An Oxford graduation ceremony is an opportunity to celebrate all the hard work and effort you have put into your degree. On the day of your graduation, you will process from the College to the Sheldonian Theatre with your fellow Nuffield graduands. During the ceremony, the degree that you have been working towards will be officially conferred. Then, you will leave the Sheldonian Theatre and, after a quick outfit-change into the gown and hood of your newly-qualified status, you re-enter the Sheldonian to the cheers and applause of the audience.
After the ceremony, you will be invited to return to Nuffield with your guests to enjoy the in-College celebrations.
It is sure to be a day to remember!
Please read the FAQs below for more information about graduations:
At Oxford, unlike many other universities, you do not automatically graduate on completing your course, and must book a place at a ceremony. Graduation ceremonies take place at various points throughout the year, and Colleges are allocated spaces for their students at particular ceremonies. If you wish to graduate in person, you will need to book a space at a ceremony where Nuffield has spaces available. If you wish to graduate in absentia (ie you do not need to attend and your certificate will be posted to you), then you can be added to the next available ceremony, whether or not Nuffield has been allocated spaces.
For students on taught courses, during the last year of your course you will be invited by email to book a place at a graduation ceremony. You will be offered one or more possible dates which will usually be between the July and May following your course completion date. If you wish to graduate in person, then we strongly encourage you to book a place at one of the ceremonies offered to you. Later dates may become available to you, but for these you would be classified as a "historic" student and deprioritised in the booking process.
For DPhil students (and any other research students), you will be invited to book a degree ceremony once you have completed all the requirements for your course. This means after you have submitted your thesis, been examined at a viva, completed any corrections, and had the final copy of your thesis approved by the relevant board. You will receive a letter at this point confirming that you have been granted "Leave to supplicate" for your degree and inviting you to book a graduation date. You will usually be offered one or more dates within the next twelve months at which you may graduate. On occasion, depending on the point during the year when you receive leave to supplicate and how many people have already booked their graduations, there may be no available dates that you can book immediately. Do not worry if this is the case! Contact Maxine Collett in the Academic Office, and we will be be sure to let you know when new dates are scheduled. If you wish to graduate in person, then we strongly encourage you to book a place as soon as you are able to. There may be opportunities to attend a ceremony at a later point, but for these you would be classified as a "historic" student and deprioritised in the booking process.
It is highly recommended that you select a graduation ceremony from the dates offered to you, or choose to graduate in absentia. Colleges are allocated a certain number of spaces at graduation ceremonies each year, in a way that is designed to ensure that students have the opportunity to graduate in person within one year of completing their studies. Because ceremony capacity is limited, we have little flexibility outside of this, and if you wish to graduate at a later date you will usually be placed on a waiting list with no guarantee of a place.
If you cannot attend on any of the dates offered to you, please contact Maxine Collett for advice. We will do what we can to help, but much of the process is outside of our control and we cannot guarantee you a ceremony place outside of those originally offered to you.
You will require two gowns (and hoods where appropriate):
- You will arrive for the ceremony wearing the gown of your current Oxford status. If you are graduating from your first Oxford degree, this will be the Oxford Graduate (Advanced Student) Gown. If you already hold a degree or degrees from Oxford, you must wear the gown and hood of your highest Oxford degree.
- At the appropriate point in the ceremony, you will change into the gown and hood of the Oxford degree you are receiving.
You must wear full academic dress. As well as gowns, this includes:
- A mortar board or soft cap
- Sub fusc: your preferred choice of items among: a dark suit with dark socks, or a dark skirt with black tights/stockings or dark trousers with dark socks; plain white collared shirt or blouse; white bow tie, black bow tie, black full-length tie, or black ribbon; black shoes; dark coat if required.
- Exceptions apply for members of the British Armed Forces; ministers of religion, and those who wear a headdress or scarf for religious reasons. Please see the university website for further details if this applies to you.
Information about what to wear will be sent to you prior to your graduation by Maxine Collett, and you are very welcome to contact her at any time with any queries.
You will automatically receive two free tickets for guests to attend the graduation ceremony. Before or after the ceremony, there is usually a celebration in College which may include a drinks reception, lunch or afternoon tea. We will confirm with you ahead of the day how many guests we are able to accommodate at this event (this would not usually be fewer than the number of ceremony guests).
On occasion, extra ceremony tickets may be available, but this can not be confirmed until close to the date of the ceremony and you should not rely on being issued any extra tickets. We will be in touch ahead of your ceremony with information on how to register your interest in an extra ticket should one be available.
Except for degree ceremonies that take place in August, degree certificates are sent to the College by the Degree Conferrals Office a few days before the Ceremony, and will be given to you by the Dean of Degrees or Senior Tutor on the day (or posted if you are graduating in absentia).
For degree ceremonies held in August, certificates are sent directly to candidates by post, to the graduate’s home address held by the University (please contact Maxine Collett if you are not sure which address this is, or you want to change it).
For further information about documentation and degree verification, please see the university website.
Please see the central university website for information about replacement degree certificates and verification of qualifications.
Provision of transcripts is also administered by the central university, unless you commenced your studies prior to Michaelmas Term 2007. If this applies to you, please contact the Academic Office with your transcript request.