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Graduations

Regrettably, all degree ceremonies due to take place up to and including August 2021 have been postponed due to the current pandemic.

Graduands affected by this will have received an email from the central University explaining their options regarding conferral of their degrees. Please contact the Development Office if you have questions or concerns about this: degree_day@jesus.ox.ac.uk. Graduands should keep their contact details up to date to ensure that they receive further updates, by logging in to Student Self Service.

Graduands will be informed of any changes that affect them, and we would advise all students to consult the University’s web page on the situation, for the latest general information and guidance:

Coronavirus (Covid-19): advice and updates

As with many things about Oxford, there are countless traditions and technicalities surrounding the Degree Days that may lead to confusion. We’re happy to help guide you on your journey to becoming a graduate, whichever degree you are having conferred.

Please choose the heading below that is most applicable to your personal situation for tailored information about degree conferral. If you have any further questions not covered in these guides, please do get in touch by emailing degree_day@jesus.ox.ac.uk.

At present, there is no update on the arrangements for current final year students. There is also no news regarding rescheduled ceremonies for those whose ceremonies were cancelled due to the pandemic. At present there are no in-person degree ceremonies scheduled for any College. 

When new ceremony dates are announced, graduands may not be presented with many options in terms of available ceremony dates. This is because there will be very high numbers of graduands awaiting a ceremony, and so there will be limited flexibility within the system.

As soon as arrangements for new ceremony dates are confirmed, current finalists and those previously due to attend a cancelled ceremony will be informed.

Research students will automatically receive an email from the University with instructions on how to book their degree ceremony once they have been granted Leave to Supplicate. If you do not receive an invitation within a week of receiving your Leave to Supplicate, please contact the Development Office on degree_day@jesus.ox.ac.uk.

At the present time, it is still possible for research students to book an in absentia degree conferral in the usual way, through the Student Self Service portal. You will receive an invitation to do this as described above. Research students seeking to have their degrees conferred in person should contact the Development Office. 

Please make sure that your contact details on the Student Self Service system are up to date in order to receive the degree certificate at the correct address. If you would like your degree certificate to be posted to a different address, please email us at degree_day@jesus.ox.ac.uk and we will make sure that it is sent to the address you want.

Please note that during the COVID-19 pandemic, the requirement to submit a hard copy of your thesis prior to degree conferral has been suspended. Research graduands must still submit an electronic copy of their thesis by 5 days before the ceremony, or the conferral may be cancelled.

Members of the College who have not booked to attend a degree ceremony within 9 months of completing their degrees are usually classed as ‘historic graduands’. To enquire about degree conferral, please email degree_day@jesus.ox.ac.uk stating:

  • your full name at matriculation
  • date of birth
  • address
  • matriculation year and subject

At the present time, all degree conferrals are taking place in absentia, with degree certificates being sent by post following the conferral.

Agraduate is eligible to have their MA conferred in the following circumstances:

– You matriculated into a BA or BFA more than 21 terms (7 years) ago.

– You have already had your BA or BFA conferred. However, they can be conferred at the same ceremony provided that sufficient time has elapsed since you matriculated.

You cannot have the MA conferred if your undergraduate degree is an undergradaute Masters degree. This includes the following: MBiochem, MChem, MCompSci, MEng, MMath, MMathCompSci, MMathPhil, MPhys, MPhysPhil.

In Oxford (as in Cambridge), the status of Master of Arts is a mark of seniority within the University which may be conferred 21 terms after matriculation. Please note the Oxford MA is a new status within the University and is not an upgrade of your BA or BFA. It, therefore, has no subject or class, and the nominals ‘MA’ should be represented in place of, not in addition to, the ‘BA/BFA’ in the holder’s signature and on documents such as CVs.

Having your MA conferred is not an automatic process. It involves making an application and paying a fee of £40. At present, we can only accommodate in absentia MA conferrals, as the University is not holding any in-person ceremonies.

To apply for your MA please email degree_day@jesus.ox.ac.uk stating:

  • your full name at matriculation
  • date of birth
  • address
  • matriculation year and degree

Members of the College who have fulfilled all the requirements for a degree from the University but have yet to be conferred that degree may graduate in absentia (in absence).

Current students (undergraduate, taught masters and research students) who wish to graduate in absentia can do so by selecting the appropriate option via the Student Self Service system. Please make sure that your contact details on the Student Self Service system are up to date in order to receive the degree certificate at the correct address.

Those who are no longer students or no longer have access the Self Service system, please email degree_day@jesus.ox.ac.uk stating:

  • your full name at matriculation
  • date of birth
  • address
  • matriculation year

Degrees will be conferred at the earliest available graduation ceremony and sent to you by post shortly after.

When are the degree ceremonies?

At present, there are no in-person degree ceremonies scheduled. In absentia ceremonies are still taking place on a regular basis, to enable degree conferrals to continue in some form whilst ceremonies in person are not possible.

How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected degree ceremonies?

All degree ceremonies that were due to take place between May 2020 and August 2021 have now been cancelled. Graduands who were due to have a degree conferred in person during this time will have been given the option to have their degree conferred in absentia, or in person at a future ceremony. The University is currently arranging alternative ceremony dates, and will notify affected graduands once these new dates are confirmed. Graduands who orginally chose to have their degree conferred in absentia can still do so as planned.

I am a student in my final year of a taught course. When will I be able to attend a degree ceremony?

At present, there are no dates for in-person degree conferrals. The central University has made the decision to postpone all ceremonies due to take place up to the end of August 2021. Final year students will be informed by email when there are updates about ceremony dates and the way to book for these. Please be aware that graduands are unlikely to have many options for dates to choose from once booking is possible, due to the extensive backlog of graduands needing degrees conferred.

I am a research student who has just been granted Leave to Supplicate, but there are no degree ceremonies available. What do I do?

If you would like to have your degree conferred in person, please contact the Development Office on degree_day@jesus.ox.ac.uk. This is so that your name gets added to the list of graduands to be notified of new ceremony dates, along with those whose ceremonies were cancelled. Please be aware that this option will involve waiting for an unknown length of time for new ceremony dates to be announced.

If you would like to have your degree conferred in absentia, you can book this through the invite email you have received from the Degree Conferrals Office.

Is the pandemic going to affect when I get my certificate?

Certificates are now being issued as normal following in-absentia ceremonies, although you may experience a delay in receiving this due to disruption within local postal services. If your ceremony has been cancelled or your certificate is delayed in arriving and you need evidence of your qualification, the Degree Conferrals office can provide an electronic degree confirmation letter. Click here to order an electronic degree confirmation letter. It is important to keep your postal address up to date, so that your certificate can be posted to you following degree conferral. Please use Student Self Service to update this:

Access Student Self Service

If you are presented with an error message and unable to log in, please contact the Student Systems support team using the link on the error page.

if you are a historic graduand (who finished their course before Summer 2020) and you need to update your details, please contact us to discuss this further.

What is a Historic Graduand?

A historic graduand is someone who completed their course in the previous academic year or earlier, but has not yet booked a ceremony to have their degree conferred. There is no time limit for having your degree conferred, but we would suggest doing this upon completion of your course, as historic graduands can only be booked onto a ceremony once that year’s finalists have all booked.

What is the non-Christian formula? Does it apply to me?

Members having an MA, DD, DCL, DM or MCh conferred in person are asked to kneel in front of the Vice-Chancellor, who touches them on the head with a Bible. You can opt out of this part of the ceremony, but this must be done in advance when booking your ceremony. You cannot request the non-Christian formula on the day of the ceremony. All other degrees are unaffected by this.

What happens if I have multiple degrees still to be conferred?

All degrees must be conferred on you in order from lowest to highest (e.g. if you want to collect your DPhil, and also have a BA and an MPhil, you must collect your BA and then your MPhil, before you can collect your DPhil).

If you attend a ceremony for your highest degree, you can collect your lower degrees at the same time in absentia. However, you won’t then be able to go back and attend a ceremony for them retrospectively.

Can I attend ceremonies for all of my degrees?

Yes, but you must to do them in order from lowest to highest, e.g. if you want to collect your BA, MPhil and DPhil, you need to first graduate for your BA, then your MPhil, then your DPhil.

Please note that if you attended your BA ceremony in person, you will not be able to attend your MA graduation in person.

When will I know if I have a place at a ceremony?

You will receive an email from the University confirming your place on a ceremony. We expect this to be sent no later than 30 days before the ceremony.

Can I change my mind about wanting to graduate in person or in absentia?

If you are due to attend a ceremony in person and decide to graduate in absentia, please email us at degree_day@jesus.ox.ac.uk as soon as possible.

If you decide you would prefer to graduate in person after initially choosing to do so in absentia, you will have to join a waiting list for a ceremony. Please contact us to discuss this.

How do I cancel my graduation?

If you are a current student with access to the Student Self Service system you may cancel your graduation online at least 60 days before the ceremony. If you are not a current student or wish to cancel your graduation within 60 days of your graduation, then contact us at degree_day@jesus.ox.ac.uk. All cancellations must be made in writing (an email is acceptable), and you cannot ask somebody to cancel on your behalf. Graduands who cancel within 60 days of the ceremony cannot be reallocated to a future ceremony, and your degree will be conferred in absentia.

What happens once I have submitted my request to graduate and I am on the waiting list?

The waiting list works on a ‘first come first served’ basis. There is no guarantee, but we will do our best to fit you in.

You will remain on the requested waiting list until around 2 months before the ceremony, after which, if a place hasn’t been made available, we will contact you regarding alternative dates.

If you are no longer able to attend a date, please let us know by email at degree_day@jesus.ox.ac.uk so that we can remove you from that waiting list.

What happens if I cannot get on a ceremony? Can I be added to another ceremony?

Yes, we can add you to another waiting list. We will add you in chronological order to the dates you have said you can attend.

What should I wear for graduation?

You must wear subfusc, i.e. either a dark suit with dark socks, or a dark skirt with black tights or stocking, or dark trousers with dark socks or dark hosiery.

You are also required to wear black shoes, a plain white collared shirt or blouse, and either a black or white bowtie, a black full-length tie, or black ribbon.

It is also essential that you wear a Commoner’s, Scholar’s or Graduate gown as appropriate. You will be advised on this nearer the date of your ceremony.

Ministers of religion may wear clerical dress, with a gown over, when attending ceremonies.

If you wear a headdress or scarf for religious reasons, this should be black. Members of the armed forces may wear service dress under their gowns.

Please note that graduands cannot take bags or coats with them into the Sheldonian Theatre; these should be given to one of your guests for safekeeping.

Is a matriculation or scholar’s gown different from a graduation gown?

Yes. Many graduands need two gowns for the ceremony, one to wear in to the Sheldonian and the graduation gown to change into once your degree has been awarded. The graduation gown is the gown of your new degree.

How do I hire a graduation gown?

You will be emailed in advance of your graduation with information about hiring your academic gown. The cost of hiring the academic gown and hood is £45. You are also welcome to provide your own gown and hood, should you wish.

What happens if I need disabled access or other special requirements for the day?

If you have any special access requirements for the ceremony or the lunch, please email us at degree_day@jesus.ox.ac.uk.

For guests, there is limited step-free seating available in the Sheldonian. This cannot be booked in advance. Please make yourselves known to the staff at the Sheldonian when you arrive and they will do their best to seat your party together.

The College itself is fully accessible: please discuss your needs with us so that we can make your guests as comfortable as possible.

Any other questions?

Please email us at degree_day@jesus.ox.ac.uk.

Bedel – Ceremonial official attending the Vice-Chancellor at events such as degree ceremonies and Encaenia, and at meetings of Congregation and Convocation. There are four Bedels: of Divinity, Law, Medicine and Arts.

Commoner’s gown – The gown that an undergraduate who does not have a scholarship or exhibition usually wears. The majority of people graduating with a BA/Integrated Masters wear this gown to graduation before changing into their new degree gown and hood.

Congregation – a synonym for the day of a graduation

Dean of Degrees / Deputy Dean of Degrees – The Senior Fellow (or Fellows) responsible for presenting the College’s students to the Vice Chancellor during the graduation ceremony.

Degree conferral – The act of having your degree approved by the Vice Chancellor during the degree ceremony.

Degree Day – a synonym for the day of a graduation

Development – the name of the office at Jesus College that administrates the graduation ceremonies – you can contact them by emailing degree_day@jesus.ox.ac.uk

Doctorate of Philosophy – The PhD is known as the DPhil in Oxford

Graduate gown – The gown worn by student taking postgraduate taught or research courses, as part of sub fusc attire. Graduates typically wear this gown to the ceremony before chaning into the gown and hood of their new degree.

Historic Graduand – A person that has not had their degree conferred despite having completed their course at least 9 months ago. This could be due to a variety of reasons. As current final year students are given preference for the limited number of ceremony spaces each year, historic graduands will often go on a waiting list for their choice of ceremony, being offered a space if one becomes available.

Hood – Each degree carries with it the right to wear a different academic hood. These are usually made of different coloured silks or trimmed with fur and will be presented to you to wear after your degree has been conferred. They are usually only hired for the graduation day, however, those who will be partaking in academic ceremonies regularly may choose to buy a hood.

In Absentia – The act of taking your degree in absence, not being physically present at the ceremony. Your name will still read out at the ceremony and your degree conferred, with the certificate then being posted to you. Most MA’s and historic degrees are taken in absence and some international graduands also choose this option.

Leave to Supplicate – Usually used in reference to research students, this is the official notification from your department that your work has been submitted, assessed and permission has been granted for you to have your degree conferred.

MA – MA is abbreviation of the Master of Arts degree. This is a mark of seniority within the University which may be conferred 21 terms after matriculation. The Oxford MA is represents someone having achieved a new status within the University and is not an upgrade of a BA or similar qualification. MA conferral is only available to BA/BFA graduates.

Matriculation Year – the year that you officially enrolled in the University, the start of your course.

PGCE- Post-Graduate Certificate in Education.

PGR – A student taking a postgraduate research degree.

PGT – A student taking a postgraduate degree that is taught and assessed through examinations and essays rather than a research thesis.

Scholar’s gown – The gown that an undergraduate that holds a scholarship or exhibition usually wears. Some people graduating with a BA/Integrated Masters choose to wear this gown to the ceremony before changing in to their new degree gown and hood.

Sheldonian Theatre – The location of all degree ceremonies.

Sub fusc – Formal attire worn by students and academics on formal academic occasions, including graduation. It is made up of:

  • a dark suit, skirt or trousers
  • a white shirt or blouse
  • a white or black bow tie, black full-length tie or black ribbon
  • worn with a black Commoner’s, Scholar’s or Graduate gown as appropriate, and a mortar-board or soft cap.

Please read the University’s guidance on Academic dress for more information.