the Senate House (max. 2): 

Attending lunch?:

Number of guests to lunch (max. 2): Any dietary requirements?: 

To help keep your contact details up-to-date, please also access your Extended Self-Service account on CamSIS. You can register and access ESS here

It is vital that you update your contact details. You will need to update the following information:

E-Mail Address: You will most likely be contacted at some point before the ceremony (make sure your preferred one is marked as such)
Phone Number: In case of emergency (make sure your preferred one is marked as such)
Address: Please update your mailing address, which we will send correspondence to at any point up until the time of the ceremony, and certificates if being conferred in absence.
Name: Please check the spelling of your name carefully, as this will appear on your degree certificate. If it is incorrect please change this and notify the Praelectors Secretary.

You will then receive the confirmation email after the deadline has passed for the congregation you are registering for (usually three weeks before the ceremony). If you do not receive such a letter by two weeks prior to the Congregation, please contact the Praelectors Secretary.

Academical Dress

The Praelector is obligated to emphasize to Graduands the rules for dress for those taking degrees In Person.

Dress Option One


black/very dark grey/very dark blue (not brown) lounge suit or dinner jacket without adornments. These must be dark enough not to contrast obviously with a black gown.


plain, collared and white (long sleeves)


wing collars may be worn, but are not required


white bow tie with matching white 'bands' must be worn


unpatterned black/very dark grey


formal, black (not boots, not sandals or trainers)

Dress Option Two

Suit or Skirt

black/very dark grey/very dark blue trouser or skirt suit, or a dark skirt without a jacket, or a dark long-sleeved dress. These must be dark enough not to contrast obviously with a black gown.


plain, white (long sleeves unless a long-sleeved dress is worn)


unpatterned black/nearly black or natural coloured


formal, black (not boots, not sandals or trainers)


white bow-tie and matching bands may be worn (optional) but only with a properly collared white shirt.

A black cassock may be substituted for a dark suit, skirt or dress in either Dress One or Two, but it must be worn with either a white bow-tie and bands or a clerical collar and bands.

The rules also exclude conspicuous jewellery and hair-grips.  Exaggerated hair styles or colouring are inappropriate.  Handbags should not be carried.

Please note that the national dress rules have been tightened up considerably. Now, national dress, uniforms etc. are generally allowed only if the national dress is black, white and grey, and if the national dress is what the graduand would usually wear at other formal University occasions. Exceptions are made if there are religious requirements. Please note that for sleeves, long ones (that come down further than the gown sleeve) are preferred. If you wish to wear national dress it is essential that you contact the Student Services Officer at least 3 weeks before the Congregation, as permission will need to be sought from the Proctor.


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

Gown and hood
  • Graduands already holding a Cambridge Degree:  Gown and hood of the highest Cambridge Degree the Graduand already holds.
  • Graduands not already holding a Cambridge Degree:  Graduate Students in this category wear a BA Status gown or (if granted MA Status) an MA Status gown - if you are 24 years or over you will need to wear an MA status gown if you do not hold a Cambridge degree. Undergraduates proceeding to the BA degree wear an undergraduate gown. All Graduands not already holding a Cambridge degree wear the hood of the degree to which they are about to proceed.


For those conferred to two degrees at once (such as the BA & MMath) and are then going to be conferred to an MA for example, you would need to wear the gown and hood of the highest degree you hold (so in this case the MMath gown and hood).

  • For incorporations and MA under Statute B III 6 (you will be aware if this applies to you): Gown and hood of the degree to which the Graduand is about to proceed.


For more information about academical dress please visit this page:

'Bands', Gown and Hood can, of course, be hired locally.  The following tailors may be able to hire academical dress to graduands:

  • Ede & Ravenscroft, 71-72 Trumpington Street
  • Ryder & Amies, 22 King’s Parade

Contact details for the above listed companies can be found on the University website: 

You may also wish to look at, which focuses on creating sustainable gowns.

It is strongly advised that you wear a shirt/blouse that has a button that does up quite high on the neck, as this is where you will attach your hood. Please also bring a couple of safety pins if you can in order to keep your hood pinned at the collarbone close to your neck.

What should you bring?
In addition to a face-covering, graduands should bring with them a means of payment, if they wish to buy photographs at the Senate House. Preferred payment methods (for reasons of hygiene) are card or phone payments; cash is also accepted. Ideally, students should not bring bags, as they will have to be left on the Senate House lawn for collection after the ceremony. If the weather is wet, umbrellas can be left on the lawn for collection after the ceremony. Mobile telephones must be switched off inside the Senate House.


The University’s practices for graduation is part of an ancient and unique tradition, strictly enforced by its officers. If after reading the website you have any further questions, please contact the Praelector's Secretary who will advise you further about the day.

General Admission

The next date for General Admission is Wednesday 26 June 2024 (for the 2023/24 cohort only). Finalists will be sent invites at the start of the Easter Term 2024.

Only the following degrees are awarded at General Admission:

  • Master of Engineering: M.Eng.
  • Master of Natural Science: M.Sci.
  • Master of Mathematics: M.Math. (not including MAST)
  • Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine: Vet.M.B.
  • Bachelor of Arts: BA
  • Bachelor of Theology for the Ministry: B.Th.


The main Graduation page gives general information about Congregations and matters relating to the presentation of graduands for their degrees, including information about Academical Dress.

What to wear

If you have your own gown (from Matriculation) you can wear this at General Admission. We would, however, recommend that you have it dry cleaned. The alternative is to hire a gown for the day, as well as the appropriate hood for the degree that you will be receiving. Please check the Academical Dress page for more information. Please note that it is important that you order your gowns and hoods well in advance.


All graduands may normally remain in College until 10:00 on the Thursday after General Admission. A limited amount of bed and breakfast accommodation is available for parents in College rooms the night prior and/or the night of General Admissions. Rooms are allocated on a first come first served basis, limited to two guests per student. Graduands have been emailed this link with their invites.

Timetable of events

The timetable below is only provisional at this stage but is unlikely to change significantly. We can normally only guarantee to allocate two guest tickets per graduand for friends and family to attend the Congregation at the Senate House as we are only allocated a limited number of Senate House tickets. Graduands will be invited, along with two guests, to attend a buffet lunch in First Court from 13:30.

Beginning of Easter Term

Information Sheets sent to Graduands

First week of Easter Term

Online Applications Completed

By 1 May

Early June

Ticket Collection – Senate House and Lunch tickets from Student Services (F2a Chapel Court)

5 - 9 June (08:30-17:00 weekdays) TBC

Tuesday (the night before General Admission)

Tutor’s Reception: for Graduands and their guests - locations tbc

Usually early evening

Wednesday (General Admission)

Graduation Photograph: Paddock outside New Court

(copies available to purchase in College - Old Music Room)

09:30 prompt – graduands should be dressed for the ceremony

Graduation Day Service – College Chapel


Procession assembles – Second Court


Congregation at the Senate House

Guests for the First Session should arrive

Guests for the Second Session should arrive




General Admission Lunch in First Court

The Combination Room will be open after lunch and items of College silver will be on exhibition.

The Upper Library will be open for viewing with a display of treasures from the collections. Please note: entry is via E Staircase Second Court.


from 14:15 - 15:15


from 14:15 - 15:15

Photographs: Viewing and purchase of graduation group photo – Old Music Room

Photographers will be in College (usually New Court) to take individual and family portraits

13:30 - 16:00


Vacate Rooms: Graduands must vacate their rooms

By 10:00

MA Degree Ceremony

A Bachelor of Arts may be admitted to Master of Arts not less than six years from the end of his or her first term of residence, provided that a supplicat for the latter degree may only be entered after the former degree has been conferred.

This removes the previous requirement for the B.A. Degree to be held for two years before the M.A. can be conferred.

Someone who qualified for the BA but has never had it conferred cannot be entered for the MA, even if the necessary time has passed since the end of their first term of residence, unless and until the BA has been conferred on them.



    Graduation FAQs

    Many people have questions about graduation and congregation arrangements.

    You can find some of the most common questions and answers here.

    You are also welcome to email the Praelector's Secretary at any time if you have a question that you need answering. 

    Dates and deadlines

    20/10/2023 : 10:00
    Deadline to register for the Friday 20 October 2023 Congregation (this may close earlier if capacity is reached)
    25/11/2023 : 10:00
    Deadline to register for the Saturday 25 November 2023 Congregation (this may close earlier if capacity is reached)
    26/01/2024 : 14:00
    Deadline to register for the Friday 26 January 2024 Congregation in absence
    24/02/2024 : 10:00
    Deadline to register for the Saturday 24 February 2024 Congregation (this may close earlier if capacity is reached)
    23/03/2024 : 10:00
    Deadline to register for the Saturday 23 March 2024 Congregation (this may close earlier if capacity is reached)
    View more events and deadlines