We often get asked to explain the difference between a graduand and a graduate - At the beginning of the graduation ceremony, you will be a graduand which means that you have passed all the examinations required for a particular award and therefore will be eligible to graduate. By the end of the ceremony you will have become a graduate of the University as the Chancellor will have conferred your award and your degree certificate will be given to you. It is not until the Chancellor admits you into the University Convocation that you are an official graduate of Aston University.
The ceremony begins with the entry of the procession. You should stand as the procession music begins and remain standing until the Chancellor declares the congregation ‘open’.
In addition to your degrees, the University often confer Honorary Degrees. These are usually presented at the beginning of the ceremony.
Your guests may take photographs or film during the ceremony, but only from their seats. All aisles and gangways to be kept clear at all times due to Health and Safety regulations.
Presentation of awards
When the presentation of awards begins, the Marshals will signal to one row at a time to file out from their seats. IT IS IMPORTANT THAT YOU REMAIN IN THE CORRECT ORDER.
When your name is called, walk across the stage and shake hands with the Chancellor who will say ‘I admit you’. Some people may choose not to shake hands for religious reasons, and this will have been noted if this applies to you, then you should keep your hands behind your back when approaching the Chancellor. Men should bow or nod and women bow, nod or curtsy. Leave the stage, collect your degree certificate and return to your seat.
Feel free to applaud your fellow graduands as their name is read out and they collect their certificate! However, the University does not encourage whistling and shouting out from the audience as the procedures are very much that of a traditional ceremony - anything apart from applause will spoil the occasion.
Female graduands wear caps all the time. PhD and DSc graduands doff their caps when approaching the Chancellor. Other male graduands wear caps only when in procession (please your cap on your seat when you go up to the stage).
End of the ceremony
At the end of the ceremony stand for the National Anthem and remain standing while the Academic Procession leaves the platform. The Marshals will then instruct you to file out a row at a time to follow the Academic Procession out of the Auditorium.
Males need to put their caps back on when joining the procession.