Photo of a graduating student in the robe and hat, holding their University of Newcastle degree

What to Expect on Graduation Day

Graduation season is upon us. Congratulations on making it this far! This is the time to celebrate your successes, catch up with your year group and receive that all-important certificate that represents all your blood, sweat and tears of the last few years. 

Consider this article your guide, from one soon-to-be graduate to another. 


The university has several ceremonies a day and it’s important to have the start time of your ceremony worked out, as they require you to be there 90 minutes beforehand, in order to have enough time to pick up and put on your academic dress, get your tickets, snap some photos with family and friends and be seated in time for the ceremony.  

What is academic dress? It’s the official clothing to wear to graduation ceremonies, such as your gown.  Do some research and find out what colour the hood of your gown and cap is according to your discipline and degree level. You can then hire your academic dress from level 2 of the Shortland building, and if you want to purchase all or part of your academic address you can send an email to the Academic Dress Hire team at 

Have a think about what you might like to wear on the day; the dress code is semi-formal, keeping in mind that your outfit will be visible at the front of the gown. The university advises against excessively high heels for ease of movement and recommends buttoned shirts and a tie for men as it is easier to secure the graduation hood. 

Plan your trip! Have an idea of how you’re getting to the location of your ceremony and ensure you have time to arrive, be dressed and seated. If you have mobility issues (or you’ve invited your grandparents) there is buggy service around campus to get you and your guests from A to B. It’s also helpful to know the order of events – you’ll first pick up your academic dress from the Shortland building, then head to the Great Hall for assistance with getting dressed, and finally go to the McMullin Lawn to join the fun and excitement! If you have guests you need to pick up or the weather is being inconvenient, factor that into your planning as well, and keep up-to-date with the latest weather warnings. 

If you’re keen on getting your professional photo taken with your degree and guests, ensure you leave enough time (the photography company recommend beforehand) and pre-book your graduation package.  

An On the Day Breakdown:

  • Be mindful of COVID-19 restrictions and remember, all students have a shared responsibility to keep others safe, so if you are feeling unwell, don’t attend. If you feel more comfortable with a mask, you can bring one but it is not mandatory. Keep up social distancing practices and good hygiene. 
  • Arrive well before time to register your attendance at the Registration Desk outside of the ceremony venue, collect the tickets for your guests and get dressed. Keep an eye out for university staff in maroon gowns to assist you.  Depending on your campus location, the dressing will take place in different areas, so be sure to know before you get there.  
  • If you can, get your professional photography done before the ceremony.  
  • Take your seat 30 minutes before the ceremony is due to start.  
  • If you have family, partners or friends who would like to watch your ceremony but cannot attend because of guest limits, they can watch via livestream at the Callaghan campus at a theatre near the Great Hall, or you can watch from the comfort of your own home. 
  • Afterwards, it’s worth sticking around after the ceremony as you can celebrate and mingle at the Graduation Reception with your guests and fellow graduates.  

You could also catch any friends from your degree for some pictures together! Get creative: you could bring your own disposable camera to capture the moment or a teddy bear to be signed.  

After Graduation:

After you have graduated, you are officially part of  Newcastle University alumni! This means you’ll still have access to some of the university services – like the library and careers service – and you can stay in contact by joining the Alumni Network. 

Congratulations to those graduating – you made it!  

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