On the day

Your graduation day will be one of the most memorable days of your life. Make sure you are well prepared for the whole experience so you can make the most of this momentous occasion.

What happens on your graduation day

The steps below will help you to get a feel for what to expect on the day so that you can prepare as best as possible. You can also find the key timings for your day to help you plan.

1. Arrive in good time

You should arrive at least 2 hours before your ceremony start time as there are things you need to do before it begins. During peak times it can take a couple of hours to get through everything.

Once you have arrived walk to the Austin Pearce piazza – this is where your big day begins! From here you will be guided through every step of your graduation experience by our friendly team.

Top tip: free parking (including accessible parking) is available for everyone in our main car parks. Accessible parking is also available at the Cathedral. We recommend  booking this online in advance.

2. Check-in and collect your tickets

Have your ticket booking confirmation email and URN ready for when you visit the check-in tent. Here you will be given your wristband and your ceremony seat number (applicable to graduands only).

If you have indicated a member of your party will have difficulty making their way to the Cathedral on foot, a Cathedral car park permit will be given so you can drive to and park at the Cathedral.

Top tip: If you have any luggage or items that  can't be taken into the Cathedral, then head to the information point on the Austin Pearce Piazza and a member of staff will help store it for you.

3. Collect your robes and have your pre-booked photography taken

Once you have checked in you will be directed to the Austin Pearce Building where you will be able to collect your robes and take part in studio photography.

Our partners Ede and Ravenscroft will be on hand to assist you with robing. All robes should be pre-booked to avoid disappointment on the day. However, some spare robes will be available to hire on the day but this supply is limited in number.

After robing you can visit the photography studios for those all-important graduation snaps with your special guests.

Top tip: to save yourself time on the day you can pre-book your studio photography package online.

4. Walk to Guildford Cathedral

You and your guests should then make your way to Guildford Cathedral for the ceremony via the flight of steps adjacent to Wates House. If you have been given a Cathedral parking permit then you should make your way back to the car park and drive up to the Cathedral.

This walk can take 10-15 minutes depending on your walking speed, and there are a number of hills and steps on the way. Allow plenty of time for this part of the day and bring water with you during hot weather.

5. Take your seats in the Cathedral

This is the moment you take the walk into the incredible Guildford Cathedral and relax in your seat before the start of your ceremony!

The entrance to the Cathedral is via the main doors and is by wristband only.

6. Enjoy your ceremony!

This is the big moment! Our friendly team will be on hand to guide you through the whole process, so there is no need to worry about specifically what you need to do and when.

After the fanfare and procession, you will be guided to the stage by a member of the team when it is your turn. When your name is announced, you will walk across the stage to receive your certificate (if you haven't already received it) and then return to your seat. During the ceremony, only your name and course will be announced, not the outcome of your degree, such as whether you achieved a First or a 2:1. If you are not in attendance, your name will not be called out.

If you have been awarded a prize for best performance or best research project, it will be announced during the ceremony, but you will receive the prize on another day from the relevant awarding party.

On the stage you will stop to shake hands with the Presiding Officer and your photo will be taken, before you return to your seat for the rest of the ceremony.

Following the presentation you will be able to enjoy speeches from a selection of inspirational guest speakers, before you leave the Cathedral at the end of your ceremony.

Live streaming

All ceremonies will be live streamed on the University’s YouTube channel, meaning you can watch wherever you are in the world. The live stream can also be shared with any family and friends who may not be able to attend the celebration in person.

7. Celebrate with your friends and guests at our garden-party-themed reception

The celebration continues in The Marquee with all graduands invited to enjoy free-entry to the garden-party-themed reception. Your guests may join you for the price of £27.50 per person and can look forward to a delicious afternoon tea with a glass of fizz, as well as brilliant photo opportunities and a fantastic atmosphere.

This takes place immediately after your ceremony, so please arrive promptly to make sure that you and your guests have plenty of time to enjoy the unlimited refreshments during the 60-minute service.

All those entering the celebratory marquee must have a valid wristband. You can book your wristbands and tickets online.

Top tip: walk straight down to the reception as soon as you can – food and drink is available for 1 hour after your ceremony ends, and we want you to make the most of the whole event! After the reception you have the rest of the day to walk around campus taking as many photos as you like!

8. Grab selfies around campus before returning your robes

We know that you will all be wanting photos by the lake, the Stag statue or in your favourite campus hangouts, so take a walk around campus to build those lasting memories and take as many photos as you want!

Once you are finished, you will need to return your robes to the Austin Pearce Building before 6pm, which marks the end of your graduation experience on campus.

Timings for your big day

Select your ceremony time below to find all of the important timings relevant to you and your guests. We recommend allowing as much time as possible to go through all of the steps above, and to be able to enjoy this memorable day with your friends and family.

Arriving late

We ask that you make every effort to arrive in time for the start of your ceremony. If you arrive late, you may not be able to graduate in your chosen ceremony. Plus, rushing around getting from one venue to the other will impact how much you enjoy your big day – a day that you may only experience once in your life!

If you are held up for any reason (e.g. traffic delays) then we will make every effort to graduate you in a later ceremony that day or week, as long as capacity allows.

Wednesday 10 to Friday 12 April10:30am ceremony2:30pm ceremony
Arrive on campus and check inOpens 8:30am - Closes 10amOpens 12:30pm - Closes 2pm
Robe collection from Austin Pearce building (if applicable)Opens 8:30am - Closes 10amOpens 12:30pm - Closes 2pm
Have your official studio photographs taken in APOpens 8:30am - Closes 6pmOpens 12:30pm - Closes 6pm
Walk to Guildford Cathedral (allow 15 minutes)Before 10amBefore 2pm
All graduands must be seated by10am2pm
All guests must be seated by10:15am2:15pm
Cathedral doors close10:15am2:15pm
Your ceremony begins10:30am2:30pm
Your ceremony endsApprox. 12 noonApprox. 4pm
Your celebratory reception beginsApprox. 12.15pmApprox. 4.15pm
Return your robes to Austin Pearce (if applicable)Before 6pmBefore 6pm


More about the day

Find out everything you need to know about your graduation.