Get ready to Graduate!

Graduation is undoubtedly the pinnacle of your University career. It’s a busy day with lots going on, so here are some handy hints and tips to help you make the most of your big day.

Graduation ticketsWho needs a ticket?

Only your guests need a ticket each – Graduating students don’t.

Where / when to collect tickets

By now, you should have ideally ordered tickets already for your guests online – you now just need to collect them. Ticket collection takes place in the Palatine Centre all day on Friday 23 June. You should collect tickets then if possible. However, tickets can also be collected on the day of your graduation ceremony, from the marquee on Palace Green.

What to wear, dress smartly (beware high heels on cobbles and grass!)

Firstly, dress smartly and appropriately – if you want to stand out, let it be for the right reasons! Secondly, it will be a long day – make sure you wear clothes (and in particular shoes!) in which you’ll be reasonably comfortable.  Check the weather forecast and bring coats/umbrellas etc as appropriate. Palace Green is on a hill so can get quite windy. The Cathedral is an old, stone building and can often by chillier inside than outside.


What to bring, you don’t need much – just don’t forget your camera!

Congregation cameraYou really just need to bring yourself – but don’t forget your guest tickets, your phone/camera and your purse/wallet. Bags (other than small handbag style bags) will not be permitted inside the Cathedral and any bags taken in may be subject to a search.  Please avoid bringing baggage with you.  If you just leave them somewhere then they’ll be removed and given to the police (yikes!)

Make sure you allow plenty of time to collect your gown, get lined up, etc. Be at Castle at least 1hr 10mins before your ceremony

Graduation Great HallMake sure you know what time your ceremony starts, subtract 1 hour and 10mins and that’s the time you need to be at the Castle. This is because all graduands have to be in graduating order before entering the Cathedral – to make sure you walk on to the stage when your name is called out. Set a reminder on your phone for 15 mins or so before that to make sure you’re not late. If you are late, it’s likely you won’t be admitted to the ceremony. Allow at least another hour before that to collect your gown, do photos etc. You will not be the only student wanting to pick their gown up at that time so there may well be a queue.

Bring an umbrella – just in case it rains!

Grauation umbrellaIt may be summer but you’re still in the UK (and in the northern half) – rain is possible at any time. Check the weather forecast on the morning so you can come prepared.

Arrange where to meet family and friends after leaving the Cathedral

Graduatin babyThere will be a lot of people in the Cathedral for each ceremony – several hundred – not to mention all of the people milling around Palace Green when you come out. Locating each other can be difficult if you’re just wandering around in the crowd, so make sure you’ve made specific arrangements (before you go to the Castle) about where and when to meet after the ceremony. If in doubt, meet at the congregation information point on Palace Green.

Help and advice on Palace Green

Graduation flowersWe have a number of student ambassadors on Palace Green who are very happy to answer any questions on the day.

Don’t miss the Congregation Fair in the marquee

Lots of exciting things happen at the fair in the marquee. Official photos are taken there (you can get them done before or after your ceremony), you can pick up a DVD or bluray of your ceremony as well as other official Durham merchandise and enjoy the refreshments on offer.

Visit the Alumni stand in the marquee to stay in touch

Graduation marqueeWhen you leave the Cathedral at the end of your congregation ceremony, you will be a Durham alumna/alumus and will remain so for all time. As well as enabling you to stay in touch with your university and receiving invitations to numerous reunions and other events, staying in touch with the alumni association can provide amazing networking opportunities – both personal and professional. The Durham Alumni and Careers Centre will also be there to offer information and advice about life after graduation.

Get a DU souvenir (teddy bear, bag, tie, sweatshirt, etc)

Graduation bearThere’s a great range of merchandise on sale to remind you of your time at Durham – and no Durham graduate should be without a Durham University teddy bear either in its own palatinate jumper or potter-style gown and mortar board.

Share your photographs on social media #DUCongregation

Graduation familyShare your photos as much as you can. In so doing, you’ll create a wealth of images for your fellow graduates, friends and family to enjoy. We’ll also be able to use them to enable future graduands to enjoy their big day as much as you’ve enjoyed yours.


Don’t be nervous and enjoy your day!

Graduation familyRemember – It’s YOUR big day and you’ll only do it once. Walking onto the stage in the Cathedral and shaking hands with the Chancellor in front of everyone may seem daunting, but it’s great fun and you’ll wonder afterwards why you were ever worried. So just relax and make the most of every second of this momentous occasion.

Congratulations to all our students Graduating 2017 – we wish you every success for the future!

Graeme Hutchinson

Graeme Hutchinson

International Assistant, International Office
I’ve marshalled at Congregation since I began at the University nearly 3 years ago. I’m now Head Marshal in the nave andbeen through about 30 ceremonies. It’s always a great occasion!

Fun fact: I make a mean vegan lasagne!
Graeme Hutchinson

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