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 to welcome you back to campus to help you celebrate your achievements with your family and friends.

Purchasing guest tickets

All guest ticket bookings for Graduation are subject to our Graduation booking terms and conditions (.pdf). The University reserves the right to make changes to any arrangements set out in this policy related to Graduation in order to respond to Government guidelines, our legal obligations and to maintain the safety of our community.

Your ticket

You do not have to pay for your own Graduation ticket which allows you entry to your ceremony and your departmental reception. A complimentary Graduation programme and a Certificate holder will also be available to take away with you.

Guest tickets

Purchasing guest tickets

You will receive an email confirming when the booking for your ceremony will open. You must login to the system using your external email and passphrase to confirm you are attending Graduation even if you are not bringing any guests.

In Phase 1 of ticket sales, you may buy up to two guest tickets at the cost of £25 per guest, which will admit guests to the graduation ceremony in the Ivor Crewe Lecture Hall and to the departmental reception, which includes light refreshments. Please note, these tickets are not guaranteed and are sold on a first-come-first-served basis. Some ceremonies may sell out in Phase 1, meaning you may not be able to purchase any guest tickets.

In Phase 2 of ticket sales, we release any unsold tickets. Once Phase 1 has closed the Graduation & Awards Team will evaluate how many tickets per ceremony remain, and, where there are tickets available, a notice will be put up on the Graduation web pages confirming which ceremonies have additional capacity and the maximum number of additional tickets you will be able to buy during Phase 2.

The opening time and date for Phase 2 will be confirmed to all eligible students via email. Once open, you will be able to login and purchase additional tickets, where these are available, up to the maximum allowed, on a first-come-first-serve basis. Please note, you can also confirm your attendance during this Phase of booking, but only where there is availability to do so.

Guest tickets aren’t numbered, and guests can sit anywhere in the guest seating area.

Sold out ceremonies

There are several options available to your guests:

  • Reception only tickets
    For some of our ceremonies, reception only tickets may be available to purchase on the day of your Graduation for a reduced cost. These tickets will only entitle the holder to the departmental receptions in the marquees after the ceremony, and not to the ceremony itself. If there are reception only tickets available, this will be publicised in the Lecture Theatre Building when you go to collect your tickets. Depending on availability, some ceremonies may not have any of these tickets available. All reception only tickets will be sold on a first-come-first-served basis and can only be purchased via card payment. If tickets are available, there will be a limit on the number each Graduand can purchase.
  • Live Screenings
    Our ceremonies will be live-streamed online and at various locations across our Colchester Campus, including the Lakeside Theatre. Your guests are invited to come to campus to watch a Live Screening of our ceremonies. These Live Screenings can also be attended by guests under five so long as they are accompanied by an adult. Please note, you cannot reserve a place at one of our Live Screenings and these are available on a first-come-first-served basis.
  • Returned or Unsold Tickets
    For some ceremonies, there may be guest tickets available to purchase on the day from the Lecture Theatre Building. These will only be available where the ceremony did not sell out during either Phase of booking or where other Graduands have returned their tickets. If there are any additional tickets available, this will be publicised in the Lecture Theatre Building when you go to collect your tickets. All tickets will be sold on a first-come-first-served basis and can only be purchased via card payment. If tickets are available, there will be a limit on the number each Graduand can purchase.
Purchasing tickets from fellow Graduands

Tickets are linked to the Graduand who purchased them and can only be collected by that Graduand. It is not possible for the tickets to be reallocated to another Graduand as photo ID will be requested before any tickets are issued.

Once the Graduand has collected their tickets it is up to them to allocate them, so they can choose to pass these to another Graduands guests should they so wish. Please remember that the babies and children under five restriction always applies.

Unfortunately, we do not have any waiting lists for guest tickets.

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 will not be admitted into the ceremony. Please see our Guest Tickets Policy (.pdf) for information. Children aged five and over may attend the ceremony accompanied by an adult and must have a ticket purchased for them. 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 two hours.

If a ticket has been purchased for a child under five, then a cancellation request must be submitted by the deadline below as the child will not be admitted to the ceremony and money will not be refunded on the day.

Live screening

Children of any age can visit the live screening of the ceremony in the Lakeside Theatre in Square 5 accompanied by an adult. The ceremony will be screened 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.

Bringing pets to Graduation

We love animals but sadly, only service dogs are able to attend the ceremonies and receptions.

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. Children under five are welcome to watch the ceremony in the Lakeside Theatre so long as they are accompanied by an adult.

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 & 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 made by 5pm on Friday 17 March for our Spring Graduation and 5pm on Friday 14 July for our Summer Graduation. If something unexpected occurs after that date, please contact and the Graduation and Awards Team will consider your refund request.

All refunds for cancellations requested prior to the refund deadline, will be processed after Graduation when the University's Income Section will arrange to reimburse you via your original payment method. In exceptional circumstances, a cheque can be issued and sent to a Graduands permanent home address, unless an alternative address has been provided. It is very important that you keep your home address up to date via MyEssex.

Refunds 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.

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 . Postgraduate research students, who have not had their award conferred upon them ahead of their Graduation ceremony, will also receive a refund after the ceremonies have taken place.

The Academic Registrar may, in exceptional circumstances, approve a refund in respect of cancellation requests received after the deadline.

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. More information on deferrals and the grounds for making a request can be found in our Graduation Booking terms and conditions (.pdf). Please read this information before submitting a request for deferral.

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.

Accommodation for guests

There is no accommodation available on our Colchester campus for our Spring Graduation ceremonies.

Help with graduation costs

If you’re having financial difficulties, we may be able to help you with the cost of attending your Graduation. The University’s Graduation Assistance Fund is available to students experiencing financial difficulties who 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 2023

The deadline for applications to the Spring Graduation 2023 Assistance Fund has now passed and no further applications will be accepted.

Summer Graduation 2023

Our website will be updated shortly with information on how and when to apply for the Summer Graduation 2023 Assistance Fund.

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.

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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