On the day - undergraduate graduation

Everything you need to know about what happens on the day of graduation.


Travel and venue

Octagon Centre
University of Sheffield
Western Bank
S10 2TN

We recommend using public transport or park and ride to get to graduation as parking on campus is limited. We suggest using the following car parks if you are travelling by car: 

Disabled parking spaces for blue badge holders are available in QPark, Durham Road.  Blue badge holders can also park on double yellow lines for a maximum of 3 hours providing there are no loading restrictions and the vehicle is not causing an obstruction. Please ensure the blue badge and parking clock are displayed. See Sheffield City Council for more details.

The safety of visitors to the University is our highest priority. With this in mind, the following procedures are in place at the venue:

  • Bags will be searched. 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. There will be person searches on entry. 
  • Anyone who appears to be under the influence of alcohol will not be permitted entry.

Arrive as near as possible to the published opening times, bearing in mind that security checks take place. 

Accessibility and support

We are committed to making graduation inclusive and accessible for all our graduands and guests. If you have accessibility or support requirements, detail these in the appropriate section of the registration form and we will do our best to ensure suitable arrangements are put in place. 

Alternatively, you can email graduation@sheffield.ac.uk and we will be happy to talk through the options available to you.  Please give us sufficient notice to put arrangements in place

Ceremony and robing venues
The Octagon Centre is accessible by ramp and has lifts and accessible toilet facilities.  More detailed information can be found on AccessAble.

Items such as mobility scooters and pushchairs should be left in the cloakroom once guests have taken their seats as it is not possible to store them in the ceremony hall.

Robing is on Level 4 of the Students’ Union.  The building is accessible by level access and contains lifts and accessible toilet facilities.  The Octagon centre can be access from the Student’s Union via the link bridge. More detailed information can be found on AccessAble.

Gender neutral toilets are located in the Students’ Union Building, next door to the Octagon Centre.

The Students’ Union Building (Level 2) has a Prayer Room with Wudu facilities.

Parking information can be found under travel and venue. 

What happens in the ceremony

Before the ceremony

  • Graduands need to be in their allocated seat 40 minutes prior to the ceremony start time. University marshals undertake student registration from seats in the hall. 
  • Graduands sit in the two front blocks, seat numbers are on tickets.
  • Guests have seats in the remainder of the hall.
  • University staff stewards will be in the hall to assist graduands to their seats if necessary.
  • There will be a keepsake graduation programme on all graduands seats. Programmes for guests can be found in the dispensers around the hall.

During the ceremony

  • Ceremonies last between 45 and 90 minutes.
  • Everyone in the hall will be invited to stand, if they are able, for the staff and officers processions. The two processions will make their way on to the platform.
  • The Presiding Officer will declare the ceremony open, ask graduands and guests to be seated and give a few words of welcome.
  • Marshals will direct graduands out of their rows and re-check names. As graduands leave their seat they must ensure they follow the graduand immediately in front of them. Graduands must not change position in the queue.
  • Once graduands are at the bottom of the stairs their names will be checked again. There will also be a member of the Edes and Ravenscroft robing team to check robes.
  • Graduands will ascend a short flight of steps onto the platform (alternative access can be arranged if we are notified in advance). Names will be checked again and then read out by the Presenter. Graduands will proceed across the stage, doff their cap to the Presiding Officer and descend the steps at the other end of the stage.
  • Once off the stage, graduands will be given their certificate (if they have not already received it).
  • Stewards will direct graduands back to their seats.
  • Some ceremonies will have a honorary degree. This is usually presented in the middle of the ceremony.

After the ceremony

  • After all students have graduated, the Presiding Officer will deliver a closing speech.
  • Following the speech, the Presiding Officer will declare the ceremony closed, ask everyone to stand if they are able to and the staff and officers processions will depart
  • Once the staff and officers processions have left, Marshals will lead a graduand procession.
  • The graduand procession will lead out to the Octagon Foyer or Octagon Bar area depending on the block. Once in the Octagon Foyer and Octagon Bar area, graduands must leave the Octagon via the main doors and meet guests outside on the concourse. 

Dining and activities on campus

Departmental receptions
Some departments hold receptions before or after the ceremonies. Please contact your department about these.

The Concourse
The Concourse bar will be open throughout the week and there will be live music for graduands and guests to enjoy. 

Students' Union
A full list of what is taking place at the Students' Union, including club nights, will be available soon.

Coffee Revolution and Interval are open all week serving breakfast and lunch options. The Interval also live streams the ceremonies. 

Ceremonies will be live streamed in the Students' Union Auditorium. Tickets are not required. 

Inox Dine
Inox is the perfect place for a special graduation meal on campus. Their graduation menu can be found on their website.

A full list of the University's cafes can be found here.

Honorary graduands

More information coming soon. 

Live stream

Ceremonies will be live streamed through the week here

Purchase your graduation film
Your graduation ceremony will be recorded by the University and will be available for you to purchase on a USB memory stick. You can order your ceremony via the Online Store.

Relay link to auditorium
Each graduation ceremony is relayed live to the Students' Union Auditorium, to enable family and friends without allocated seats to see the ceremony.

This facility may be particularly useful for guests with young children who may not be able to remain seated throughout the ceremony. Seats in the Auditorium are not allocated or ticketed and are available on a first-come-first-served basis.

It should be noted that whilst the Auditorium seats 400 people and does not normally reach capacity, the Events Team cannot be held responsible should seats be unavailable at busy times.

The Auditorium has tiered seating and 10 spaces for wheelchair users.


Graduation doesn’t have to mean goodbye. Once you graduate, you automatically join our worldwide community of over 300,000 alumni (former students) who continue to be an important part of their university.

The Alumni Relations Team will be on hand throughout graduation week to welcome you into the Sheffield Alumni family and help make sure you stay connected after you’ve finished your course. 

The Alumni Team will be based in the Students' Union throughout the week. More details about where to find the Alumni Relations team will be available nearer the time. 

More information on becoming part of the Sheffield alumni network

Wherever you are, the Alumni Relations team can help you to stay in touch with the University, your classmates, and keep you updated with all the latest news from around campus.

You'll also get the chance to attend exclusive events. We'd love to see you there. There are also networking and volunteering opportunities to enhance your CV and share your experiences, so why not become a Sheffield Alumni Volunteer?

A few weeks after graduation, you’ll automatically receive a welcome email explaining about all the benefits and services you can take advantage of, so make sure your personal email address is up to date with us.

Exclusive benefits for alumni include:

  • Library access and borrowing
  • Graduate careers advice
  • Networking opportunities and events in the UK and around the world
  • Discounts for hotels, sports facilities, as well as the University restaurant Inox Dine
  • 10% discount on University of Sheffield Concerts tickets

To find out about all these and more, please visit our Benefits and services page.

Keep in touch via our social media pages




Ensure you have downloaded your e-tickets showing your seat numbers

Before you leave home

Ensure you have a copy of your robe order confirmation

Before you leave home

If you have pre-paid for photographs, ensure you have a copy of your order confirmation

Before you leave home

Bring a supply of hair grips if you wish to secure your hat

Before you leave home

Plan to arrive on campus no later than 90 minutes prior to the start time of your ceremony

90 minutes before ceremony start time

Collect your robe from Uni Central, Level 4, Students' Union

Robing timetable

Have photographs taken


Arrive at the Octagon Centre for your ceremony

Doors to the hall open 45 minutes prior to ceremony start time

Registration in the hall commences

40 minutes before ceremony

Doors to the hall will be closed. Any graduands not seated will be marked as absent and removed from the presentation list. Any untaken guest seats will be reallocated

10 minutes before ceremony

Ceremony commences

Given ceremony start time

Ceremony ends

Ceremonies are approximately 45 - 90 minutes long

Have photographs taken if you did not do this prior to your ceremony


Return your robes to Uni Central


Visit the Alumni Relations stand and collect your free goodie bag, mug and graduate guide

Times to be confirmed