Tickets and guest information

Book tickets
Family hugging at graduation

Celebrate together

Graduation is the highlight of our academic year and we’re really excited for our graduands to celebrate their achievements with family and friends.

Graduation tickets

Your attendance

All graduands we expect to be eligible for a Graduation will be contacted via email by the Graduation and Awards team with information on when and how to book for their ceremony. More information on attendance and eligibility can be found on our Student Directory.

You must pre-book your place at Graduation to attend, but there is no charge for this. Your ticket allows you entry to your ceremony and your departmental reception, which includes light refreshments. 

You will need to pay for Graduation gown hire, although you may be eligible for this free of charge as part of the Graduation Assistance Fund which can provide financial support for those attending Graduation who may need it.

Guest tickets

Purchasing guest tickets

You will be able to purchase guest tickets via the online booking system when it opens for your ceremony. Guest tickets cost £30 each and provides entry to the Graduation ceremony and reception afterwards and includes light refreshments.

Booking for Graduation is divided into two phases to provide a fair opportunity for all graduands to purchase guest tickets. 

All graduands who are able book their place during Phase 1 of booking will be guaranteed 2 guest tickets, should they wish to purchase them. Any guest tickets not purchased in Phase 1 will be released to other students in Phase 2. If you did not purchase your 2 guest tickets in Phase 1, these cannot be guarantee during Phase 2.  All extra tickets made available during Phase 2 are sold on a first come first served basis, subject to availability.

Guest seating and admittance
Graduands and guests are seated separately during the ceremony and all guest seating, unless there are individual needs made known to us, is unallocated. Please note that children under the age of 5 are not permitted entry to Graduation ceremonies.

Sold out ceremonies

If you wish to bring more guests than you can obtain guest tickets for, we still warmly welcome your friends and family to campus and there are several options available to you:

  • Reception only tickets
    Reception only tickets will permit entry for a guest to the Graduation reception after the main ceremony.  Your guests would not be permitted entry to the ceremony itself, but could then watch a live screening at one of our venues on campus, and join you for the reception afterwards for celebrations and light refreshments.

    Reception only tickets are £15. Information on how to purchase these will be emailed to eligible students.
  • Live Screenings
    Our ceremonies will be live-streamed online and at various locations across our Colchester Campus, including the Lakeside Theatre. Your guests are welcome to join you on campus to watch a Live Screening of our ceremonies. You do not need to purchase tickets for Live Screenings on campus, and children under the age of 5 are permitted entry to these. Seats cannot be reserved for Live Screenings and are available on a first-come-first-served basis.
  • Returned or Unsold Tickets
    If there are any remaining guest tickets for a ceremony, these will be made available to purchase on the day from the Ticket Collection Desk. All tickets will be sold on a first-come-first-served basis and can only be purchased via card payment. If there are tickets available, there may be a limit placed on the number each Graduand can purchase.
Purchasing tickets from fellow Graduands

It is not possible for guest tickets to be resold to reallocated between Graduands. All guest tickets purchased can only be collected by the Graduand who purchased them and photo ID will be requested before any tickets are issued. It is the responsibility of the Graduand to then issue the tickets to their guests.

Bringing children to Graduation

Children aged five and over are welcome at Graduation but every child must have their own ticket and be accompanied by an adult who is responsible for the child's behaviour whilst on campus.


Babies and children under five years of age are not permitted entry to the Graduation Ceremony. Please do not purchase guest tickets for children under the age of 5, including babies.  

Children aged five and over may attend the ceremony accompanied by an adult but must have a standard Guest Ticket purchased for them. This will provide them entry to both the Ceremony and Reception held afterwards, where light refreshments are served. There are no discounts for children's tickets. Please note, it is not possible to leave the ceremony once it has started; the ceremony will last for approximately one and a half hours.

Live screening

Children of any age can attend Live Screenings across campus when accompanied by a responsible adult. The ceremony will be shown free of charge and it is possible to leave the room during the ceremony if your child is unsettled. We recommend this option as more suitable for younger children.


Babies and children under five years of age are permitted entry to the Graduation Reception held in the Sports Arena after each Ceremony. It is free of charge for them to attend, but you must pre-book a ticket for them as there is limited capacity in the venue. You can do this by contacting 


Bringing pets to Graduation

We love animals but sadly we do not allow pets to attend Graduation. If you are supported by the assistance of a service dog, these may attend, but please notify our team first to make the relevant seating arrangements at

Inviting additional guests onto campus for Graduation

Additional guests can visit the Colchester Campus with you on the day of your Graduation, but will not be able to enter the ceremony or departmental reception without a ticket.

The Graduation ceremony will be screened live and any guests without tickets are welcome to use this facility to watch the ceremony. 

If there are no Guest Tickets left available for your ceremony, you can purchase Reception Only tickets for additional guests.

Reception only tickets
Reception only tickets will permit entry for a guest to the Graduation reception after the main ceremony.  Your guests would not be permitted entry to the ceremony itself, but could then watch a live screening at one of our venues on campus, and join you for the reception afterwards for celebrations and light refreshments.

Reception only tickets are £15 and can be purchased by emailing

Cancelling your guest tickets and refunds

Cancel your guest tickets

If you wish to cancel your guest tickets, you must do so in writing via email to the Graduation and Awards Team. Requests must be sent by the Graduand and contain their full name and registration number, with details of the number of guest tickets that should be cancelled.


All requests for refunds must be received by the refund deadline for each Graduation to be eligible for a full refund.

Spring Graduation 2024 refund deadline: Friday 5 April 2024
Summer Graduation 2024 refund deadline: Friday 28 June 2024

All refunds will be processed after Graduation when the University's Income Section will arrange to reimburse you via your original payment method.

The Graduation and Awards Manager may, in exceptional circumstances, approve a refund in respect of cancellation requests received after the deadline. 

If you have purchased guest tickets but subsequently become ineligible to receive an award, as determined by the Board of Examiners, you will automatically have your booking cancelled and a full refund will be processed after the ceremonies have taken place. 


Should you be in debt to the University, the refund will be off-set against any outstanding debt owed by the student to the University. Where the outstanding debt is higher than the sum of the refund, no refund will be given.

Unable to attend

If you cannot attend Graduation because you are no longer eligible for an award or because you award has not been conferred in time, you will automatically be refunded for any guest tickets you have purchased. You will then be invited to a future ceremony, if you later become eligible.

If you are unable to attend your Graduation ceremony, in some circumstances you can request a deferral to attend a graduation ceremony at a later date.

All refunds will be processed after the ceremonies have taken place.

Dress code for guests  

Guests should wear smart/formal dress, suitable for the occasion.

Please ensure you are wearing suitable footwear for stairs in the auditorium, and to walk up the hill to the Reception held in the Sports Arena.
Our Colchester Campus is beautiful, but some pathways are steep.


Accommodation on campus may be available for Graduands and Guests to book.  For more information on accommodation and how to book, please contact Event Essex on the below details:

  • 01206 872358

Wivenhoe House Hotel is also located within the grounds of our beautiful campus and offers a number of bedrooms which may be booked by Graduands and Guests for each Graduation. For more information and rates, please contact the hotel directly.

Help with Graduation costs

If you’re having financial difficulties, you may be eligible for financial support with some of the costs for attending Graduation, such as gown hire and guest tickets.  The University’s Graduation Assistance Fund is available to students who may meet the eligibility criteria for the Fund and are eligible to attend a Graduation ceremony. The fund covers the cost of up to two guest tickets and the advance hire of an academic gown - there is no cash alternative.

You must meet the eligibility requirements to be considered, please read the full eligibility criteria for the Graduation Assistance Fund, which can be found on Blackbullion, prior to submitting your application.

Spring Graduation 2024

The Graduation Assistance Fund is now open to applications. All applications must be submitted by Friday 15 March 2024.

Summer Graduation 2024

The Graduation Assistance Fund is now open to applications. All applications must be submitted by Friday 14 June 2024.

Access and disability needs

If you or your guests have any individual needs, for example, if special seating or wheelchair space is required, please fill out the Access and Disability section (step 3) of the online booking form, when open, where you will be able to provide full details of what you need. We will then contact you to let you know the arrangements we have made for seating and parking (if required). Please note that we are unable to provide wheelchairs for Graduation.


Students and guests with limited mobility are usually seated at the front of the Ivor Crewe Lecture Hall (ICLH) in reserved seating where there is adequate leg room, and where there are no steps to climb. If a guest requires reserved seating, we would also reserve seats for all the guests in the group so that they can sit together, or sit in rows behind or in front of each other depending on whether wheelchair space is required. Stewards are available at Graduation specifically to show students and guests to where the reserved seating is.

Students can choose to progress out through the central aisle of the ICLH with the rest of the graduates or via another route. If you would like to take a look at the ICLH when it is set up for the ceremonies to see what is involved, then please contact


Students and/or guests with limited mobility can park in the South campus car park in a reserved area which is closest to the ICLH. You will need to notify us of these additional requirements in Step 3 on the online booking form, when open, in order to provide us with details, for example, car registration number and the name of the disabled person.

Please note that all accessible parking is subject to availability. 

If you would prefer to speak to someone in person about your or your guests specific needs, then please contact Be assured that we will do all that we can to help your Graduation run smoothly.

Graduation tickets

We’re excited to welcome you back to campus to celebrate your success with your family and friends. We will let you know, via email, when the booking system for our Spring and Summer ceremonies will open.

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