Information for guests
Graduation is a proud day for everyone involved. The information below should answer any questions you may have regarding this special day.
Preparing for graduation day
We look forward to welcoming you to The University of Sheffield. Below you can find information on how to prepare for your loved one's graduation ceremony.
- Dates and times of ceremonies
Visit our Dates of upcoming ceremonies page.
- Venue, travel and parking
Graduation ceremonies are held in Convocation Hall, The Octagon Centre, with related activities for graduands and their guests (such as gown hire and photography) taking place in the Students' Union next door. The Octagon Centre and Students' Union can be found at map reference D4 (118) and E4 (120) respectively on the Campus Map.
We strongly advise planning to arrive on campus at least 90 minutes before the start time of the ceremony.
The safety and security of visitors to the university is our highest priority. With this in mind, there will be person and bag searches on entry.
No bag larger than a small handbag will be allowed into the building. Please do not bring large bags or suitcases to the Octagon Centre. Please be assured that the male and female staff conducting them are trained in-person searches and will conduct them appropriately and with dignity.
We would ask that guests be patient and understand that these heightened security procedures may impact on queue times and/or the prohibition of items permitted in the Octagon Centre.
- Alcohol is not permitted in the Octagon Centre and anyone who appears to be under the influence of alcohol will not be permitted entry.
- Please arrive as near as possible to the published opening times. Please bear in mind that you will need to arrive, robed, at the published time for your ceremony. Graduands will be given priority access to the Octagon Centre.
The graduand you are accompanying will request guest tickets on your behalf when they register for graduation. Each graduand is guaranteed a maximum of two guest tickets for family or friends who wish to attend the ceremony. We recognise that limiting guest tickets in this way may cause disappointment, but you will appreciate that the seating capacity of the hall is limited.
Please do not make expensive travel arrangements for guests who do not have tickets as we will not be able to accommodate them. For details on the allocation of tickets (including extra tickets), please see webpage regarding our ticket policy.
The majority of graduands will be issued with e-tickets which they can view and print. Graduands will be notified by email of the date and time that these will be available.
- Guests with special requirements
Your graduand was given the opportunity to advise us of any special requirements when they registered for graduation. Therefore, suitable seats will be reserved in the hall for guests with disabilities or mobility difficulties. Induction loop facilities are available in the hall for those with hearing impairments and we can also make arrangements for a BSL signer to be available, providing we are advised when the graduand registers for the ceremony.
Due to data protection laws, we cannot confirm to a third party if a graduand has made arrangements. Therefore, please ask your graduand to ensure they have advised us of any special arrangements of this nature.
- Live screening of the ceremonies
If you don't have a ticket to the ceremony but would like to join in the celebrations on the day, you can watch the ceremony live in the Auditorium in the Students' Union, where the atmosphere is informal and no tickets are required. The venue is fully accessible with space for 10 wheelchairs.
Each ceremony is also broadcast live online, enabling you to watch from anywhere in the world. The stream will go live 30 minutes prior to the start of each ceremony. You can access the stream here.
Please note that these are live broadcasts, not recordings, so will not be available to view afterwards.
- Souvenir programme
Graduation programmes are free of charge and copies are available in Convocation Hall, Octagon Centre for all graduands and guests.
See guidelines below for timelines and procedures for graduation ceremonies.
- Door opening times for guests
Doors to guests will be opened approximately 30 minutes prior to the start time of the ceremony, or as soon as possible once all graduands are seated. Guests should be in their allocated seats 10 minutes before the start of the ceremony.
Doors to the hall will be closed 10 minutes prior to the start of the ceremony. Graduands and guests not seated by this time will not be admitted.
- Guests with children
We do not recommend children are taken to the ceremony, due to the length and formal nature of proceedings. As an alternative, you may wish to watch the ceremony live in the Auditorium in the Students' Union, where the atmosphere is informal and no tickets are required. Children attending the ceremony over the age of three must have a ticket. We respectfully request that children who become noisy or restless during proceedings are taken out of the hall immediately.
Due to health and safety restrictions, prams are not allowed in the hall and should be left in the complimentary cloakroom.
- Photography and film
Guests are welcome to take photographs and record the ceremony but this must be done from your seat so as not to obstruct the view of other guests or interfere with proceedings.
- Movement during the ceremony
Wherever possible, guests are requested to remain seated for the duration of the ceremony.
- Ceremony length
We expect each ceremony to last between 60 and 90 minutes.
- Dress code for guests
There is no official dress code for guests, however the ceremony is a formal occasion and most people choose to dress smartly in accordance with this.
- Graduand/guest conduct
Graduands and guests are expected to behave in a manner fitting for the occasion. Any person who becomes disruptive will be asked to leave the hall.
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