What happens on Graduation Day?

Timings for your ceremony day

Arrive 2 hours before your ceremony 

  • If driving - give yourself plenty of time to find a parking space, as parking is limited on Graduation day.
  • Collect your Gown in LICA - Gown collection opens at 8am
  • If you have a College, Faculty or Department celebration, or College Photo before your ceremony arrive 1 hour before this to collect your gown

If you have time, you may want to have Professional Graduation photography taken before lining up - but make sure you depart LICA one hour before your ceremony

1 hour before your ceremony

  • You and your guests with tickets should go to the Great Hall
  • Graduands should report to their lining up venue in the Great Hall
  • Guests should take their seats in the Great Hall

30 min before your ceremony

  • All Great Hall guests to be in their seats
  • All Graduands at their lining up venue ready for the Graduand procession to start
  • Guests without tickets can watch the ceremony from the Live Broadcast Venue.

The Ceremony

  • Your Ceremony will last approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes

After the Ceremony

  • If you have a college photo after your ceremony, Graduates should go straight to the photograph from the ceremony, and arrange to meet guests after the photo.
  • You may have a College, Faculty or Department celebration to visit
  • Professional Photography at LICA is open until 7pm
  • Return your gown to LICA by 7pm

Individual ceremony timetables (available soon) will give more details of your specific timeline.

Lining up

Lining up takes place one hour before your ceremony starts

Your lining up venue will be either the Nuffield Theatre or Minor Hall, both in the Great Hall. 

You should leave any personal items such as handbags with your guests, or in the cloakroom.

Details of your lining up venue will be included in the leaflet with your tickets and also on your Ceremony specific information page.

Your lining up venue is based on your College/Degree type and/or your last name. Ask a staff member in a grey gown for help if you don’t know where you should go.

It is important that you get to your lining up venue on time. During 'lining up' you will be:

  • Briefed on how the Ceremony will run
  • Briefed on what you will need to do and when
  • Put into processional order
  • Given your name card from which your name will be read aloud on stage (DON'T LOSE YOUR NAME CARD!)

Lining up top tip

You will be on your feet for around 30 min while the graduand procession is being arranged. If you aren't able to stand for this long please speak to the Graduation team about what modifications we can make for you.

What should your guests do?

The Great Hall will be open and your guests should take their seats in the Great Hall, or head to the Live Broadcast Venue.

Graduation Ceremony

The academic procession enters the hall to brass fanfares and the ceremony is formally opened by the presiding officer.

During the ceremony, Graduands and guests should follow the directions of the ceremony marshals who will guide you through what you should be doing and when.

Each ceremony lasts around one hour and fifteen minutes.

  • Graduands will stand to be formally presented for their degree. This will be as part of your conferral group, so only stand up when directed by the marshals.
  • The marshals will guide the Graduands onto the stage where they will hand the presenter their name card from which their name, and for PhDs their thesis title, will be read out.
  • The presenter will read the name and the Graduand will cross the stage.
  • They will be congratulated and will shake hands with the presiding officer. If you don’t want to shake hands, place your right hand on your heart as you walk past, and the presiding officer will give you a nod instead.
  • Graduands will then continue across the stage to exit and go back to their seat.
  • Once all Graduands in the conferral group have been presented, they will all stand, their degree will be formally conferred and applause will follow.

There can be up to four conferral groups in a ceremony

Other Ceremony Elements

In most ceremonies, additional elements may be included such as:

  • Honorary Degrees- Lancaster University has been awarding Honorary Degrees since it was founded in 1964. They are awarded to people with a recognised international standing in their field, and to those who have given special service in connection with the University or its regions.
  • Alumni Awards- Every year, Lancaster University presents these awards to outstanding alumni. The recipients will have made a substantial contribution to their field since graduation at Lancaster; have developed an outstanding international or national reputation; be inspiring to graduating students and guests.
  • Chancellor's College of Benefactors seeks to recognise organisations and individuals whose contributions have been truly transformational.
  • Staff awards - recognising University employees who have been nominated by their peers as making outstanding contributions to the University.
  • The Chancellor's Medal - presented each year to the most meritorious students in each faculty.

The ceremony will close with the National Anthem which is sung with special Lancaster wording. Your programme on the day will have the words.

Ceremony do's and don'ts for guests

  • DO applaud Graduands as they cross the stage
  • DO take photographs from your seat
  • DO join in to sing the national anthem at the end of the Ceremony (the words will be in the ceremony programme)
  • DO use the restroom before the ceremony - it may be difficult to leave your seat in the middle of the ceremony
  • DON'T stand up and block other guests views
  • DON'T record the ceremony
  • DON'T arrive late - Doors open 1 hour before the ceremony, and you should take your seat at least 30 min before the ceremony starts, your seat may be given away if you are late.

Getting around Campus on Graduation day

Graduation activities take place across campus.  Some venues can change from Summer to Winter ceremonies. 

A graduation map and information leaflet will be enclosed with your guest tickets, detailing shuttle bus stops and key venues.  The Summer 2020 map will be available to download in late spring. 

Graduation Shuttle Bus

On Graduation Day, a free shuttle bus will circle the campus to bring people from South and South West Campus where the majority of parking is, to North Campus where most Graduation activities take place.

View the Campus Map, or the interactive Maze Map

Graduation venues

  • Ticket office - Great Hall foyer, by the Bowland square entrance
  • Lining up - you will be directed to one of two lining up venues, The Nuffield Theatre or Minor Hall, both are in the Great Hall
  • Gowning and Photography - Located in LICA in North Campus, The Graduation shuttle bus stops here. Open from 8am - 7pm
  • Cloakroom - Lancaster Conference reception/Bowland Hall

More information on where to get refreshments on campus.

Summer Graduation venues

  • Live Broadcast venue - Faraday Lecture theatres
  • Certificate collection - The Roundhouse (Confucius Centre) - Certificates are not presented in the ceremony. Students should bring a photo ID in order to collect their certificate
  • Graduation Marquee - Located on Lancaster Square, with information on Alumni (pick up your free t-shirt), Careers, merchandise, ceremony DVD sales and ceremony photography sales
  • College Celebrations - located at individual colleges
  • College Photography - Lancaster Square behind LICA.

Winter Graduation venues

  • Live Broadcast venue - varies by ceremony - see ceremony specific information
  • LICA Foyer - information on Alumni (pick up your free t-shirt), Careers, merchandise, ceremony DVD sales and ceremony photography sales
  • Faculty/Department celebrations - various locations on campus - see ceremony specific information when it becomes available

Graduation Photography and Keepsakes

Lancaster's professional photographers are available to capture your special day.  

Buy a ceremony recording from Iamagraduate.com 

Order university jewellery from Annotated studios 

Purchase your Graduation Gown from Graduation Attire. 


More information on Photography and Memorabilia

Not sure when your graduation is? Visit our "When will I Graduate" page

Need more info on what you need to do before graduation day?

If you have any questions not covered here, get in touch with the Graduation team by emailing ceremonies@lancaster.ac.uk, or calling 01524 592190