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 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 11:45am on Monday 15th July and 8:30am Tuesday 16th - Friday 19th July.
  • 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. If you are an undergraduate or a MBChB student please remember to check the time of your college/department photograph and factor this into your days plans.

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).

The Ceremony

  • 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.
  • 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 will be able to access the July 2024 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 can either will shake the hand of the Presiding Officer or doff their hat.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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. 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.

Guest guidance

Please do:

  • Applaud graduands as they cross the stage.
  • Take photographs from your seat.
  • Use the restroom before the ceremony

Please don't:

  • Stand during the ceremony as this may block other guests' view of their graduand.
  • 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.

We ask that all guests are respectful of graduands and other guests during the ceremony. With this in mind, please keep talking to an absolute minimum so that all guests can enjoy the graduation experience. If you are watching with a child and they become restless, please consider taking them out of the Great Hall.

Ceremony Supervisors will be on hand should you need any assistance during the ceremony.

Detail of the head of the Lancaster University mace

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.

Lancaster University Coat of Arms

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”.

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 with their guests ahead of your graduation day.

Graduation shuttle bus

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

July Graduation venues

  • Ticket office - located in the by the Bowland Square entrance.
  • Gown collection and photography - located in in North Campus; the graduation shuttle bus stops here. Open from 11:45am - 7pm Monday 15th and 8:30am - 7pm Tuesday 16th - Friday 19th.
  • Gown drop-off is located at the (Confucius Centre) on the ground floor and is open until 7 p.m.
  • Cloakroom (where you can leave suitcases if needed): located at the (Confucius Centre), on the ground floor, open 12:15pm7pm Monday 15th and 9am7pm Tuesday 16th - Friday 19th. Please note that all graduates must ensure they leave any personal items, such as handbags and coats, in the cloakroom. You will only be allowed to take in your phone and/or printed ticket.
  • Live Broadcast venues - and .
  • Certificate collection - at the (Confucius Centre). Please note that certificates are not presented in the ceremony. Students should bring a photo ID in order to collect their certificates.
  • Alumni Network sign-up (pick up your free t-shirt!) - located at the (Confucius Centre) on the ground floor.
  • Careers information, merchandise and memorabilia, and photography sales are located in the .

Graduation photography and keepsakes

View our July 2024 photo traill to find the perfect spot on our beautiful campus for your photographs.

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

Buy a ceremony recording from

Buy your individual StageClip video.

More information on photography and memorabilia

Taking your own photos on campus

We have a beautiful campus in one of the most stunning parts of the UK. Our campus is full of perfect spots to take your own photographs.

Our photo trail shows you some of the best locations on campus for your photographs, whether you would like a backdrop of woodland beauty, your college or one of our custom-made signs - there is something for every photo!

Around the sign located opposite the Marketplace, you will also find some of our in-house photographers who will happily take photos for you on your own phone or camera to avoid awkward selfie angles.

Click to download the graduation photo trail

Lancaster University is pleased to partner with StageClip

StageClip creates personalised video clips of the exact moment each graduating student crosses the stage. Their technology ensures that all students receive a professionally captured and edited video.

After the graduation ceremony, you will receive a unique link via email. This link provides access to your personalised video clip, allowing you to view, download and share your special moment.

Not sure when your graduation is? Visit our 'When is my ceremony?' page

When is my ceremony?

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

What do I need to do before graduation?

If you have any questions not covered here or in our FAQs page, please get in touch with the Graduation Team by emailing ceremonies@lancaster.ac.uk