Procedures during the graduation ceremony

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 your award will have been conferred and your degree certificate will be given to you. It is not until the Chancellor or their designated representative admit you into the University Convocation that you are an official graduate of Aston University.

The procession

The ceremony begins with the entry of the procession. You should stand as the procession music begins and remain standing until the Chancellor or their designated representative declares the congregation ‘open’. 

Honorary degrees

In addition to your degrees, the University often confers honorary degrees. These are presented at the beginning of the ceremony.


Your guests may take photographs or film during the ceremony, but only from their seats. Due to health and safety regulations, all aisles and gangways are to be kept clear at all times.

Presentation of awards

When the presentation of awards begins, the marshals will signal to one row of graduands 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 or designated representative who will say ‘I admit you’. Some people may choose not to shake hands for religious reasons, if this applies to you, then you should keep your hands behind your back when approaching the Chancellor or their designated representative. You should bow or nod. Leave the stage, collect your degree certificate and return to your seat.


PhD and DSc graduands doff their caps when approaching the Chancellor or their designated representative. 

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.