Graduation Ceremonies


Graduation Checklist - Students and Alumni

A step-by-step guide for your September 2023 graduation journey.

Checklist - unsplash.com/@jessicalewiscreative

Follow the steps below... 

Find out what you need to do beforehand, what you can do on the day of your graduation ceremony and afterwards. 

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Before the day

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On the day

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After the day 

Before Graduation

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Make sure you are receiving emails about your graduation ceremony

You should be receiving emails about your graduation ceremony.

For students graduating this year, the first one you should have received was a confirmation email, sent to you 24 hours after you registered. This was sent to the email address that you registered with on Portico.  

If you haven't received any emails, please check your junk folder. If you still aren't receiving emails from us at all, please contact ceremonies@ucl.ac.uk

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Ceremony confirmation email for 2023

For students graduating this year, we sent confirmation of your graduation ceremony date and time after graduation registration closed; this email arrived in your inbox before the end of April. You will have been sent a subsequent emails in July, including information on where you could confirm your attendance/ book your student ticket, buy guest tickets, rent your gown and pre-order your photography package.

The graduation portal is now closed.

The email you used to register on the portal will be where you receive all future communication regarding your graduation.

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Guest tickets, gown hire and photography  

Guest tickets 
Pre-booking guest tickets has now closed. Any extra guest tickets available will be sold on the day on a first come first served basis.

You can still book a private box for up to four guests using the links below. These are £249 and will be available until they are sold out.

Monday ceremonies - Tuesday ceremonies - Wednesday ceremonies - Thursday ceremonies - Friday ceremonies 

Children are welcome to attend! The ceremonies are, however, long, formal events. It is also not possible to take any buggies into the auditorium but you can still leave them outside. If they are young enough (three and under), they can sit on another guest’s lap. If they need their own seat, you must purchase a guest ticket for them. Guest ticket sales have now closed however you may still be able to purchase one on a first come first served basis. 

All guests will have allocated seats in the Royal Festival Hall and we ask that guests sit in the seat number provided on their ticket. All guest tickets bought on the portal will be seated together but if you are buying additional tickets on the day alongside your pre-ordered tickets, the additional guests will not be able to sit with your original party. 

Gown hire
One of the most special parts of graduation is the wearing of academic dress (cap and gown) in recognition of your qualification. Everyone crossing the stage is required to be wearing the correct academic dress. UCL’s gown supplier, Marston Events, will make sure they match you up with the correct gown for your award and will be on site at Royal Festival Hall for you to collect your gown before your ceremony. 

If you have pre-ordered your gown, you can collect it on the day at your graduation ceremony from the Royal Festival Hall. There will even be people on hand to help you dress into your gown to make sure you’re ready to take to the stage for your special moment. Pre-booked gown hire has now closed, if you haven't booked a gown, you will be able to rent one on site, though this will be at a cost of £55.

If you want to return to campus after the ceremony for a picture in front of the Portico, there will be a drop-off point in the Haldane Room, at the Main Quad, so you don’t have to travel back to the venue to return your gown. 

We will have professional photographers on the day who can take your official graduation photographs. This happens after you have registered and before your ceremony starts. You can view and purchase photography packages here. 

Our supplier will also be offering the opportunity to purchase a photo of the all-important moment you walk across the stage, as well as a 15-second video of this. Or if you’d prefer, you can also purchase a full recording of the ceremony.

If you are not sure what package you would like and want to decide on the day, you must book a session with the photographer here for £15.

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Find out how to get to the venue

Your ceremony will be held at the Royal Festival Hall - full details on the venue. Plan your journey using Transport for London's Journey Planner


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Order UCL graduation merchandise

You can order from our range of UCL-branded clothing, notebooks, scroll holders and Jeremy Beartham graduation bears in advance from the UCL Shop. You can then pick up on your graduation day. 

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Get your e-ticket

You will receive your e-ticket shortly before your ceremony if you have confirmed you’re attending. 

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Let family and friends know they can watch remotely

The ceremonies will be streamed and subsequently available on demand. Share this link to watch the ceremonies live or on demand.

On the day

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Check you have everything you need

  • UCL Student ID or another form of photo ID e.g. passport, driving licence. 
  • Email containing your order number for your academic dress (robe) and/or photography package.
  • Camera (no flash photography is permitted during the ceremony and please only film those you have permission to film, without obstructing the view of others). 

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Arrive in good time for your ceremony

Arrive in good time for your ceremony – normally around 2 hours 15 minutes before the ceremony starts and no less than 90 minutes before your ceremony, otherwise you may be marked as not in attendance and your name will not be read out.  

We are expecting around 2500 people for each graduation ceremony, and 2 hours will give you plenty of time to check you and your guests in, receive and try on your gown, and have your professional photos taken. Please look out for further information in the emails you receive in the lead up to the event in terms of timing advice for your ceremony.  

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Register at the registration desk

On arrival, please head straight to the registration desk.  

Only graduates can register themselves – guests cannot do this on behalf of a graduate. 

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Collect your gown from the gowning station

Collect your gown from the gowning station at the Royal Festival Hall. Make sure you bring your email confirmation of hire.  

You can drop your gown off after your ceremony at the Royal Festival Hall.

 For those who want to head back to campus and have a photo taken in front of the Portico, or at your favourite student spots, we've arranged a drop-off spot in the Haldane Room, next to the Main Quad. 

Regulations and Awarding Bodies  
The academic dress (robe) you wear reflects the qualification you are receiving in your graduation ceremony and the institution making the award. Although UCL received awarding powers in 2005, there are still some students who will receive a University of London award.   

Your clothing on the day  
Graduation ceremonies are formal occasions and therefore smart dress is appropriate. Remember that your clothes can be seen under your academic dress (robe). While robes are designed to be worn with shirts, students are welcome to wear any smart clothes they are comfortable in and are welcome to wear traditional or national dress.

Please wear appropriate footwear for walking up and down the steps.

Please note that shorts, denim and trainers are not appropriate attire for a graduation ceremony.

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Have your official picture taken

Once you have collected your gown, there is an opportunity to have formal photographs taken in a studio before your ceremony. 

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Take your seat

You must make sure you sit in the numbered seat on the ticket that will be emailed to you prior to the event. This is so you are called up on stage in the right order. All graduates will be seated together in these numbered seats, and your guests will be seated separately. Please make sure you’re in your seat at least 20 minutes before the ceremony.  

The ceremony itself is about 90 minutes long.
We will be livestreaming the event and will share the link with you ahead of the day.

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Walk across the stage

You will be led by one of our ushers in the correct presentation order to the stage. Once on stage, your name will be announced and you will be invited to cross the stage, where you can shake the hand of your ceremony's Presiding Officer, who will acknowledge your achievements. 

Photographs will be taken as you process across the stage. You will then be guided back to your seat by our graduation helpers.

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End of ceremony

You will be asked to join the Academic Procession to process out of the auditorium, where you can meet up with your friends and guests in the drinks reception.

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Enjoy the drinks reception and campus activity

Enjoy your complimentary drink and a sweet treat with your family and friends in our reception spaces. Why not use this time to take lots of photos with your friends and family?  
The photograph and short video of you crossing the stage will be available during the drinks reception for you to purchase and take home.   

We will have a red carpet leading to the large UCL letters in the Main Quad, which is a perfect spot for a graduation photograph in your gown.

UCL alumni musicians, Matt Ginno and Leo Kelly-Gee, will be providing musical entertainment from 12pm to 5pm also in the Main Quad. 

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Return your gown and enjoy your day

Return you gown either at the Royal Festival Hall once the ceremony has finished or the Haldane room, Portico, Main Quad by 5pm the same day.
If your ceremony is at the end of the day (from 4pm onwards) you can return your gown to the Royal Festival Hall or the Haldane room, Portico, Main Quad by 12pm the next day.


After Graduation

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Participate in the UCL Alumni Community 

UCL’s Alumni team will be at the graduation ceremony and will be able to tell you about all the opportunities available to you as a member of UCL’s worldwide alumni community. To find out more please visit the Alumni homepage

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Receive your photographs

You will receive the photography packages by our graduation photographers after the ceremony.