What happens on Graduation Day?
Everything you need to know to about your graduation day. Use the menu below to quickly access the section of your choice. For more information on getting ready for Graduation, visit our Before you graduate page. If you have any questions not covered, check out our FAQs page.
Timings for your graduation 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 from LICA - gown collection opens at 8am.
- If you have a college, faculty or department celebration before your ceremony starts, arrive 1 hour before this to collect your gown.
If you have time, you may wish to have professional graduation photographs taken - but make sure you leave LICA for the Great Hall 1 hour before your ceremony
1 hour before your ceremony
- You and your registered guests should go to the Great Hall.
- Graduands should report to the graduand entrance at the Great Hall.
- Guests should report to the guest entrance at the Great Hall - please ensure your whole party is ready to enter the Great Hall together with their e-ticket(s) when invited by our Guest Ushers.
30 min before your ceremony
- All Great Hall guests to be in their seats in the Great Hall.
- All graduands to be in their designated seats in the Great Hall - Once the Great Hall doors are closed you will not be able to enter.
- Guests without tickets can watch the ceremony from the Live Broadcast venue(s).
- Your ceremony will last approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes
After the ceremony
- Once the ceremony has ended, please remain seated. You’ll be guided out by the ushers
- For July ceremonies - if you have a college photo after your ceremony, you 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 7 pm.
- Return your gown to The Roundhouse (Confucius Institute) by 7 pm
The graduation ceremony
The academic procession enters the hall to brass fanfares and the ceremony is formally opened by the Presiding Officer (the Chancellor, Pro-Chancellor or Vice-Chancellor).
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 1 hour and 15 minutes.
You can access the July 2023 online graduation programme online and also download it.
- 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 their name will be read out (and thesis title for PhDs) and the graduand will cross the stage.
- Graduands will be congratulated and will touch their hat to acknowledge the Presiding Officer.
- 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 many 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.
- 校友 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.
- The Chancellor's Medal - presented each year to the most meritorious students in each faculty.
The ceremony will close with the National Anthem played by the University organist and London Fanfare Trumpets (we do not currently sing the National Anthem as part of mitigations against Covid-19). Some graduands, guests and members of staff may choose to remove their hats for the National Anthem; it is entirely the individual's choice whether or not to do this.
- Applaud graduands as they cross the stage.
- Take photographs from your seat.
- Use the restroom before the ceremony
- Stand during the ceremony as this may block other guests' view of their graduate.
- Record the ceremony - we stream ceremonies live and high quality footage of each ceremony is available to purchase.
- Arrive late - late arrivals will not be permitted as this may disrupt the ceremony. Doors open one hour before the ceremony, and you should take your seat at least 30 minutes before the ceremony starts.
The Lancaster University Mace
The University of Oxford presented Lancaster University with a silver mace in 1964 to celebrate Lancaster’s foundation as a new university.
The Lancaster University mace is a copy of one carried at the University of Oxford which was originally made in 1723.
At Lancaster, the mace is traditionally carried in front of the Presiding Officer. It was used at Lancaster’s first graduation ceremony in December 1965, and has been carried at each ceremony ever since.
Getting around campus on graduation day
Graduation activities take place across our beautiful campus. Some venues can change between July and December ceremonies.
We encourage graduands to share the interactive University MazeMap with their guests ahead of your graduation day, and we will share an electronic graduation map and information closer to the ceremony (this will detail shuttle bus stops and key venues).
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 interactive Maze Map
July Graduation venues
- Ticket office - located in Great Hall foyer, by the Bowland square entrance.
- Gown collection and photography - located in LICA in North Campus, the graduation shuttle bus stops here. Open from 8am - 7pm.
- Gown drop off - located at the Roundhouse (Confucius Centre), on the ground floor, open until 7pm.
- Cloakroom (where you can leave suitcases if needed) - located at the Roundhouse (Confucius Centre), on the ground floor, open until 5.30pm
- Live Broadcast venues - Faraday Lecture Theatre and Margaret Fell Lecture Theatre.
- Certificate collection - Room B09 at the Roundhouse (Confucius Centre). Please note that certificates are not presented in the ceremony. Students should bring a photo ID in order to collect their certificate.
- 校友 Network sign-up (pick up your free t-shirt!) - located at the Roundhouse (Confucius Centre), on the ground floor.
- Careers information, merchandise and memorabilia, and photography sales - located in the Graduation Marquee on Lancaster Square.
- College Celebrations - located at individual colleges (colleges will share information with students closer to graduation)
- College Photography - Lancaster Square behind LICA.
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
Lancaster University Coat of Arms
Although the University is generally referred to as Lancaster University, its actual and legal title is The University of Lancaster and this title is accompanied by the Grant of Arms.
The University became eligible to use the Grant of Arms after receiving the Royal Charter from Queen Elizabeth II in 1965. The Coat of Arms is the official insignia of the University used on degree certificates.
In heraldic language, the arms (shield) is the core of the message and is made up of the lion passant, which refers to the learned activities of the University, two red roses representing Lancashire County Council, blue and silver waves representing the River Lune and an open book which is a symbol of learning.
The complete coat of arms is the arms surrounded by a ‘coat’. The elements which make up the coat are the crest, which comprises the wreath, the quill pens, and the Herdwick ram; and the supporters, consisting of the Cumberland bull and the dragon representing the ancient Kingdom of Cumbria.
The University’s motto is taken from a medical pamphlet called Famosa Apologia, which dates from around the early seventeenth century.
Translated from Latin, the phrase “Patet omnibus veritas” means “Truth lies open to all”.