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What happens on your Birkbeck graduation day

Graduation is the day every student looks forward to after years of hard work and dedication to their course. We've put together the following step-by-step guide to help our graduating students and their guests prepare for the ceremony and understand what to expect on the day.

A guide for graduating students

Arrive and collect your tickets

  • Please arrive at Birkbeck Central (located in Malet Street, London WC1E 7HY, formerly known as Student Central) approximately two hours before your ceremony is due to begin to pick up your tickets. Remember to bring your final confirmation email from Ede & Ravenscroft and a form of identification on the day. A guest waiting area will be available for your party while you collect your tickets.

  • Face masks are currently required when entering Senate House, unless you're exempt, so please make sure that you and your guests each have a face mask to wear on the day.

Collect your gown

  • Head up to the gowning area in Birkbeck Central to collect your graduation gown and be dressed professionally by a member of the Ede & Ravenscroft team. Make sure you can show your booking confirmation email, either on your phone or printed out.

Have your photo taken

  • Make your way to the photography station where Ede & Ravenscroft's professional photographers will take a photo of you wearing your gown. There are a variety of photography packages available which you can book in advance. If you've already booked a package please be sure to have your confirmation email to show, either on your phone or printed out.

Make your way to Senate House

  • All graduation ceremonies take place in Beveridge Hall at Senate House, the iconic heart of the University of London. Senate House is just a five-minute walk from Birkbeck Central and there'll be ambassadors along the way to guide you and your party. More information about getting to Senate House and the Bloomsbury area.

  • You'll find your name printed on a card on your chair and you must take this with you when you go up to the stage.

  • All attendees must be seated in Beveridge Hall at least 30 minutes before the advertised start time of each ceremony, so please ensure you arrive promptly. Guests will be seated separately from graduands, so bear this in mind if you have dependents.

Walk the stage

  • When your ceremony begins, the Vice-Chancellor, the President, the College Orator, the Registrar and invited academics from your school will enter the hall in a formal procession.

  • Each ceremony lasts around one hour and includes speeches. It may also include the presentation of a new Fellow to Birkbeck.

  • Our ushers will guide you from your seat and line you up beside the stage. Please hand your name card to staff as you approach the stage. Once your name has been read out, you'll walk across the stage and raise your cap in greeting to the Vice-Chancellor and the President before returning to your seat. If you don't wish to raise your cap, you can hold your graduation ceremony programme in both hands when going up onto the stage.

Attend the Graduation reception

  • Our ushers will guide you and your guests out of the hall and into the reception in MacMillan Hall, just opposite Beveridge Hall. It's here that you'll have the opportunity to speak to the Alumni team, purchase graduation merchandise and gifts and have photos with your guests and fellow graduates at the various photo stations. Don't forget to share your photos on social media using #BBKGrad!

Return your gown

  • You'll need to return your gown to Ede & Ravenscroft at Birkbeck Central by 7pm. Before then, take the opportunity to head over to Malet Street for a photo in front of the Birkbeck sign or take a detour through Russell Square and capture the moment as you (carefully) throw and catch your cap!

A guide for guests

Graduation is a proud day for everyone involved, including the family and friends who've supported our graduating students. The information below should answer any questions guests may have. You may also find it useful to check the guide for graduating students above.

If you're not able to attend in person, you can still watch the live ceremony through the live-stream which will be available on the day.

Before the Ceremony

  • Your graduating student will need to arrive two hours before their ceremony is due to begin to pick up their tickets and gown. There will be a guest area where you can wait while they do this. You can then all proceed to the photography studio where you can have professional photos taken by our photographers Ede & Ravenscroft. An hour before the ceremony you should begin to head over to Senate House to take your seats.

During the Ceremony

  • We ask that all guests are seated 30 minutes before the ceremony is due to begin. The ceremony should last for approximately 60 minutes.
    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. Flash photography is not permitted.

After the Ceremony

  • Once the ceremony has finished, our ushers will guide you out of the hall and into the reception in MacMillan Hall, just opposite Beveridge Hall.

Can children attend the ceremony?

  • We do not recommend children are taken to the ceremony, due to the length and formal nature of the event. If children over the age of three are attending the ceremony, they 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.

Dress code

  • There's no official dress code for guests, however the ceremony is a formal occasion and most people choose to dress smartly.

How to find KEY graduation locations

Senate House, Birkbeck Central and other key locations for the graduation ceremonies are covered by information on the main Birkbeck Find us page, along with maps and travel advice.

Where to stay

If you wish to stay overnight before or after your graduation ceremony, there are a number of hotels in Bloomsbury that are just a few minutes walk from Birkbeck Central and Senate House. Local hotels include: