About the ceremony

Student receiving award at Graduation

It's time to celebrate

The graduation schedule contains details of the dates and times of the ceremony for each Department, School or Centre.

The ceremony will be held in the Ivor Crewe Lecture Hall. All graduating students (graduands) are seated in the balcony area at the back of the auditorium, with guests seated towards the front.


Before the ceremony

Your graduation ceremony will be held in the Ivor Crewe Lecture Hall. The Hall opens 45 minutes before the ceremony starts. Graduands and guests should be seated 20 minutes before the ceremony start time and the doors will close 15 minutes before the ceremony begins. Guests will not be permitted to enter the Hall once the ceremony has started.

Stewards will be on duty at all times to help and advise you. An enquiry desk will be situated in the Lecture Theatre Building (LTB).

Travel information

Information on how to get to our Colchester Campus can be found on our visit us page, along with a detailed map of the campus.


Parking in the University car parks is free during Graduation week.

With regard to disabled parking, students and/or guests can park in the South campus car park in a reserved area closest to the ICLH. Again you will need to complete Step 3 of the online booking system in order to provide us with details, for example, the car registration number and the name of the disabled person.

Gown collection

All academic robes will be available for collection from LTB 7 on the day of your graduation, 1-2 hours before your ceremony start time.

Facilities for students and guests

Ivor Crewe Lecture Hall

There will be a staffed cloakroom on the ground level of the Hall for you to leave your coat and belongings while you are at the ceremony.


The University's catering outlets on campus will be open during Graduation.

Absence from the ceremony

Your degree will be conferred in absentia and your certificate will be posted to your permanent home address during February. You will not be invited to a subsequent ceremony. Please note that it is very important that you keep your permanent home address and external email address up to date via myEssex.

During the ceremony

  1. The ceremony begins with the procession of Academic Staff, Officers of the University and the Chancellor* entering the auditorium. The University Mace is carried in front of the Chancellor*, and signifies their authority to preside at the ceremony.
  2. The Chancellor* opens the ceremony and makes a welcome speech.
  3. This is followed by a representative from departments providing a short overview of the work of the departments.
  4. Each Graduand is then presented individually to the Chancellor*. Doctoral Research students will be formally presented with their caps. (If you prefer not to shake hands, for cultural or religious reasons, then as you approach the Chancellor or Presiding Officer, keep your arms lowered as a sign to them that a handshake is not required.)
  5. If there is an Honorary Graduand or the Alumnus of the Year attending the ceremony, they will then be presented to the Chancellor* and may make a speech.
  6. The Vice-Chancellor makes a brief closing statement and the Chancellor* formally closes the ceremony.
  7. The processions leave the auditorium, followed by the Graduates of the University.
  8. The Scintillo String Quartet play music in the Hall before and after the ceremony, and during the entrance and exit of the processions and graduates.

*or their representative

There is also a live screening of the ceremony.

Live screening of the ceremony

The Graduation ceremony will be screened live for guests without tickets to attend the ceremony or for latecomers who were not able to enter the Ivor Crewe Hall. Children under five are welcome to watch the ceremony too so long as they are accompanied by an adult.

The service is free of charge and is available on a first-come, first-served basis. All ceremonies are filmed and recordings are produced for sale.

Award certificates

Certificates are handed out during the Graduation ceremonies. A University of Essex scroll holder will be presented to you by the Chancellor (or their nominee) to each Graduand as they process. Some Graduands may have certificates to collect from our Certificate Collection stand on the day of their ceremony:

For Spring Graduation
  • If you are attending one of our Spring Graduations, you will already have had your certificate posted to you. This means you will not have a certificate to collect at Graduation.
Summer Graduation
  • For any awards conferred prior to the 31 May, you will already have had your certificate posted to you. This means you will not have a certificate to collect at Graduation.
  • If your award was conferred after the 31 May then your certificate will be available for you to collect after your ceremony from the Certification Collection stand which will be in the gazebos on Square 5.

Award classifications

The Head of your School or Department will announce the course name and qualification type, and then you will be presented to the Chancellor or Presiding Officer in alphabetical name order. Your degree classification/citation will not be read out and will not appear in any literature. If you have been awarded a Prize, this may be read out before your name is called.

Pronunciation of names

If you feel that your name is likely to be mispronounced the easiest way for you to ensure that it isn’t is to write your name phonetically on your Graduand ceremony ticket.

If you’re unsure how to do this, then drop by the Enquiry Desk in LTB 6 and someone will assist you.

After the ceremony

After the ceremony you can go to your Departmental Reception. At the reception, other Graduates from your Department, School or Centre and their guests will be there, along with members of staff from your Department. Light refreshments are also provided. Each guest ticket includes entry to the Graduation ceremony and Departmental reception.

Alternatively, you can visit the University's catering outlets on campus for refreshments which will be available throughout the day and will need to be paid for individually.

Returning Graduation gowns

All academic robes must be returned by 7.45pm on the day of your graduation to LTB2. Please note that if you do not return your gown you may be charged by the gowning company.

The University Mace

The University of Essex Mace has been used at our Graduation ceremonies since the first ceremony in 1967. It is carried in front of the Chancellor or his/her representative, and signifies their authority to preside at the ceremony. It was presented by Elfreda Sanders, JP, a former Colchester Borough Councillor and Mayor, in memory of her brother.

It was designed by Professor Robert Goodden at the Royal College of Art, and made from silver with details in gold. The Mace’s design uses the symbolism of our armorial bearings.

The shaft of the Mace is cast in the shape of a young oak tree to represent the parkland of Wivenhoe and the ancient forest of Essex. The branches that grow from it pass through a ring or ‘annulet’, representing the letter ‘O’ and support the Wyvern, a mythological dragon. This offers a heraldic rebus, or wordplay, (Wyvern - O) upon the name Wivenhoe.

Arrow symbol
Get in touch
Graduation and Ceremonies
Telephone: 01206 872174
Awards and Award Documents