Before you graduate

Everything you need to know to prepare for your graduation. Scroll down for more information or click on the menu below to quickly access the section of your choice. For more information on Graduation Day, visit What happens on Graduation day? If you have any questions not covered, check out our FAQs page.

Register for your ceremony

All eligible students will receive an email when registration is open with an individual link to register for their ceremony. If you are expecting to attend Graduation and have not received an email by mid-March for the July ceremonies, or mid-October for the December ceremonies, please contact the Graduation Team. If you miss the deadline to register, contact the Graduation team to enquire about late registration.

Eligibility

As graduation registration opens before courses are, in many cases, completed and results are confirmed, please note that your eligibility to attend graduation is contingent on completing and passing your course. If you are not awarded your degree for it to be processed by the results board, your registration will be automatically cancelled.

Registration

Lancaster University has a bespoke ceremony management system through which we communicate with eligible students. In our communications, we always include your student number to reassure you that the communication is genuine.

Please note that capacity in the Great Hall is limited. We strongly advise graduands to register as soon as possible after they receive a graduation invitation. Graduand spaces are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis until the capacity in the Hall has been reached. If you are placed on a waiting list for your ceremony and space is not available the week before graduation, we will contact you to ask you whether you wish to attend an alternative ceremony or whether you wish to defer your attendance to the next available ceremony. Please refer to the section 'When will I graduate' for details about which qualifications are awarded at our ceremonies. Please do not wait until you have your results before registering for a ceremony, as there is unlikely to be space available.

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

Name Pronunciations

During your graduation ceremony, we endeavour to pronounce your name as accurately as possible. When completing the graduation registration form, all students are given the opportunity to provide a phonetic pronunciation of their full name. This will be printed on your name card to help the presenter pronounce your name correctly during the ceremony. Should only one of your names need guidance, you only need to fill in the relevant field for that name. You are not required to provide guidance for any names that are easy to pronounce.

We actively encourage students to complete this part of the form, writing their name how it would be said rather than how it reads, especially if your name is often misread or mispronounced. An example of this is: Jane Austen = Jane Oss-ten.

If you have any concerns about your name pronunciation guide, please get in touch. It is important to us that your name will be pronounced as accurately as possible.

Please only provide guidance if people genuinely may have difficulties pronouncing your name.

Name Changes

Gender-Affirming Name Changes

We want to make your graduation day as special as possible and understand that not all students are known by the name by which they are legally registered. If you have not legally changed your name but do not want your previous name to be read out at graduation, please get in touch with us via email. Please refer to the regarding name changes and the processes for updating names on your student record.

Whilst your official degree certificate must be in your legally registered name, we can use your preferred name during the graduation ceremony and in the graduation programme.

Cultural Name Changes

We understand that naming conventions differ across cultural backgrounds, and we can assist in the representation of your name on graduation day. Whilst your official degree certificate must be in your legally registered name as it is an official document, the name announced at graduation upon walking across the stage and printed in the graduation programme can be your preferred name.

Accessibility Requests

When registering to graduate, there is a text box where you can record any access requirements you or your guests may have. We will then contact you before your graduation ceremony to discuss how we can best accommodate these requests.

Throughout your graduation day, there are many ways we can support you and your guests, including:

  • The option for graduands to register for a wheelchair gown should you be a wheelchair user.
  • A ramp onto the graduation stage to make it accessible.
  • Providing a pre-ceremony walk through.
  • An accessible entrance for guests and students to the Great Hall with a dedicated team on hand to help and support with any additional requirements.
  • Allocating appropriate seating in the Great Hall for guests and students who disclose any accessibility or medical requirements.
  • A live broadcast venue that is fully accessible. All students can request up to six live broadcast tickets for any additional guests or guests who may be more comfortable in this venue.
  • Providing additional tickets for carers.
  • BSL interpreters at every graduation ceremony.
  • Providing disabled parking for blue badge holders on graduation day by the Chaplaincy Centre, with parking attendants on hand to assist.

The Great Hall

The accessible entrance is sign-posted and step-free. You will not need to queue to use this entrance. Once you arrive, inform the security guard you are utilising the accessible entrance. They will then point you to a member of our accessibility team who will aid with check-in and seating.

  • The Great Hall is air-conditioned.
  • The chairs do not have arms on either side of the Great Hall.
  • There is space in the foyer for wheelchair users to pass.
  • There are handrails on the stairs down from the stage.
  • There is a hearing assistance loop.

Conferral of Degrees

For many, walking across the stage upon conferral of their degree is the defining moment of their graduation day. We recognise that some students may not wish to greet the presiding officer by shaking their hand upon walking across the stage. Students can acknowledge them in other ways, including touching their hat, bowing their head or placing their arms across their chest.

Dress Code

During graduation, students with religious headwear (turbans, for example) do not need to wear a graduation hat. We advise you to relay your preference to the gowning team either when hiring your robes or on the day itself. Some students may choose to wear traditional dress to the ceremony underneath their robes and we actively encourage this.

Communications

All our communications to students via email are written in an accessible font, which is easily distinguishable. Both the graduation registration page and our graduation pages are also accessible.

Logistics

It takes about 3 minutes to walk between the LICA building and the Great Hall. The surface is flat but slightly bumpy. It is then a further 2 minutes to walk from the Great Hall to the Margaret Fell Lecture Theatre. You will need to utilise either stairs or a ramp to access the building. Please see the map for more information.

The areas around these buildings will be very busy, so you should take this into consideration.

Parking

All parking on Graduation Day is free, and you can find additional disabled parking located by the Chaplaincy Centre. This is a 3-minute walk from the Great Hall and 4-5 minutes from the LICA building, the Round House and Marquee.

Changing Places

The nearest Changing Places accessible toilet is in the LEC building. The toilet is accessible by RADAR key, which can be signed out from the Facilities Helpdesk in University House and the Security Lodge.

The toilet is a 7 minute walk from the Great Hall and 5 minutes from University House.

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Visa applications

Some international students may need to apply for a visa to attend graduation. The University can provide an invitation letter confirming a student's eligibility to attend their ceremony. You will be automatically emailed this letter once you have registered for your ceremony. The University does not provide letters in support of graduation guests' visa applications. The graduating student completes such documents. Further information, together with a template letter to use to support guests' visa applications, is available via Student and Education Services.

Graduating by college

All eligible undergraduate students will graduate by college. Students wishing to change colleges before graduation should apply directly to their College Manager by Friday, February 23, 2024. Please note that college transfers are not guaranteed and depend on the availability of vacancies within the receiving college. Colleges will try their best to accommodate any requests.

Guest Tickets

  • All guest tickets are free of charge.
  • Each graduating student attending a ceremony can request two guest tickets as long as they register by the deadline.
  • All requests for guest tickets must come from the graduating student at registration.
  • If you have more than two guests that wish to join you on campus for graduation, guest tickets are available for our live broadcast venues on campus

Please note that this information is subject to change for any graduation ceremony sessions, and any changes will be fully communicated to eligible students.

  • When requesting tickets, remember to tell us about any of your guests’ access requirements, such as if they use a wheelchair, have limited mobility or need an aisle seat. If we are not informed in advance of any requirements, we cannot guarantee that guest seats will be suitable.
  • The doors to the Great Hall will open 45 minutes to 1 hour prior to the ceremony, with all guests asked to take their seats 30 minutes before the ceremony starts. Guests with tickets who have not taken their seats 30 minutes prior to the ceremony starting, may have their seats re-allocated to guests without tickets.
  • We guarantee two guest tickets to every graduating student who registers to attend their ceremony by the advertised registration deadline.
  • Guests without Great Hall tickets can watch the graduation ceremony on big screens in our live broadcast venues, or a number of other locations across campus.
  • Guest seating will not be allocated, to minimise the need for additional movement amongst guests.

Tickets for children

  • Children six years and under can sit on the lap of a registered guest – but you must let us know that you are planning to do this when registering for tickets so we can allocate you appropriate tickets (there is a box on the registration form).
  • Any children aged seven and over will require a standard guest ticket to gain entry to the Great Hall.
  • Buggies, prams and other child seats (including portable car seats) are not allowed in the Great Hall and should be left outside the Great Hall, or in the cloakroom.
  • If you are bringing children who may not be able to sit quietly, please be prepared to leave the auditorium if they become restless.
  • Young children may be more comfortable watching the ceremony at an alternative location on campus where the ceremony is shown, such as the Big Screen in Alexandra Square, the Marketplace, or in one of the live broadcast locations.
  • Unfortunately, we are unable to provide any childcare services specifically for graduation.

Returning guest tickets

If you are unable to attend graduation, please let us know as soon as possible. Guest tickets are not transferable and will be invalid if given to another student. Guest tickets that are returned are then re-allocated to students who have not received any guest tickets.

Live broadcast

For each ceremony, there is a fully staffed and accessible venue screening the ceremony. In July 2024, this will be the Margaret Fell Lecture Theatre. The live broadcast venue will also have copies of the printed Graduation Programme.

In addition to the live broadcast venue, many other places on campus show the graduation ceremonies, including the big screen in Alexandra Square, the Marketplace (which is an informal setting with access to food and drink), and some college bars. Ceremonies are also streamed live on YouTube.

Academic dress

In keeping with the academic nature of the occasion and ceremonial tradition, all students attending graduation must wear the correct academic dress, along with the hood for their degree.

Gowns, hoods and hats are different in shape and colours depending on the degree obtained.

To ensure you wear the correct robes, you should book it with our official academic gown supplier, , once you have registered for your graduation ceremony.

Lancaster University Academic Dress

Book your graduation gown

Once you have registered for your graduation ceremony, you should book your robes with our official academic gown supplier, . If you wish to hire your robes beyond the ceremony or purchase it, there are options to do so on the booking form. Further information is available at , or you can contact them on service@graduationattire.co.uk or call them on 01234 673001.

You should hire your academic dress in advance. The deadline for booking your robes for July 2024 will be 3rd June 2024. You will still be able to book your gown after this date, but you will be charged a late booking fee.

Dress code

Graduation is a formal occasion and you should wear smart clothes for your graduation ceremony; jeans, shorts and trainers are not acceptable.

The academic gown and hood will be worn on top of any other clothing. Normal wear under gowns is a suit and tie, or a dress, or skirt/trouser and shirt combination. You may want to wear a shirt/dress with buttons, as your hood can be attached to a button, but all hoods are also able to be secured without a button. Graduands are also welcome to wear their national dress or other cultural dress and decoration.

Please also ensure you wear appropriate footwear for walking up and down the stage steps. Graduation day can include significant periods of standing and walking between graduation venues.

Please note

We have been notified of at least one company falsely claiming to offer official academic dress for Lancaster University's graduation ceremonies. Please be aware that Graduation Attire is our recommended supplier of academic dress for these events. Other suppliers of academic dress are available.

Graduands must wear academic dress which abides by Lancaster University's Academic Dress scheme. Those not in correct academic dress will not be permitted to cross the stage.

Plan your travel and accommodation

As soon as the date and time of your Graduation is confirmed, you may want to start planning your travel and accommodation plans.

Lancaster has limited accommodation, and places fill up quickly.

Lancaster is approximately 1 hour from Manchester and 2.5 hours from London by train.

Accommodation

There is a range of accommodation options in Lancaster including our rooms on campus.

On-campus guest rooms

We have a large number of guest rooms on campus, with a mix of single, twin and double rooms, all of which offer Wi-Fi, tea & coffee and complimentary toiletries. Breakfast is available for on-campus guests in either the Marketplace or Barker House Farm and with a range of bars and cafes on campus, you don't have to step foot off campus for a meal or refreshments.

Visit the for information on guest rooms on campus.

Lancaster House Hotel

is a 4-star hotel situated next to the University campus. There are several room types available depending on your requirements.

Other options

You can search for other hotels, B&Bs, and self-catering options in Lancaster via the website for

Travelling to Lancaster

By rail

Lancaster train station is approximately 1 hour from Manchester Airport and approximately 2.5 hours from London. A taxi to campus from the train station takes approximately 15-20 minutes, or buses depart from the city centre to campus regularly. The number 4 bus goes from the station to campus but can take over 30 minutes. The main bus station is a 5-minute walk from the train station, where there are more frequent and direct buses to campus.

By bus

Numerous buses operate between Lancaster City Centre, Preston, Galgate and the University underpass. Visit the Bus and Coach Travel page for more information including route maps and timetables. Bus departures are also shown in the iLancaster App.

Taxi

If you are staying locally, you may prefer to get a taxi to campus. Taxis can drop off or pick up near the Chaplaincy Centre, which is a short walk to LICA and the Great Hall. There are numerous local taxi firms, but we advise you to pre-book your return journey as they can get busy. More information on taxis.

By car

Leave the M6 motorway at Junction 33 and take the A6 north towards Lancaster. Please follow directions for Alexandra Park (south end of campus), turn right at the second set of traffic lights on the A6 into Barkers Drive and turn left at the roundabout into Alexandra Park Drive. Use the postcode LA1 4WA in your SatNav.

Parking on graduation day

On graduation day the parking zones are lifted, and visitors can park in any standard marked space (including those marked as staff parking). Please note that only cars with Blue Badge can park in a disabled parking space, and only electric cars should park in electric car charging spaces. Additional disabled parking is available at the Chaplaincy Centre.

Please note that parking on graduation day is limited, and while we make every effort to accommodate our visitors, the campus can be very busy. Make sure to give yourself time to find a space, or consider taking public transport to campus.

Dedicated graduation parking is located in , please enter via the (Postcode LA1 4WA). On your arrival into Alexandra Park, please follow the directions of the parking marshals who are in place to safely direct you around campus and into a parking space. On parking, please ensure that you have occupied a marked-up bay, or have parked where directed to by the marshals. You can then catch one of the graduation shuttle buses provided by Stagecoach to the , where you'll collect your robes. Parking is free on graduation day.

Access to North Campus on graduation day will be limited to passenger pick-up and drop off at the , and blue badge parking. If you park in a disabled parking space, you must display a valid blue badge. North Drive by LICA, and Bowland Avenue by the Chaplaincy Centre are the closest areas to the Great Hall with blue badge spaces. If there are no blue badge spaces, speak to the parking marshals at the Chaplaincy Centre for assistance. You may wish to drop off guests at the Chaplaincy Centre and then park in another available space.

Getting around campus - graduation shuttle buses

When you have parked your car, please follow the campus signage to North Campus (Great Hall and LICA). There will also be free shuttle buses from Stagecoach that will circle the campus. The main pick up/drop off stops will be in Alexandra Park and North Drive by LICA. On graduation day, you will also be able to take any Stagecoach bus to and from campus locations for free (ie from the Lancaster University Bus Station to Alexandra Park).

If you are directed to park in the overflow car park, you can catch a bus from outside the Sports Centre to take you up to Lancaster University Bus Station, which is then a 3-5 minute walk to the Great Hall or LICA.

Please see our or our exciting to locate the various parking areas and graduation venues.

Exploring the region

While you are here, why not explore the city of Lancaster and the surrounding coast and countryside?

Browse to learn more about what to See and Do in this beautiful city, or to discover Morecambe Bay with its stunning coastal views and incredible countryside.

Merchandise available at the Visitor Centre, picturing decorated mugs.
Image Credit: Robin Zahler

Attend your on-campus celebrations

In the July graduation session, college celebrations are planned for undergraduates and faculties arrange celebrations for graduating PhDs

In the December graduation session, faculties and/or departments may hold celebrations.

More details will be confirmed closer to your ceremony date.

Graduation photography and memorabilia

Professional portrait photography

Lancaster University's Creative Studio is our official graduation photographer. We are one of the few UK universities that don’t use an external company, which means we have some of the lowest prices for graduation photography.

Graduation Photography

Our photography area in LICA can be busy directly before and after your ceremony, so check out your ceremony timetable for suggestions of when it may be less busy.

Full details of Graduation photography is available at Creative Studio's website.

In ceremony photos

During the ceremony, our photographer captures the moment when you meet the Presiding Officer. 6x8 prints in a University mount are available to view and purchase shortly after the ceremony. In July, these are sold in the graduation marquee, and in December they are available in the LICA foyer.

These photos are can be purchased on the day of graduation, or by contacting the Creative Studio after the ceremony.

College photos

During July graduations your whole college will gather for a group photograph. Please check the timetable of college photographs, as your photo may be scheduled before your ceremony.

If your college photo is before your ceremony, please ensure you collect your gown at least 1 hour prior to this. If your photo is directly after the ceremony, please proceed directly to Lancaster Square after the conclusion of your ceremony for the photograph, and arrange to meet your guests in Lancaster Square.

Ceremony recordings

Lancaster’s ceremonies are professionally captured and recorded by Iamgraduate. If you wish to purchase a recording of your ceremony as a keepsake of your day, you can do so on their dedicated website: . Products include DVDs, BluRays, recordings on memory sticks and personalised clips of students crossing the stage.

Lancaster University and colleges memorabilia

There is a wide range of memorabilia available to . There are Lancaster University items as well as college-specific products available including hoodies, mugs, ties, badges and T-shirts.

Lancaster University Alumni: Friends for life

On your graduation day, you can receive a free Lancaster University alumni t-shirt from the Alumni team. If you’re not attending graduation you can still

Visit the alumni stand in the Round House Building to collect your welcome pack and t-shirt. As Lancaster Alumni, you will belong to a fantastic community of over 170,000 fellow graduates from around the world in 180 countries. Find out more about the Alumni Network.

To learn more about your day of Graduation, including timings and what the running order of the ceremony visit our 'What happens on Graduation Day?' page.

What happens on Graduation Day?

Not sure when your Graduation is? Visit our 'When will I Graduate?' page

When will I Graduate?

If you have any questions not covered here, please get in touch with the Graduation Team by emailing ceremonies@lancaster.ac.uk