Your Graduation Day
Your graduation ceremony marks the end of an era, but also celebrates new beginnings. All graduating students are invited to their allocated ceremonies to celebrate achievements with family, friends and peers.
Venue and Getting There
Graduation ceremonies are held at the prestigious Symphony Hall, which is part of the International Convention Centre in Birmingham city centre.
Travelling by car
By car, Birmingham is easily accessible from the M5, M6, M40 and M42. Simply follow signs to Birmingham City Centre and then follow the tourist signs to the International Convention Centre (ICC).Please note, Symphony Hall is not featured on road signage.
Local car parks include Q-Park Brindleyplace, Paradise Circus multi-storey car park, Cambridge Street car parks and additional spaces are available in the main pay and display car park underneath the Barclaycard Arena. Disabled Parking is located in Bay B at the back of the ICC building next to the Prince of Wales Pub.
Alternatively, there is a taxi rank across the road from Symphony Hall outside the Hyatt Regency Hotel.
Travelling by rail
By rail, Birmingham New Street and Birmingham Snow Hill are both around 15 minute walk from Symphony Hall. Moor Street, Jewellery Quarter and Five Ways stations are all around a 20 minute walk to the venue.
Travelling by air
By air, Birmingham International Airport is around a 30 minute drive away from the venue, depending on traffic. Alternatively, the airport’s adjacent rail station Birmingham International has frequent trains to the city centre.
Graduates do not need to buy a ticket as they are provided free of charge. Simply head to the graduate registration desk to collect your ticket as soon as you arrive on the ceremony day.
Although the University subsidies 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.
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.
The tickets cost £20.00 for adults and £10.00 for children (aged 18 months to 14 years). Children above the age of 18 months must have their own seat to comply with 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.
Any additional unsold tickets may be available for purchase closer to the ceremonies, the date of which will be included in each graduates invitation email. 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.
Gowning and Photography
All BCU graduates are required to wear a gown and to be dressed in smart business attire for their graduation ceremony. Graduates will need to hire their academic gown from our supplier Ede and Ravenscroft.
Upon receiving your invitation email you will be advised of when order lines are open and will close to hire your graduation outfit. We advise for you to wait until you receive this notification to ensure that the correct award and collection details are set up for you in advance. 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. You will need to collect it from the International Convention Centre (ICC) and closer to the time you will receive details of which Hall within the venue this will be.
Dedicated staff will be on hand to show you how to put on your gown, cap and hood. Outfits are to be returned on the day after your ceremony, no later than 6pm, unless you have arranged a longer hire period with the gowning supplier. There will be dedicated drop-off points within the ICC to return your outfit on the day after your ceremony has finished.
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.
Find out more about booking your gown and professional photographs via our Gowning and Photography page.
You’re also welcome to take your own photos before and after the ceremony in your gown with your guests. The International Convention Centre (ICC) is right by Brindleyplace and Centenary Square, both picturesque locations which will make the perfect background. Don’t forget to throw your hat!
Graduates should allow at least 90 minutes before the ceremony starts, in order to register, robe and have any photographs taken. The ceremonies are scheduled to be approximately two hours duration.
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.
You will be asked to stand on the ‘X’ marked on the stage ahead of your name being called. Once you have been announced, you will walk across the stage to shake the hand of the Chancellor or nominee. 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.
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. Guests are seated in the upper levels of the hall.
We’d love to know how you’re celebrating your special day with your guests! Make sure you tag your social media posts throughout the day with the hashtag #BCUGraduation.
Keep in Touch
Graduation isn’t the end of your BCU journey. We’d love to know what you’re getting up to after graduation, whether it’s a full-time position, internship, volunteering or travelling. The BCU Alumni team will be around the venue on the day of your ceremony, so come and talk to us and tell us what you’re doing next!