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Your ceremony day

Ahead of your ceremony day, you should have familiarised yourself with the information page for your specific ceremony and therefore have an idea where things will be located at the venue. If you have not read through your information page, see the guidance in Preparing for your ceremony.

On the day

Upon arrival, please first visit the ceremony Registration desks to collect your tickets, presentation card, and souvenir programmes.  You will also be given an information sheet and map to help you find your way around the venue.

Once you have registered and collected your tickets, you can collect your academic dress (if applicable). If you are having official photographs taken, you should then head to the photography studios.

If you have time before the ceremony, do visit the Open University Students Association (OUSA) stand where merchandise will be available to purchase.

You should refer to the information sheet given to you at Registration to find out when the doors will open for you and your guests to take your seats for the ceremony. This is generally 45-60 minutes before the start of the ceremony so will allow you plenty of time to get settled and chat with other graduates before proceedings begin. Please be advised that graduates will be seated together in the auditorium and not with their guests. Graduate seating is arranged in order of qualification group (e.g. Masters / BA / BSc / Diplomas of Higher Education, etc.) and then alphabetically.

During the ceremony

Your degree ceremony will begin with the entrance of the academic procession, led by the Chief Marshal and ending with the Presiding Officer. Once the academic procession is seated on-stage, the Presiding Officer will declare the ceremony open and give their opening address. This is followed by the presentation of graduates and the conferment of honorary degrees (if applicable).

When it is your turn to be presented, you will be guided towards the stage by the marshals and your name will be announced by the Graduate Presenter. You will walk across the stage to briefly meet the Presiding Officer and receive a ceremony tube containing a congratulatory note from the University’s Chancellor.

When honorary degrees have been conferred (if applicable) and all graduates have been presented, the Presiding Officer will address the graduates and then declare the ceremony closed.

Everyone will stand and the Mace Bearer leads the Presiding Officer and procession off the stage. Graduates are invited to follow the procession out of the hall. You will be guided by the marshals.

Photography / filming

Graduates and guests are welcome to take photographs and video during the ceremony but we ask that you do not obstruct the view of others whilst doing so or block aisles or doors.

The Open University reserves the right to film and take photographs at ceremonies, and to use the images on its websites, social media and in its publications.

We film all our degree ceremonies and post the final video on YouTube in the 2 weeks following the event.  If you do not wish to appear in the video of your ceremony, please speak to a member of staff at the Registration desk on the day.

Honorary degrees

The Open University’s Charter includes provision for the Senate to award the Honorary Degrees of Doctor of the University (DUniv) and Master of the University (MUniv). These are given to people who merit special recognition for outstanding achievement and distinction in a field or activity consistent with the values and commitments of the University.

Your ceremony may include the conferment of honorary degrees. During this part of the ceremony, each individual who is to receive an honorary degree is presented to the Presiding Officer by a senior member of the University, who reads a citation describing the graduand’s achievements and the reason for the honorary award.

The Presiding Officer then confers the degree and the new honorary graduate makes a short reply.

For more information on honorary degrees, including a list of previous recipients and guidance on how to nominate someone to receive an honorary degree, please visit our Honorary degrees page.

Social media

We know that graduates and guests at Open University ceremonies love to take photographs and videos and share their special day on social media. If you would like to share these memories with fellow graduates, guests and the wider world, be sure to tag the Open University and use our ceremonies hashtag!

Contact us

The Ceremonies Centre is open and ready to support you.

Ceremonies Centre
PO Box 123
Walton Hall
Milton Keynes
+44 (0) 1908 541079
Mon to Thurs 09:00 - 16:30
Fri 09:00 - 16:00

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