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.

Graduate with arm round guest having photo taken

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.

Alcohol is not permitted in the Octagon Centre and anyone who appears to be under the influence of alcohol will not be permitted entry.


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. 

Please do not make travel arrangements for guests who do not have tickets as we will not be able to accommodate them. 

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 accessibility requirements. Induction loop facilities are available in the hall 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

Ceremonies will be live streamed on our website. The stream will go live 30 minutes prior to the start of each ceremony. 

The recordings will be available to view afterwards for a limited amount of time. 

For January and July graduation in 2024, the ceremonies will also be live streamed in the Students' Union building. No tickets are required.

Souvenir programme

Graduation programmes are free of charge and copies are available in Convocation Hall, Octagon Centre for all graduands and guests.

On-the-day information

Door opening times 

Doors will be opened approximately 40 minutes prior to the start time of the ceremony, 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. 

Guests with children

Children attending the ceremony over the age of three must have a ticket. We respectfully request that children who become restless during proceedings are taken out of the hall.

Due to health and safety restrictions, prams 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 the view of other guests isn't obstructed. Tripods and other equipment are not permitted.

Movement during the ceremony

Wherever possible, guests are requested to remain seated for the duration of the ceremony. Guests leaving the hall may be asked to wait until a suitable break in proceedings before being allowed re-entry.

Ceremony length

We expect each ceremony to last between 60 and 90 minutes. The duration of the ceremony depends on the size and whether there is an honorary degree.

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.


A global reputation

Sheffield is a research university with a global reputation for excellence. We're a member of the Russell Group: one of the 24 leading UK universities for research and teaching.