Graduation FAQs

Here is a list of the most commonly asked questions about graduations. Click on a question to find the corresponding answer. To return to the list, select "Full list of questions" from the menu to the side. 

Making arrangements

I haven’t received approval for my degree from the Board of Graduate Studies, should I still apply to the degree ceremony?

It is advisable to apply to your chosen ceremony in advance, whether or not you have been approved, to avoid disappointment. It is important to note that no applications will be accepted after the College deadline. If you submit an application but your degree is not approved in time you can be removed from the ceremony proceedings. 

What is the Religious Formula and what should I do if I would like it to be omitted from my degree conferral?

At the ceremony the Vice Chancellor will say the following, but in Latin, as you kneel in front of him:"By the authority committed to me, I admit you to the degree of (name of degree) in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit." If you do not wish for the Trinitarian formula to be used you must indicate this when you register for the congregation so that the Praelector and University can be made aware.

What if I have registered to take my degree at a congregation and not yet heard from the Praelector?

Following registration on CamSIS, usually a month or so before the ceremony, you should receive a confirmation letter. If you have not it is important that you contact the Student Services Officer as soon as possible. Do not leave this to the last minute as the Student Services Officer will need to check that you are still included in the proceedings. Please note that you should wait until a week after the deadline has passed to expect a confirmation letter, one cannot be sent out before the deadline for others to apply to the same congregation has passed.

Can I use my ‘title’ even if the relevant degree hasn’t yet been conferred on me?

No. Your degree must be conferred on you at a ceremony before you can use the title.

When am I eligible for the MA?

6 Years and a Term after matriculation and 2 clear years after receiving your BA. Please note the rule is slightly different for affiliated students.


I am a little confused about which gown I should wear... Where can I find some further advice about academical dress? 

Information regarding academical dress can be found on the University website here: Contact details for hire companies can also be located here: The general rule for graduands of Cambridge University is to wear the gown and hood of the highest degree already held.  For example, if you are taking both your MA and MB degrees then you should wear the BChir gown and hood, and not the BA gown and hood.

If you are taking your MA and hold a MEng or MSci on the basis of doing Part III Engineering (or ChemEng) or Natural Sciences you should wear the MEng or MSci gown and hood.

Any person who does not hold a Cambridge Degree (e.g. an undergraduate) when being admitted to a Degree wears his or her undergraduate, BA status or MA status gown (graduates over 24 years old should wear MA gown), as appropriate, and the hood of the Degree, or the higher of the Degrees, which he or she is to receive.

Can I wear a dinner suit/tuxedo under my gown?

Yes, but it must be a dark suit, with no silk adornments. Cufflinks may be worn.

What should my guests wear in the Senate House?

They are advised to dress smartly.

On the day

What happens at the Ceremony?

Full information is provided by the University, as explained here:

Are me or my guests allowed to take luggage/bags into the Senate House?

To ensure that your visit to the University is as safe as possible, enhanced security procedures are currently being implemented. At this time, they will not allow rucksacks, holdalls, shopping bags or bags larger than 35cm x 25cm into the Senate House or the surrounding grounds. If you bring them to the Congregation/Honorary Degree Ceremony, you will be asked to make alternative arrangements for their storage or may be denied entry to the event. If you need to keep your bag with you, you must seek assistance from a Proctor/Constable who will check contents prior to entry to the Senate House. Please allow sufficient time for the additional delays this may cause. This will mostly apply to guests, and Graduands are asked not to proceed with any bags - these should be left with your guests.

Are children allowed into the Senate House?

Yes. They will need a ticket to enter the Senate House. Please alert the marshals on the day and they will be able to sit guests with younger children near the door for a quick exit if required.

Are children allowed into the College lunch?

Children are allowed to the lunch, but they will need their own tickets, taken from the Graduands allowance of guest tickets.

Can my guests take photographs during the ceremony?

Not inside the Senate House. But photos may be taken outside. Please note that a professional photographer will take photos inside the Senate House and in the Combination Room (please speak to a constable/marshall for directions) there will be the opportunity throughout the day for a group photograph with your guests with a Senate House backdrop as well if you choose. Graduands must not take professional photographers in as guests into the grounds of the Senate House.

I have a disabled guest, what measures can be taken?

There is space downstairs in the Senate House so the Proctors will ensure your guest has a space. Unfortunately there is no parking near the Senate House. Please contact the Student Services Officer if any graduand/guest has any disability - please note there will be quite a bit of standing waiting to get in once at the Senate House. Anyone with a disability/impairment will be sat appropriately by the constables, please note only one carer/family member may go with them so your group may get split up and seated in different places.

How many tickets can I have for the lunch? Am I allowed to request any more?

You can request via CamSIS the following tickets for the lunch (subject to availability):

Normal Congregation: 2

MA Congregation: 1

General Admission: 2

This is a strict College policy and no more can be requested under any circumstances. This policy can be found in section I.1.1.2 of the Standing Orders of the College.

How many guests can attend the Senate House ceremony?

Up to 2 guests can be requested for the Senate House - no more can be allocated.