About the ceremony

Graduating students

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.

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*. Research students will be formally presented with their caps.
  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 his/her representative

There are approximately 250 graduates with 700 guests, and the ceremony normally lasts around two hours. There is also a live screening of the ceremony.

Live screening of the ceremony

The Graduation ceremony will be screened live in the Lakeside Theatre in Square 5 for guests without tickets to attend the ceremony or for latecomers who were not able to enter the Ivor Crewe Hall. Children under 5 are welcome to watch the ceremony in the Lakeside Theatre 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.

After the ceremony

Your Award Certificate and Academic Transcript* can be collected after your ceremony has taken place from the Silberrad Square (opposite the Silberrad Student Centre).  Please note that if you finished your studies before June, then your documents will have already been posted to you.

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 provides 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.

*Please note. Only given to Postgraduate Taught Students. Undergraduate students who registered in September 2014 and later have access to their HEAR.

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.

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