Close up of male student's suit during july 2018 graduation

Graduation preparation

A guide to preparing for graduation including registering your eligibility, booking tickets, hiring your gown, and more

Graduation is the highlight of your academic career a fantastic opportunity to celebrate your hard work with your family and friends.

We recommend reading this guide well ahead of your graduation to make sure things go smoothly. It covers everything you'll need to consider from registering your eligibility to booking tickets, hiring a gown, organising visas and booking accommodation.

Registering for your graduation

You are eligible to attend your graduation once you've successfully completed your studies.

Register for graduation as soon as you can – you don't have to wait until you get your results before completing the online booking form. Booking is not yet open for Graduation in 2020.


You are automatically allocated a student ticket and 2 free guest tickets are guaranteed once you've completed the booking process. You can request a maximum of 4 guest tickets (2 are free, but you need to pay for the other 2).

Children and babies

Children up to and including 12 years of age are free, but you'll have to book a ticket. Babies under 2 years do not count towards your limit of 4 tickets, but still require advanced booking.

Ticket information:

  • Guest tickets are £15 each
  • Children under 12 years and babies under 2 are free

You have to pay for your additional tickets when you book. You can't reserve guest tickets to buy at a later date.

Every year we release a limited number of non-allocated tickets for sale. If you're a student, you can purchase any amount of tickets at this point in time, subject to availability, at £15 each.

There'll be a further opportunity to buy extra guest tickets on the day of your ceremony. If there are still tickets available for any ceremonies they are sold at Spinnaker Sports Hall.

If any of your guests have special requirements for access or seating, please make a note on the online booking form. If possible we'll accommodate them. You can ask for ground floor or first floor tickets.

Graduation Dress

What to wear

Your graduation is one of the few formal occasions you'll have to attend during your time at university. Traditional academic dress, which consists of a gown and hood, is worn.

Each faculty has a distinctive hood that incorporates the University colour of purple. Each level of award (e.g Bachelor, Master or Doctorate awards) features different colours of gown or hood, or style of hat or cap.

Find out what graduation dress you'll be wearing for the ceremony.

Hiring academic gowns

You can hire or purchase your academic gown from our hire partner, J. Wippell & Company Ltd. Gowns and caps are collected from Spinnaker Sports Centre on the day of your ceremony, along with tickets.

What else to wear for graduation

Graduation is a formal academic occasion and you should dress smartly. Military or emergency services uniforms can be worn under your gown, along with national dress.

If you come to collect your gown and are inappropriately dressed, you will be asked to find more appropriate clothing. Ultimately, we reserve the right to prevent you from participating in the ceremony.

International Students

International student information:

If you or your guests need our support for a visa application, please let us know when making your booking. Fill in the 'visa support letter' information section of the online booking form.

We'll ask you if you need a visa support letter for yourself and for each guest that you've booked.

Once we've received your completed booking, we'll provide a letter (as a PDF file via email) that you can use as supporting evidence for a visa application.

Please make sure that you've completed everything necessary to take part in the ceremonies. These include:

  • booking your place in the ceremony
  • requesting extra tickets
  • hiring your academic dress
  • applying for a visa in plenty of time before you need to travel

Travelling to graduation

Our graduation ceremonies take place at Portsmouth Guildhall in the city centre.


Portsmouth Guildhall

Guildhall Square

Car parking

You can park within walking distance of the Guildhall at the Dorothy Dymond car park and Isambard Brunel car park.

Disabled parking is available near Portsmouth Guildhall, but you may find spaces go quickly on the day. Alternative parking locations can be found on Portsmouth City Council's website.


Portsmouth’s park-and-ride offers a quick, easy way into Portsmouth every day of the week at a cost of £4 per vehicle. You can purchase Smartcards at the park-and-ride. Full pricing information is available on the Portsmouth park-and-ride website.

Public transport

You can walk from Portsmouth and Southsea train station to the Guildhall in 5 minutes. There are fast trains from London and frequent services and connections from elsewhere.

Commercial Road bus services are just a short walk away.

Accommodation during graduation

As well as hotels and B&Bs in the city, you and your family have the opportunity to stay in the University's accommodation during graduation week. There are two types available and both are a 20-minute walk to Portsmouth Guildhall.

Accommodation options:

Rees Hall

Rees Hall is located just 200 metres from Southsea seafront, overlooking Southsea Common and the Solent. During the summer vacation period, Rees Hall is transformed into award-winning three star guest accommodation. The hall offers a choice of single and double en-suite rooms, some with sea-facing views, on a bed and breakfast basis. The accommodation also includes tea and coffee making facilities in each room, two guest lounges, a courtyard garden and a licensed bar.

The accommodation is available from a single night up to two weeks. It's popular and should be booked as early as possible. The daily room rates are £52.00 (single room) and £68.00 (double room). All prices include breakfast and VAT.

Located behind Rees Hall is Burrell House, this basic accommodation is reserved for graduands (students about to graduate) only and comprises of a single standard bedroom on a self-catering basis.

In order to keep the rates low, linen, towels and cooking equipment are not supplied and you should bring your own supplies.

Accommodation at Burrell House is available with a minimum booking stay of seven nights. The nightly cost is £13.50.

Graduation refund policy

The University will only refund the cost of Graduation guest tickets and the cost of the hiring academic gowns in the following two instances: academic failure and extenuating circumstances.

Academic failure

If you're unsuccessful in your final assessment and therefore not eligible to attend their ceremony, you will automatically receive a refund of a) ticket payments made and b) gown hire payments. If this is the case, you'll be contacted or sent a letter to inform you that you can't attend your graduation ceremony. We'll tell you when you can expect to receive your refund. Please allow 30 days for processing and receipt of your refund.

Extenuating circumstances

When you or your guest(s) are unable to attend the graduation ceremony due to exceptional circumstances, we'll consider a refund. These are the types of circumstances which will be considered for a refund:

  • evidence of traffic delays on the day of the ceremony
  • ill-health
  • visa difficulties

In such cases the you should email details of the refund request to The Graduation team will respond to requests within 10 working days.

Please note we'll direct refunds to the person or the credit card that made the original payment.

For more information please contact

Academic dress variations

You'll have to wear traditional academic dress for graduation. Discover the design of academic gown and hood you'll wear by order of award.

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