Graduation and Congregations
Graduation - COVID-19
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Congregations to confer degrees in person will not take place until further notice, but Congregations will continue for those who wish to take their degree in absence.
If you would like to take your degree in absence on 30 January 2021 please log in to your CamSIS Self-Service to register - more instructions are further down this page. The deadline for this is 21 January 2021. 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.
Dates are listed at the bottom of the page for the next academic year, however these are still subject to change,
We would encourage students to graduate in absence if they can so that they can use their title - this cannot be confirmed to employers until it has been conferred at a congregation. This will also provide students with the opportunity to join their cohort at an alternative ceremony when it is safe to do so. More information about this is below.
Future graduation ceremonies for those who graduate in absence
The University and the Colleges recognise the importance of celebrating students' achievements in a fitting way. For students who graduate in absence because of the Covid-19 crisis, the University and Colleges’ Congregations Working Group has adopted the key principle of seeking to offer a ceremony in the Senate-House that will be as close as possible to the usual in-person graduation. Our aim is to make it possible for College cohorts to reunite in their College and to process together to the Senate-House in academic dress, where those still to graduate will have their degrees conferred and those who have graduated in absence will have their degrees celebrated in a similar way. How soon this can happen will depend on when social distancing rules have eased and large gatherings are again possible, but in the hope that this could take place next year, the Working Group is consulting with Colleges on a range of potential dates for 2021. The website will be updated when dates are confirmed.
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.
Paper copies of certificates and transcripts for everyone who has graduated in absence during the lockdown period will be produced and posted as soon as University staff are able to return to the workplace (15/10/2020 update: Transcripts have now been posted for those who graduated in March, April and May).
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 https://www.cambridgestudents.cam.ac.uk/your-course/graduation-and-what-next/degree-certificates-and-transcripts/academic-transcripts
Jet Photographic offers St John’s College specific certificate frames. These are available direct from the photographer https://jetphotographic.com/showphoto.php?id=470050813. 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.
Congregation Dates and Deadlines 2020-2021
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.
Those admitted to the BChir in June 2020 have one year in order to take their MB at a congregation. Please note that the May 2021 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 2021.
*Those wishing to take the MA in 2021 are particularly encouraged where possible to do so at this 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!
If you wish to put your name forward to receive your degree at any Congregation (other than General Admission) you will need to read the Congregations Information which includes academic dress information, and then register for the congregation by accessing your Extended Self-Service account on CamSIS. You can register and access ESS here. Once you have logged in, you will be able to directly register for a congregation yourself.
Note: Current students can apply via their normal self-service and alumni, who matriculated Michaelmas 1980 onwards, once registered can apply via Extended Self-Service
You might not be able to register for a congregation that is a few months away and it will need to be done closer to the time (you can aim to do this two months before the congregation).
It is vital that you update your contact details before submitting your application. You will need to update the following information:
You will then receive the confirmation letter and any required tickets by post 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 Student Services Officer.
MA Degree Ceremony
Six years and one term after matriculating, a Bachelor of Arts is entitled to take his or her Master of Arts degree, either in person or in absence, provided that two years have elapsed since the BA degree was awarded. So, from January 2021 those who matriculated in October 2014 and graduated with the BA degree prior to December 2018 will be eligible.
Information about the MA Congregation will appear when congregations in person resume.
Many people have questions about graduation and congregation arrangements.
You are also welcome to email the Praelector's Secretary at any time if you have a question that you need answering.