About the ceremony and your Degree
Elements of the Cambridge degree ceremony have their origin amongst the earliest customs of the University, and so the ceremony is still conducted in Latin. Degrees are sometimes conferred by the Chancellor or the Vice-Chancellor, but usually by a deputy, such as the Master of a College.
You are able to have your degree conferred ‘in person’ at a ceremony in the Senate-House or if you do not wish to attend a ceremony your degree can be conferred ‘in absence’.
When you graduate in person, the graduands are led in procession to the Senate-House from Downing by one of our two Praelectors. The Praelector presents the candidates in groups of up to four, to the Vice-Chancellor's deputy, announcing their degrees and declaring that they are worthy to receive them. The Vice-Chancellor's deputy admits the graduand to the degree. The new graduate is then presented with a certificate and immediately leaves the Senate-House to gather on the Senate-House lawn.
If you wish to obtain your degree in absence, your certificate will be posted to your mailing address in CamSIS after the Congregation has taken place. Please ensure that you update this accordingly.
The degree certificate will be made out in your name exactly as it appears in the University records unless evidence of a mistake or of a formal change of name is submitted. Any such evidence should be sent to email@example.com without delay.
Please Note: that photography is not permitted inside the Senate-House and that mobile phones and pagers must be switched off or muted.
For further information about the graduation ceremony visit the University website.
If you are graduating in person at an ordinary ceremony (not the GA ceremony or the ceremony for MA graduands), on the day of your graduation, there is a brief drinks reception in college for you and your Senate-House guests. At this event you register for your graduation and collect the Senate House tickets for your guests. The Praelector will also give a talk explaining how the graduation ceremony works.
You have the option of attending a lunch in College. The Senate House session for Downing is at different times throughout the year so your Lunch may be prior to your graduation ceremony or after it. You, as the graduand are welcome to bring up to four guests to the lunch at a cost of £25.00 per adult, children aged between 7 and 15 years are at a cost of £12.50, children under 7 years are at a cost of £6.25. Your total party size cannot exceed five including yourself. The maximum number of guests varies depending on your degree and the ceremony, please see the information regarding guest numbers on the pages below.
You will need to book your lunch places and list any dietary requirements when you make your booking either via your Camsis self-service page (current students), or Extended Self-Service (ESS, former students). See below for information about graduation booking. Graduation booking and payment for the graduation lunch must be made at least three weeks before the congregation date.
Conferment of degrees at ceremonies throughout the year
If you wish to obtain your degree, the Praelector will be glad to arrange for your degree to be conferred on any of the dates below (subject to approval by the Board of Graduate Studies: for eligibility please see the University of Cambridge website.
Ordinary ceremonies: 25 January, 22 February, 28 March, 25 April, 17 July, 24 October, 28 November (all degrees)
MA Graduation: 16 May (conferment of MAs for Downing 2013 Matriculands and EMBAs)
General Admission, GA: 26 June (BTh, BA, VetMB and BA with MEng or MMath or MSci degrees only)
Ordinary ceremonies: 30 January, 27 February, 10 April, 1 May, 23 July (all degrees)
MA Graduation: 22 May (conferment of MAs for Downing 2014 Matriculands and EMBAs)
General Admission, GA: 2 July (BTh, BA, VetMB and BA with MEng or MMath or MSci degrees only)
Dates for the 2022 Academic year are not yet available.
Please note: although Downing classifies the May ceremony as being for MAs and EMBAs other degrees can also be conferred. However, graduands must be aware that at this ceremony they will be among a large contingent of MA graduands and the lunch provided is a buffet.
Senate House Security Information
To ensure that your visit to the University is as safe as possible, enhanced security procedures have been implemented.
You will not be allowed rucksacks, holdalls, shopping bags or bags larger than 35cm x 25cm into the Senate House or the surrounding grounds. If you bring them to the Congregation/Honorary Degree Ceremony, you will be asked to make alternative arrangements for their storage or may be denied entry to the event. If you need to keep your bag with you, you must seek assistance from a Proctor/Constable who will check contents prior to entry to the Senate House.
Please allow sufficient time for the additional delays this may cause
Graduation booking is through your CamSIS self-service page. For former students please log into CamSIS Extended Self-Service. If you have not already registered for ESS please follow the onscreen instructions on the log in page.
Please note, for students who matriculated before 1980 you will not be able to register for Extended Self Service. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org and request a booking form.
Bookings for the 17 July 2020 ceremony are now OPEN. The deadline for submission of bookings and payment (if applicable) is Friday 3 July 2020 at 12 noon.
Unfortunately all upcoming congregation ceremonies are for those wishing to graduate in absence only.