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The University of Southampton

Frequently asked questions

Preparing To Attend Graduation 

When and where will my in-person ceremony take place?

Summer Graduation will take place from Wednesday 19 July to Friday 28 July 2023 at O2 Guildhall Southampton. On Thursday 20 July, Ceremony four will be held at Winchester Cathedral for Winchester School of Art students.

When will further information on my ceremony be available?

More information will become available over the coming weeks on our Graduation webpage. This will be updated regularly with further details including ceremony times once this information is confirmed.

I have deferred my attendance at a previous graduation, will I be invited to attend Graduation?

If you have informed us of your intention to defer when you registered for your Graduation previously, we will contact you to confirm if you will be invited to an upcoming Graduation. If you haven’t informed us about your deferral, please contact us on

How can I register for my graduation?

If you are eligible for Summer Graduation, you will be contacted on Tuesday 18 April when registration opens.

If there have been any changes to your preferred contact details since leaving the university, you can update these in the Alumni Community. We will use that information to double-check that we have the most up-to-date details for graduands ahead of sending out invitations.

I didn’t receive my email to register, what should I do?

If you are eligible for Graduation you will receive an invitation to register via your ‘Preferred Email’, 'Personal Email' and 'University Email' address you have indicated on your Student Record.

If you haven’t received an invitation to register and believe you are eligible, please contact

I no longer have access to my student/alumni email account, how can I get access to register?

To access the registration form please log in with your University of Southampton email and password. If you have trouble logging in, reset your password at This will only be possible if you have provided a secondary email address to be able to authenticate a password reset.

If you have any issues accessing your account that cannot be resolved through the self-service password reset, please phone ServiceLine on 023 8059 5656. You will need your student ID number/university username.

My guests or I require a letter to support a visa application; what should I do?

A letter from the university to support a visa application for you and your guests will be provided to graduands who request this during registration. This letter is worded to include your guests and will be sufficient for them to use when applying for their visas.  

There is a line at the end noting that you may want to bring extra guests. 

We are unable to issue an edited letter as these are issued automatically through registration following regulations.  

For any enquiries regarding the visa application process, refer to UK Visas and Immigration at UK Visas and Immigration - GOV.UK

I am eligible but I cannot attend, do I need to contact someone?

If you cannot attend graduation, please complete the registration form to confirm whether you wish to:

  • Defer your Graduation attendance to a future event, or
  • Graduate in absentia (i.e., not attend this or a future graduation)

Once you confirm your choice, we can update this on your record and remove you from the list for Graduation.

What if I cannot attend a ceremony on the date I have been offered?

If you cannot attend graduation this summer, you have the option to defer to a later graduation or graduate in absentia. These options will be provided in the registration steps. You must complete the registration form even if you do not plan to attend Graduation.

If you choose to defer, you can contact us in the future when you are ready to attend a graduation and we will add you to the waiting list to attend graduation that year.

If I am unable to participate at the scheduled date/time, can I change to another physical ceremony?

Unfortunately, no, each programme in each School has an allocated ceremony and therefore it is not possible to request a change to a different date or time.

Can I graduate under a different name to what is on my degree certificate?

You can only graduate under your legal name which appears on documents of official academic certification. If you wish to update your name on your certificate, which is only allowed in exceptional circumstances, please contact the Certificates team (

How can I check for any outstanding fees that might prevent me graduating?

You can check your most recent statement or contact The Student Hub.

For information about how to pay your outstanding fees, please refer to the Tuition Fees webpage.

What happens if I have submitted an appeal regarding my degree classification?

You should still complete and return your reply form so that we know you are planning to attend. 

The timescales involved are very tight and it is rare for appeals to be fully resolved ahead of the degree ceremonies. Therefore, if your appeal is regarding your degree classification, then we recommend you attend your ceremony.

You should note that this will not prejudice the consideration of your appeal.

If your appeal is subsequently upheld and results in a change to your degree classification, you will be issued with an updated transcript and certificate. Should you wish to attend another degree ceremony you will be permitted to do so - please contact the Exams and Awards office to make the necessary arrangements.

Why I have received an email stating that I am no longer eligible to attend Graduation?

In order to be eligible to graduate you must have successfully completed your programme of study and have no outstanding tuition debt. Your change in eligibility may also be due to withdrawing from your studies or receiving an exit award which is not eligible for Graduation. Please contact The Student Hub to get advice on your situation.

If I have been unawarded and I’m no longer eligible to attend, will the University refund the costs I have incurred?

If you have already placed an order for your gown or photography session, you will receive a refund from our suppliers in due course. This will be done automatically into the bank account that you used to place the order.

Unfortunately, the University is not able to issue refunds for any other costs incurred in relation to attending your Graduation such as travel or accommodation. Students are advised when registering for their Graduation that their attendance will only be confirmed once they have been awarded.

How long do I have to register my place at Graduation?

Registrations will open on Tuesday 18 April.

If you do not respond to the booking invitation but your results are released by the published deadline, your award will automatically be conferred in absentia and your certificate will be available for collection or postage. 

How many guests can I bring, and do I need to pay for tickets?

All registered Graduands will receive two free guest tickets. Graduation will be livestreamed via YouTube, so anybody who is unable to attend in person can watch from most devices.

Some of my guests do not have a ticket, can they still watch my ceremony?

For anyone who does not have a ticket or is unable to attend the ceremony’s at the Guildhall, all graduation ceremonies will be livestreamed.

What to do if I, or one of my guests have accessibility requirements?

When you complete the registration form, there will be a tick box to confirm whether you or your guests have any accessibility / additional requirements. If you tick this box, we will then be in touch with a short form to complete to discuss your requirements in further detail. We will endeavour to accommodate the needs of all graduands and guests. If you experience any difficulties on the day, please alert a member of staff.

Could my ceremony be relocated, postponed, or cancelled in exceptional circumstances beyond the University’s control?

If graduation ceremonies need to be postponed or relocated or cannot take place as planned due to circumstances beyond the University’s control, the Graduation Office will notify all graduands at the earliest possible time and publish notice of the position online.

How much will the Graduation cost?

Tickets to Graduation are complimentary for the Graduand and their two guests. There are charges for booking a gown and a photography slot with our official, external suppliers.

Does the University offer accommodation and travel services?

The University is unable to offer accommodation in hotels and halls of residence for graduands and guests so this must be arranged in advance. We will be providing free shuttle bus travel to Guildhall Square from the Highfield Interchange Bus Station on the days of the Graduation, please note the shuttle bus is only available for ceremonies located at the O Guildhall Southampton.

Where can I find information about gown hire?

All registered Graduands will be contacted about hiring their gowns, caps, and hoods directly from the official gowning supplier during registration. Gown bookings are only available to book once you have registered to attend Graduation.

Where can I find information about photography?

Visit the Photography and Gowning webpage on how to book your photography session.

How do I sign up to the Alumni Community and what does that involve?

Your alumni email account is created automatically by iSolutions when your student account expires – usually three months after you graduate. You will be able to access your student emails through this account. For more details on the Alumni Community and the alumni email service, visit the Alumni webpage.

On the Day

Why has the decision been made to take ceremonies off-campus?

Previous graduation events at the University involved a series of small-scale ceremonies that alternated between the Nuffield Theatre and Turner Sims concert hall. The Nuffield Southampton Theatres organisation shut down its operations at Highfield campus in Spring 2020. Refurbishment works are due to commence and will likely last until late 2023. Because of this, an alternative off-campus venue will be needed.

What is the format of the ceremonies?

Graduation ceremonies will last for approximately 2 hours and include the presentation of each graduand on the stage, where names will be called and handshakes (or equivalent formal gesture) given by a member of the academic platform party. Please note, due to time constraints during the ceremonies, names will not be read out for those graduating in absentia.

Please note that you will not receive your degree certificate the day of your Graduation; this will be posted to you afterwards. If you do not wish to proceed across the stage and have your name called, please contact

Will the University be offering handshakes and reading out names at Graduation?

The ceremony shall include presentation of each Graduand on the stage, where names will be called, and handshakes (or equivalent formal gesture) given by a member of the academic platform party. 

How can I watch the live-stream of the ceremony?

Live-streaming of all ceremonies will be available to watch; we will be making the recordings available online afterwards.  Links to live-streams will be provided closer to the time.

How many guests can I bring?

Each graduand will receive two free guest tickets. In the event that we do have additional guest tickets available, graduands at those ceremonies will be contacted.

Can I bring a young child on the day?

We are unable to allow any children under the age of 4 (3 and under) to Graduation. Any children must have their own ticket and are not permitted to sit on the lap of other guests. When deciding whether to bring a child as your guest we ask you to consider the formal nature of the event and that guests will be required to sit for a long period of time.

Can I bring extra guests without tickets into the Guildhall?

We are unable to allow any guests without tickets to attend the ceremonies in the Guildhall, due to capacity. The ceremonies will be broadcast online for those who are unable to attend.

Is there a dress code for Graduands and Guests?

Graduands should dress smartly for the event and must wear Academic Dress (gown, hood, and cap) which should be hired from Graduation Attire in advance of the ceremony. There is no dress code for guests, although graduation is a formal event.

Will there be reserved parking spaces in or around the Guildhall Square?

Unfortunately, there is no dedicated car parking available to attendees at Guildhall Square.

What COVID restrictions will be in place at the physical ceremonies?

The University takes the safety and wellbeing of its students, staff, and guests very seriously. We want everyone to feel safe and comfortable at the event and will be following all current government COVID restrictions in place at the time of the events.

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