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Graduation FAQ's

Your graduation is approaching, so it’s time to start booking tickets, gowns and getting ready for your special day. Everything you need to know about your graduation is below.

Reserving Your Place

When will in-person ceremonies be held?

January 2022 graduation ceremonies are scheduled to take place 05.01.2022 – 11.01.2022. For more details on ceremony schedules please go to the Graduation Ceremonies page.

Where is my graduation and how do I get there?

Graduation ceremonies are held at the prestigious Symphony Hall, which is part of the International Convention Centre in Birmingham city centre. For information on how to get there please go to the Graduation Venue page.

Who will be invited to in-person ceremonies in January 2022?

Invites will be sent to:

  • Our Class of 2020 who were invited to virtual graduation celebrations in August 2020 and February 2021
  • Our Class of 2021 who were invited to virtual graduation celebrations in July 2021
  • Students who are due to graduate in January 2022
When will I receive my invite?

Please keep an eye on your BCU emails or agreed correspondence email. You can check your contact details at mySRS.

Please note that invites are sent based on your School and course, so you may receive your invitation on a different date to your friends on other courses.

Why haven't I received an invitation?

Invitations will be sent to those students whose awards have already been confirmed or will be confirmed by their School by Friday 26 November 2021.

Please note that invites are sent based on your School and course, so you may receive your invitation on a different date to your friends on other courses.

If you have not received an invitation but achieved an award between December 2019 and July 2020 please email us at award.ceremonies@bcu.ac.uk. If you are a current student and are due to complete your studies by the above cut-off date please log a call via the iAsk tile on iCity or the iBCU App so that we can look at your student record and provide further advice.

I am not able to attend or I wish to defer my place to a future event

If you are unable to attend the award ceremony OR wish to defer your attendance, you should still complete the registration process so we know not to expect you or to make sure we invite you to the next set of ceremonies. Please note, you can only request to defer your attendance on two occasions.

I have registered but need to change my attendance status

If you wish to change your registration status after you have completed the task you can do this by logging a call via the iAsk tile on iCity or the iBCU App. Such requests need to be made before the registration portal closes on Tuesday 30 November 2021 at 4.00pm in order for us to release or secure pre-booked seats in the Hall.

I have registered but I need to update my publicity preferences

If you have completed the registration task but need to update or change your publicity preference you can do this by logging a call via the iAsk tile on iCity or the iBCU App. Such requests need to be made before the registration portal closes on Tuesday 30 November 2021 at 4.00pm in order for these to be removed or incorporated into any printed material.

What if my graduation ceremony registration is closed due to full capacity?

In the event of your graduation ceremony reaching capacity it will be closed for new registrations and you will be contacted to complete an expression of interest from. You will be able to indicate whether you wish to be placed on a waiting list should any further spaces become available after the registration deadline has passed or you will be able to defer your attendance to a future ceremony. In some cases, we may be able to offer you a ceremony on a different date in January so please complete your expression of interest form as soon as possible so that we know what your preference is at this point.

What time do I need to get there?

We advise that you arrive as early as possible to ensure you allow yourself sufficient time for registration, collecting guest tickets, gowning and photography as the ceremonies will start promptly at the specified time. Please note you may not be able to enter the main auditorium after the ceremony has started, so please make every effort to be seated on time. For full itinerary on the day, please visit the Graduation Ceremony Itinerary page.

Is there disabled access at the venue?

Symphony Hall has excellent access for those with mobility difficulties. Staff at Symphony Hall will try to meet individual requirements where possible. University and Symphony Hall staff will be available to help you on the day.

Graduates or guests with disabilities can park free at the North Car Park in the nearby Barclaycard Arena - see the map in the travel guidance section.

There is a 'dropping off point' for wheelchair users immediately outside the International Convention Centre (ICC) in King Alfred Place. Limited parking for blue badge holders driving their own vehicles is also available on King Alfred Place.

Please note you must pre-book these services and it is recommended you do this when you are purchasing your tickets (+44 (0)121 780 3333). Blue badge parking is subject to availability.

How long is the graduation ceremony?

The ceremonies are scheduled to be approximately 1 hour 30 minutes.

Who makes speeches during the ceremony?

A variety of speeches are made during the ceremony including a welcome address and opening of the ceremony by the Chancellor, awarded Honorary Doctorate recipient and a concluding address delivered by a graduating student.

What will I need to do on stage?

Students are to stand on the ‘X’ marked on the stage ahead of their name being called. Once you have been announced, ou will walk across the stage and doff your hat to the Chancellor or nominee who will doff back.

You will then continue crossing the stage and exit to the far side where you will collect your award brochure.

You will then return to your seat to watch the remainder of the ceremony until the Chancellor or nominee closes proceedings.

Can graduates attend the ceremony if they have outstanding academic-related debt to the University?

All students can register for their ceremony on the understanding that should they have any outstanding University debts, these will be cleared and their award will be confirmed by their School by the date included in their invitation. If the finance department cannot confirm their payment has been received by the deadline date set, their ceremony invitation will be revoked and they will not be able to attend the forthcoming graduation.

How do I obtain a visa support letter?

The University can write letters for the graduate confirming their invitation and registration for the ceremony. These can be used to support visa applications for the graduate and their two guests.

Virtual Graduations

I’ve already virtually graduated, am I invited to the in-person ceremony?

Yes, invitations will be sent to all those who were awarded between December 2019 and July 2021 and students who are due to graduate in January 2022. Those who attended their virtual graduation ceremonies and those who didn’t will all be invited to celebrate in-person.

My name wasn’t read out during my virtual graduation ceremony, will it be read out at the in-person ceremony?

Yes, everyone who has registered to attend the in-person ceremony will have their name read out on stage. Find out more about ceremony permissions here.

Where can I watch my virtual graduation ceremony back?

Virtual Graduation ceremonies from July 2021 can be watched on the BCU YouTube channel here.

Gowning

When should I book my graduation outfit?

You will receive an email to advise you when the order lines are open and how to place your gown order. You will also be advised of the deadline by which to order your gown. We advise that you wait until you receive this notification to ensure that the correct award and collection details are set up for you in advance.

Is it essential to wear a gown at the ceremony?

Yes, it is required that every graduate wears a gown in order to cross the ceremony stage. If graduates enter the ceremony hall without a gown, they will not be presented on stage.

When can I collect my outfit?

Outfits are to be collected on the day of your ceremony or alternatively posted out to you if you have arranged a longer hire period. The award ceremonies are busy events, so we advise that you arrive with plenty of time to collect your gown.

Where do I collect it from?

Once you have completed your registration at the ICC on the day of your ceremony, you will be directed to the Hall where you can collect your gown. Please keep checking the Gowning and Photography page for most up-to-date details.

How will I know how to wear the outfit?

Dedicated staff will be on hand to show you how to put on your gown, cap and hood.

What time will the gown need to be given back?

Outfits are to be returned on the day after your ceremony, no later than 18:00 for ceremonies starting at 10:00 and 14:00 and 20:45 for ceremonies starting at 18:00, unless you have arranged a longer hire period with the gowning supplier. All gowns to be returned to a designated drop-off point in the ICC.

Where do I drop it off after the ceremony?

There will be dedicated drop-off points within the ICC to return your outfit on the day after your ceremony has finished.

What do I need to wear?

You will need to wear smart business attire. Those who attend in jeans, t-shirt etc will not be presented on stage. Wear a shirt, blouse or dress with buttons so that your gown can be easily secured to your clothing. Also make sure you wear shoes in which you will feel comfortable climbing up/down steps and walking across a large stage.

If I haven’t ordered a gown in advance can I do this on the day?

There will be a supply of reserve gowns onsite but any hires which are made on the day are subject to availability and will be charged at an increased price. Payments can only be made by card whilst onsite (AMEX is not accepted).

Photography

Where can we have our photo taken professionally?

The University’s official graduation photographer is Ede and Ravenscroft. The team welcome graduates, family and friends into their studios located in the International Convention Centre (ICC) and offer a pre-booking service with a wide range of photograph packages to suit everyone, including the option to book a time slot.

Do I need to pre-book my photography timeslot?

Students don’t need to book a specific timeslot to have any personal portraits taken as there should be plenty of time to do this before your ceremony. We do recommend that you pre-book the photography package you would like by taking a look at all the options via the Ede and Ravenscroft website here. Payments can also be made on the day but by card only (AMEX is not accepted).

When should I book my photography package?

You will receive an email to advise you when the order lines are open and how to place your photography package order. We advise that you wait until you receive this notification to ensure that the correct details are set up for you in advance.

When will my professional photos be taken?

Once you have registered and collected your gown, you will be able to have your professional photos taken. We strongly advise you arrived with plenty of time to have these taken before the ceremony has taken place as you may not have a chance to do this after your ceremony.

Guest tickets and seating

Will I be able to book guest tickets for my in-person ceremony?

Yes, we know how important bringing guests to your graduation is and we have kept this in mind when making arrangements for alternative dates. You will receive more information about booking guest tickets via email when the tickets are released for sale.

How do I book tickets?

Graduates do not need to buy a ticket as yours is provided free of charge. Simply head to the graduate registration desk to collect your ticket as soon as you arrive on the ceremony day. Guest tickets are not reserved automatically and must be booked with Symphony Hall, if you wish to invite anyone to celebrate with you.

Although the University subsidises the cost of the ceremonies, we do have to charge for guest tickets. Each graduate is limited to two tickets. This is to ensure equal opportunity is given for all graduates and their families to attend the ceremonies where there is a finite resource of seating.

For larger ceremonies, we cannot always guarantee that each graduate will be able to purchase two guest tickets; therefore you are advised to purchase any guest tickets as early as possible. The tickets cost £20.00 for adults and £10.00 for children (aged 18 months to 14 years) plus £3 box office fee. Children above the age of 18 months must have their own seat to comply with fire and Health and Safety regulations. A ticket must be purchased for every guest who attends the ceremony. Each ticket holder can visit the refreshment area for tea/coffee and a cake either before or after the ceremony.

Guest tickets are released for sale on a first-come first-served basis and we strongly recommend that you purchase these as soon as you have confirmed your attendance, even though results are not yet known. Any additional unsold tickets may be available for purchase closer to the ceremonies, the date of which is available on our Important Dates page.

Please note the availability of such tickets cannot be guaranteed but where they do become available, these tickets will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis and will be in a different area of the hall from the initial two guest tickets.

To read more on how to book guest tickets and for the full schedule of ticket release dates please go to the Guest Tickets page.

Can I bring more than two guests?

Subject to availability, any remaining unsold tickets will be made available directly from Symphony Hall Box Office from Friday 3rd December at 10:00am. From this point, tickets will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis and will be in a different area of the hall to the original two seats.

Can children attend?

We understand that your graduation can be a celebration for your family. Due to the acoustics of the Symphony Hall, disruptions by small children can be disturbing for members of the audience. All children must be accompanied by an adult guest and children over 18 months old will require their own ticket; this is to comply with Health and Safety regulations within the Symphony Hall.

Please note that there are no crèche facilities at these events and therefore children should not be left unattended within the ICC and/or Symphony Hall complex at any time.

Where will I be sat?

Graduating students are seated in the stalls of the hall. Those receiving the same award title will sit together, within classification and alphabetical order. We ask graduates to ensure coat/bags are stored in the cloakroom (£1 charge) or left with guests before entering the hall.

Where will my guests be sat?

Guests are seated in the upper levels of the hall.

Provision for guests during ceremony

Should your guests have any special seating or access requirements we recommend these tickets are booked over the phone to discuss any particular support arrangements which need to be accommodated. Wheelchair positions are situated on the ground level and Upper Circle and are to be booked in advance. The auditorium is equipped with an infra-red system to assist guests with hearing loss - receivers are available from the Duty Manager on request. Further information about the support Symphony Hall can provide can be found on their Accessibility page on their website.

Who can I talk to about accessibility and support for my disability?

Graduates who have additional support requirements can notify us of these while registering for the ceremony. We ask that this information is provided to us by Monday 6 December 2021 so we can make the necessary arrangements with the venue. Wheelchair positions, BSL interpreters and other services will be arranged as required. We will contact you regarding the arrangements near to the ceremony date. If additional support requirements are only known after registration, please log a call via the iAsk tile on iCity or the iBCU App for a member of BCU staff to discuss available options with you.

General Information

Can I watch the ceremonies via a viewing screen onsite at the Symphony Hall, ICC?

There is no viewing screen set up to be able to watch the ceremonies onsite, however all our ceremonies are filmed and live web-streamed to our website. Links will be made available on the ceremony day itself to enable you and your guests to watch online.

Will the venue follow Covid secure measures?

Due to Covid-19 and current the government guidance, our award ceremonies venues (the International Convention Centre (ICC) and Symphony Hall) operate Covid-19 safety protocols to help spread the limit of the virus.

The safety of our staff and students is paramount to us and you may not be able to access the building if you do not comply with the venue protocols.

Please note that these protocols can change in line with the government guidance, so we advise that you keep checking the each website for the most up-to-date details:

What will happen if the pandemic worsens again?

As you will be aware, the Covid-19 pandemic is increasingly under control in the UK, and we all very much hope this continues. As your safety is our overriding priority, if new public health concerns emerge later in the year then we will of course review the plan for January events, but we very much hope this will not be the case.

Will I receive my degree certificate at the ceremony?

Award documents are not presented during the ceremony and you do not need to have received these in order to attend your graduation.

Once your award has been confirmed and your certificate becomes available, you will receive an email directing you to the mySRS Portal to confirm the address of where you wish to have your documents posted.

I need a digital certificate too, where can I get one?

BCU has partnered with Gradinteligence which provides award holders with access to a digital version of their award certificate. this service will be automatically available to students who graduate from September 2019.

If you achieved your award between 2010 and September 2019, please submit an individual request to certificates@bcu.ac.uk including your full name (as you were enrolled), student ID (if known), course title and award year.

Unfortunately, it is not possible for a digital certificate to be made available to graduates who were awarded prior to 2010 due to the University having changed record systems after this time. Those who are eligible to receive their certificate digitally will be automatically registered with Gradintelligence and receive an email inviting them to activate their account in order to access their document.

We recommend therefore that you do not register your own account but rather wait for the university to do this on your behalf. You can easily access or activate your Gradintelligence account via the Gradintelligence website.

How do graduates receive their results transcript?

Where graduates have not received their final transcript, please contact the relevant School office.

I have a question that hasn’t been answered above?

If you have any queries or need advice about the ceremonies from a member of BCU staff, contact us by logging a call via the iAsk tile on iCity or the iBCU App. Details about the venue can be found at the Symphony Hall website here or by calling +44 (0)121 780 3333. Enquiries regarding Gowning and photography can be found on the Ede and Ravenscroft website here, by emailing customerservices@academic-services.co.uk or calling: +44 (0)370 2421170