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Academical dress

There are strict requirements regarding dress at graduation, which both you and your presenter must observe. The University does not supply academical dress, so you need to obtain the items required and are responsible for dressing correctly.


Contrary to normal Cambridge procedures, candidates taking degrees under Statute B II 2 must wear the gown and hood of the Cambridge degree to which they are being admitted. Those being incorporated to Cambridge doctoral degrees must wear the hood and the black gown for the Cambridge doctorate, not the scarlet gown. Along with your gown and hood, you should follow the guidance for clothing available on our graduation pages.


Your presenter should wear the gown and hood of their highest Cambridge degree and must also wear a square cap. A presenter who is a member of the Regent House but has no Cambridge degree should wear a Cambridge M.A. gown without ‘strings’, a square cap and no hood. Presenters who are Cambridge Doctors wear the black gown of their degree with hood and square cap. Under no circumstances may presenters wear the dress of non-Cambridge degrees.

They should wear a dark suit or dress, dark socks/hosiery and black shoes, but they are not required to wear a white tie and bands.

Guests and timings

If you are being presented by your College with the College’s other graduands, please consult the Praelector about guests and timings. Your College will issue you with guest tickets.

If you are not being presented by a College, then your guest tickets will be issued by the Student Registry, and you will proceed to your degree at the start of a Congregation. Both you and your presenter should be at the Senate-House at least 20 minutes before the start time to meet the Esquire Bedells and the Marshal. Your guests should arrive no later than fifteen minutes before the starting time.

There is normally a limit of three tickets per graduand. Your guests should present these to gain admission to the Senate-House. If you require more tickets for a particular reason, please contact your college who will check with the Congregations Team at Student Registry to see if any further tickets can be made available. Friends and colleagues who are members of the Regent House or Senate can usually enter before the start of any session without tickets and sit on the front benches reserved for senior members at Congregations, provided that space is available, but they must wear the gown appropriate to their Cambridge status.

If your degree is being conferred at the start of the Congregation, you will be shown back to your seat and it is not possible for you or your guests to exit the Senate-House until the next break, which is usually between 30 and 45 minutes from the start of the session. Candidates presented by a College will leave the Senate-House immediately after receiving their degree certificate, and wait with their Praelector in the Senate-House Yard until their guests emerge.

The Senior Esquire Bedell, Karen Ottewell, can answer any queries you may have on the procedure; she can arrange a rehearsal for you (and your presenter) if required. If you have more general questions about the process, timings, or tickets you should contact the Degree Congregations team.