Attendance and eligibility


Joint degree students

Joint degrees are administered by your 'home' department and you will attend the ceremony for this department.

For example, if you are studying a joint degree such as History with Politics then your ‘home’ department would be History and not Government.

Taught students can check which department they belong to by accessing MyEssex and selecting 'Education' and then 'My scheme for this year'. Your Programme Specification will then detail the name of your home department.

Deferring Graduation

Under normal circumstances, it is not possible to defer your graduation. All students who have either completed their award or are due to complete their award and meet the eligibility criteria will be invited to attend the relevant Graduation ceremonies in either Spring or Summer.

In exceptional circumstances, you can submit a request for deferral. Please read our guidance on deferrals in the Graduation Booking terms and conditions (.pdf) before submitting a request.

Can I choose which ceremony to attend?

No, you must attend the Graduation ceremony for your Department, School or Centre.

In exceptional circumstances, you can submit a request for deferral. Please read our guidance on deferrals in the Graduation Booking terms and conditions (.pdf) before submitting a request.

Ceremony attendance

If you are unable to make your ceremony date you cannot change to a ceremony taking place at a different time or date, as you must attend the ceremony relevant to your course. However, you may be able to defer your ceremony to the next Graduation period. Our policy is to allow a deferral in cases of circumstances outside a Graduands control which prevents them attending on the day such as illness. Please contact The Graduation & Awards Team by emailing to discuss this option.

However, you do not need to attend a ceremony and if you wish to you can graduate in absentia which means in your absence.

All uncollected award certificates will be posted to your permanent home address after the Graduation ceremonies have taken place. It is very important that you keep your permanent home address and external email address up to date via MyEssex. Alternatively, if you live locally you can contact The Graduation & Awards Team by emailing to arrange collection or nominate a person to collect the certificate on your behalf from our Colchester Campus.

Booking your place at Graduation

If you wish to attend a ceremony, you must book your place by using our online booking system. Dates for when booking phases will open will be published alongside our ceremony schedules and emailed to all eligible Graduates.

If you do not have a ticket to graduation, you cannot attend. Tickets are subject to availability and are sold on a first-come first-served basis. If you wish to attend your ceremony but it has sold out, contact the Graduation & Awards Team who will be able to advise on the options available to you.

What if my ceremony sells out?

Tickets are subject to availability and are sold on a first-come first-served basis. If you wish to attend your ceremony but it has sold out, contact the Graduation & Awards Team who will be able to advise on the options available to you.

Cost of graduating

Some Universities do not charge for guests to attend their Graduation celebrations, however, many like Essex do. We review the costs regularly and always work to keep them as low as possible. We also work with the suppliers of gowns, photography and other services to maximise the benefit to our Graduates and maintain low costs.

Gown hire

If you attend the ceremony you will be required to wear an academic robe, this needs to be hired form our official gown provider (the Graduate Gowning Company) and will incur a charge.

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.

Guest tickets

In the first phase of the online booking system, each student can purchase up to two tickets at a cost of £25 which will admit guests to the Graduation ceremony in the Ivor Crewe Lecture Hall and entrance with you to the departmental reception, which includes light refreshments. 

All the revenue generated from guest ticket sales is invested into providing the best Graduation experience possible for our graduates.

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.

You must meet the eligibility requirements to be considered, please read the full eligibility criteria for the Graduation Assistance Fund, prior to submitting your application. We will be in contact with all students eligible to attend a graduation ceremony to confirm the process for applying to the Graduation Assistance Fund.

Successful applicants will be allocated up to two guest tickets for their Graduation ceremony and have an academic gown ordered for them – there is no cash alternative. Successful applicants who have already purchased their guest tickets and/or their academic gowns, will be refunded via their original payment method as soon as possible after the ceremonies have concluded.


You must have been awarded either the qualification you were originally aiming for or an exit/alternative award which entitles you to Graduation, such as a Diploma of Higher Education. If your award is not one which allows you to attend Graduation, such as a Certificate of Higher Education, this will be stated in our Board of Examiners outcome email.

Exam results

If you haven't received your exam results before bookings for Graduation open you should still log on and book your place. You will receive an email confirming which ceremony you are invited to attend and when booking for your ceremony will open.

Once booking is open, you must login to the Online Booking System to confirm your attendance and book your guest tickets (up to a maximum of two during Phase 1).

All tickets are sold on a first-come-first-served basis and some ceremonies sell out fast. If you wait until your exam results are released, you may be unable to confirm your attendance or get any guest tickets.

You may only attend Graduation if you have had your award conferred and your award entitles you to attend, this will be stated alongside your results. Once your results are released, if you are no longer eligible to attend Graduation, you will be automatically refunded for any guest tickets you have purchased. This refund will be processed after the ceremonies have taken place.

If you are unsure what your Exam Board outcomes mean and whether you can attend Graduation, please contact the Undergraduate Exam Boards Team or Postgraduate Exam Boards Team as appropriate.

Graduating with an appeal in progress

Until your appeal is concluded, your eligibility to graduate is determined by your published examination results.


If you are a postgraduate student and your published result was to be awarded a Diploma, you can attend Graduation and be granted a Diploma. If your appeal is subsequently upheld and you were awarded a Masters degree, you would receive a replacement certificate on return of the Diploma certificate. You would not be invited to attend another Graduation.


If you are an undergraduate student who has been awarded a degree but is appealing against the class, there is no impact upon your attendance at Graduation. The class of the degree is not published or read out, but you would receive a new award certificate if an appeal was upheld.

Unpaid debts

You will not be able to attend the graduation ceremony if you are still in debt to the University on the day of your graduation. This is regardless of whether your debt is educational or non-educational.

If you are in debt to the University, you will still be able to book to attend, but will not be able to collect your tickets until your debt is cleared.

You can clear your debt any time up to, and including, the day of your ceremony via:

  • MyEssex
  • phoning our Income Team: +44 (0)1206 872372
  • In person at the Cash Desk on the First Floor of the Silberrad Centre

If you do not clear your debts until after Graduation takes place you will not be invited to a future Graduation. Your certificate will be available once the debt has been cleared.

Please refer to the University's Student debt policy (.pdf). 

Pending disciplinary hearings

If a disciplinary case is ongoing or outstanding your award will not be conferred and you will not be able to attend Graduation. Please refer to the University's Regulations relating to Academic Affairs (6.28).

Thesis submission - deadline (research students)

The deadline for postgraduate research students to submit their thesis to the Research Repository in order to join Summer Graduation will be published in due course.

Research students must have had their award conferred upon them in order to attend a Graduation ceremony. Students will receive confirmation of this in writing from the Postgraduate Research Education Team once they have submitted copies of their thesis to the Research Repository. Please ensure that you visit the Student Services Hub on the first floor of the Silberrad Student Centre during their opening hours to check that your attendance at Graduation can be processed in time.

Students who do not manage to have their award conferred upon them before their Graduation ceremony will receive a refund in August for any guest tickets purchased. If a refund on gown hire is required, then students should contact the University's official gowning company.

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Graduation and Ceremonies
Telephone: 01206 872174
Awards and Award Documents