Two students walking up the stairs at Guildhall for their graduation

What to expect on the day

Everything you and your guests need to know

We’re excited to welcome you to your graduation. To help you plan for the day, we wanted to explain more about what to expect. Graduation can be very busy so we recommend you arrive two hours before your ceremony start time so you can enjoy your day.

We have compiled some useful information for you and your guests. Please read this alongside our interactive map.

Below is a suggested timetable for your day. Use your ceremony start time to see where you need to be and when.

If you are viewing on a mobile device, please use your phone in landscape mode. 



The doors to the Guildhall close 10 minutes before the ceremony is due to start. This is so we can make sure everyone is in their seats.

If you arrive after the doors have closed, you will not be admitted.

Ceremony Start Time 9.15am 10.00am 11.45am 12.30pm 2.30pm 3.00pm 5.00pm
Collect my Gown 7.30am-8.45am


9.30am-11.15am 10.15am-12.00pm 12.15pm-2.00pm 12.45pm-2.30pm 2.45pm-4.25pm
Early Collection 4.30-6.00pm night before 4.30-6.00pm night before          
Guildhall Doors Open 8.15am 9.00am 10.45am 11.30am 1.30pm 2.00pm 4.00pm
Guildhall Doors Close








Ceremony Ends 10.15am 11.00am 12.45pm 1.30pm 3.30pm 4.00pm 6.00pm
Celebratory Reception 10.45am-12.15pm 11.30am-1.00pm 1.15pm-2.45pm 2.00pm-3.30pm 4.00pm-5.30pm 4.30pm-6.00pm 6.30pm-8.00pm
Photos/ gown return/ award documents From 10.45am From 11.30am











Ravelin Sports Hall Closes 8.00pm 6.00pm 8.00pm 6.00pm 8.00pm 6.00pm 8.00pm


Graduation Map

This contains all of the major stops on your Graduation day journey.


Graduation Map

Graduation 2023 Photos
- Event Consent Cards Used

Your step by step guide to your Graduation Day

If you are travelling to Portsmouth on the day of your ceremony, make sure you give yourself plenty of time. 

By road: The city is on an island with just three entrance points so at times the roads can become congested. We recommend searching for parking options in advance of your visit; Portsmouth has limited on street parking. There is a park and ride service on the M275 with frequent buses into the city.

By rail: The nearest railway station, Portsmouth and Southsea is just a 5-minute walk to the Portsmouth Guildhall where the ceremonies take place.

This webpage explains how to plan your journey to Portsmouth, where to find parking if driving, and has a campus map.

If you have any of the following questions you can visit the Help Desk where staff will be able to help you:

  • Your tickets aren’t available for download on your MyGraduation tab. This could be because:

     • There was an administrative error
     • You have an outstanding debt with the University
     • You haven’t passed your course and are no longer eligible to attend


  • You want to purchase additional guest tickets (if available)

     • These must be purchased by card only (American Express is not accepted) and cost:
     • £20 for adults (13+)
     • £5 for children (0–12)


On the day Tickets are available for the following ceremonies:

Date of Ceremony Time of Ceremony
16/07/2024 12.30, 15.00
17/07/2024 11.45, 14.30
19/07/2024 10.00, 12.30
22/07/2024 11.45, 14.30, 17.00
23/07/2024 09.15, 11.45, 14.30, 17.00

Due to capacity, on-the-day tickets are unavailable for all ceremonies on 18/07/2024 and 24/07/2024, 09.15 and 17.00 on 17/07/2024, 17.00 on 19/07/2024 and 09.15 on 22/07/2024.

If you have chosen to book your academic dress through our official supplier, Graduation Attire, you  will be able to collect it from them directly. They will send you a text message when your gown is ready to be collected. They will be based on the first floor of the Ravelin Sports Centre.

You should collect your gown no later than 30 minutes before your ceremony start time.

Your gown contains a GradTag chip which you will be asked to register with your details. This will be scanned before you cross the stage so your On Stage photograph is linked to your account. It will also register that you have returned your gown at the end of the day.

Doors will open approximately an hour before your ceremony start time.

Your guests will enter the Guildhall through the left-hand entrance and Graduands will enter to the right. There will be University and Guildhall staff on hand to direct you to the appropriate seating areas.

The Guildhall reserves the right to conduct random bag searches as part of their security measures. There is no facility for storing your personal items. Please do not bring large bags or suitcases with you.

The doors to the Guildhall close 10 minutes before the ceremony is due to start. This is so we can make sure everyone is in their seats.

If you arrive after the doors have closed, you will not be admitted.

When you enter the Guildhall your e-Ticket will be scanned to let us know you are here.

You will be directed through to the auditorium entrance and be guided to your seat. Your seat number can be found on your e-Ticket.

You must sit in the seat allocated to you. It is important that you sit in the order your name will be called out. Not doing so could delay the ceremony.

If you are late, we will do our best to move you to a later ceremony or a ceremony on a different date. 

We recommend you plan your day carefully to ensure you leave yourself enough time to be ready for your ceremony and arrive at the Guildhall before the doors close. 

Any guests with tickets who arrive after the ceremony has started will be shown to the Portsmouth Room on the first floor of the Guildhall where they can watch a live stream of the ceremony. Depending where in the ceremony we are, they may be allowed to slip into the back of the circle as long as this won’t disturb other guests and the ceremony. Or they can go to the White Swan building, just around the corner from the Guildhall (this space has the benefit of ease of access); and to watch the live stream of the ceremony.

Whilst you are waiting there will be incidental music playing and information slides showing on the screens in the auditorium.

At the start of the ceremony, everyone will be asked to stand for the entrance of the Academic Procession. The Academic Procession comes in three parts, ending with the Officers of the University, led in by the Mace Bearer. The last person onto the stage is the Presiding Officer.

The Presiding Officer opens the congregation and asks everyone to sit down. This will be followed by a welcome from the Executive Dean and the presentation and a response from Honorary Graduate (if present). 

Sometimes we present awards to the families of students who have sadly died whilst studying at the university. If this is the case the Executive Dean will say a few words and the family members will be presented with a framed certificate by the Presiding Officer.

Please stay seated in the seat allocated to you.  This is vital as we have a specific order for how awards are read out. Sitting in the wrong seat may lead to the wrong name and wrong award being read out as you cross the stage.

After the Academic Registrar has confirmed that everyone present has successfully completed their studies, a film will be played, and you will be raised row by row and escorted from the auditorium to join the Graduate procession. University of Portsmouth staff will direct you to stand at the appropriate time - please follow their instructions.

Make sure you leave any items you have with you under your seat as you will not be able to cross the stage with them. 

The Graduate procession will be guided backstage through various checks to ensure you are in the correct order and are wearing your academic dress correctly. When you get to the side of the stage and are at the front of the Graduate procession you will be asked to wait until your name is read out on stage. 

When your name is announced you can then walk across the stage.  At the centre of the stage, you will be greeted by the Presiding Officer who will shake your hand, you will then shake hands with the Executive Dean for your Faculty before you continue to exit the stage on the other side.   

You can choose not to shake hands by tucking your right hand into your gown.

If you have been awarded a prize this will also be read out on stage, and you will be given a purple prize envelope.

Once off stage, you will be directed back to your original seat to watch the remainder of the ceremony. 

We would kindly ask that you and your guests do not leave until the end of the ceremony unless directed to.

When all the awards have been conferred and speeches completed it is time to leave the auditorium and make your way to Gun House Green for your celebratory reception.

Please leave the Guildhall as directed by staff, you should meet your friends and family outside in the Guildhall Square. This gives the staff more time to set up for the next ceremony. We have up to four ceremonies a day, so your assistance is appreciated.

Celebratory Reception

We will be hosting a celebratory reception on Gun House Green, starting 30 minutes after the end of each ceremony.  You and your guests can enjoy a complimentary glass or two of prosecco or a non-alcoholic drink from a wide range of options. Each reception will last 90 minutes, and then we will close the marquee to refresh our stock and open for new arrivals from the next ceremony.      

Food and Drink

There will be a number of food vendors selling a variety of different food offerings in the Graduation Village at Gun House Green. More information on the different food vendors can be found here. The Terrace Cafe will also be open selling hot and cold drinks and a variety of different cakes, sandwiches and snacks. There is also a Starbucks outlet in Ravelin Sports Centre.

Fun Activities

The Alumni team will have a photo booth set up next to the Students’ Union. UoP Global and ICP will also have a gazebo set up on Gun House Green, so please pop by and say hello. 

The Students’ Union will be open where you can buy graduation merchandise and have your items printed for a small charge.

On Gun House Green there will be a range of “village fete” type activities for all the family to enjoy. In the event of wet weather the photo booth and a small number of activities will be located upstairs in the Student Union Building.

Event Photography

There will be roaming event photographers at Gun House Green. If they take your photo they will give you a QR code to scan so that you can view and order the images later in the day. 

At the end of each day the informal photographs will be uploaded to a website. From here you can view the photographs and select the images you would like to purchase either as digital downloads or printed copies.

Event Photography


Studio Photography

Our team of photographers will be based at Ravelin Sports Centre throughout the day should you wish to have photos taken in a studio setting.  

To make sure you get a slot, we advise that you pre-book for after your ceremony. You should allow at least 30 minutes, however, the more people who join you for the group pictures, the longer the photography will take.

Award Document Collection

For those of you who are officially awarded your qualification at the June/July Boards of Examiners, you should be able to collect your certificate and transcript after your ceremony from our collection point at Ravelin Sports Centre.   

Please note, you can only collect your own award, and you will need to show your e-ticket/student ID to collect your documents.

Certificate collection will be open from 10.00am until 8.00pm (6.00pm if the last ceremony is at 3pm) on the day of your ceremony. It will not be possible to collect your award documents on a different day.

If your award documents are not ready for collection we will post them to your correspondence address once the graduation ceremonies have finished. Please make sure that your correspondence address in your Student View is correct. 

Gown Return

Graduation Attire expects you to return your gown by 8.00 pm (6.00 pm if the last ceremony is at 3 pm) on the day of your ceremony.

If you are late in returning your gown and the hall is closed, then you have until 10.00 pm to leave the gown on a rail left for returns in the main reception of Ravelin Sports Centre. 

This rail will be collected the next morning by Graduation Attire, who will scan your GradTag chip and contact you to confirm your gown has been returned. Any gowns which are not returned on the day of your ceremony will be subject to an additional charge.


Graduation 2023 Photos
- Event Consent Cards Used

Visual Stories

To help you navigate your day, we have created 3 visual stories showing the before, during and after of Graduation 2024. 

Before my ceremony

During my ceremony

After my ceremony  

Food Vendors


We have an exciting collection of food vendors on Gunhouse Green, with food ranging from classic street food to bao buns! Details of their opening hours can be found here

Food bowl
Graduation 2023 Photos
- Event Consent Cards Used

Social media 

We will be sharing updates via our Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn accounts so make sure you follow us. 

Please share your photos with us on Instagram, Facebook and TikTok. There will be a screen in Ravelin Sports Centre with all your social media posts.

Use #UOPGrad



The University’s Alumni team have set up an exclusive Class of 2024 Facebook group to share your favourite memories, swap stories about your time at Portsmouth, and stay updated on exciting opportunities and events. If you join by 11.59pm on 7 July, you'll be in with the chance of winning a £100 Sodexo voucher.

Join Class of 2024 Alumni Facebook Group 

Graduation 2023 Photos
- Event Consent Cards Used
Careers screen

Careers and Employability

For advice on graduate roles, pop in to the Careers and Employability Service on Guildhall Walk.

Careers and Employability

Graduation Merchandise

The Students' Union sell a wide range of graduation merchandise bearing the University’s crest. Items include graduation bears, mugs, notebooks and hoodies. These can be ordered online or bought on the day.


Graduation Attire will be selling certificate frames, folders and tubes in Ravelin Sports Hall along with giving you the opportunity to buy your academic dress or take your cap home with you as a memento. 


Graduation Bear