Imperial usually holds two graduation ceremonies each year: Commemoration Day for undergraduates in October and Postgraduate Graduation in May.

There are two sections to these FAQs:

  1. We are planning to deliver in-person ceremonies in the Royal Albert Hall on 20 October 2021 for our eligible undergraduates. The first section of the FAQs relates to these arrangements.
  2. The College is committed to holding a replacement ceremony in the future for cancellations impacted by the pandemic. The second section relates to our plans for graduates including the Postgraduate graduation in May 2020 and 2021 and Commemoration Day 2020.

SECTION 1: Commemoration Day, October 2021

Will there be an in-person graduation ceremony in October 2021?

We are proceeding with an in-person ceremony at the Royal Albert Hall on Wednesday 20 October 2021. The safety of everyone involved is of utmost importance and so we are planning for adjustments to the day to ensure a COVID-safe event. Although we are hopeful this will not be the case, it is not impossible that COVID-19 restrictions may have to be reintroduced if the public health situation changes again, and there remains a small possibility that it could be necessary to postpone the event in these circumstances.

How will you ensure that everyone attending an in-person ceremony is kept safe from COVID-19?

We will be closely following government and College guidance to ensure the safety of everyone involved. Although many government restrictions will end in July, participation in Commemoration Day 2021 may be dependent on COVID-19 testing prior to arrival on campus, the use of face coverings, a reduction in guests and adjustments to the traditional format of the day.

Although there will be some changes, we will ensure your graduation day is a fitting celebration of your time at Imperial.

Can I defer my attendance at Commemoration Day 2021 to 2022?

Regrettably under the current circumstances we are unable to accommodate graduates wishing to defer from Commemoration Day 2021 to 2022 due to limited venue capacity. Any graduate who does wish to defer can only be accommodated within our current group of postponed graduation ceremonies, including Postgraduate graduation 2020 and 2021 ceremonies, and Commemoration Day 2020. We are currently unable to confirm when these rescheduled ceremonies will be taking place.

Will family and friends be able to attend the ceremony?

In the interest of safety the Graduation Advisory Committee, which includes representation from students and academic staff, made the difficult decision to reduce the number of attendees by restricting Commemoration Day 2021 to graduands only. This decision involved extensive consultation with the Safety Department at the College and Westminster City Council to ensure that an event of this scale and complexity could be delivered safely during a period of uncertainty. Click here for information on the COVID-19 measures in place for Commemoration Day 2021.

The ceremonies will still be live streamed on the Graduation web pages so that family and friends can support you wherever they are in the world. 

Will there be post ceremony departmental receptions?

Unfortunately, we are unable to offer post ceremony departmental receptions. We have taken this decision following the government review of large-scale events which identified that large unstructured gatherings where there is significant close-mixing of people typically pose a higher risk of transmission, and we do not believe that we can safely offer the usual departmental receptions in the spaces available on campus. We know that celebrating with your classmates is an integral part of the graduation experience and so instead you will be provided with an afternoon tea which can be taken away.

How do I register my attendance for Commemoration Day 2021?

We will be opening registration for graduates to confirm their attendance to Commemoration Day 2021 in late July. Eligible graduates will be contacted with further information in the coming weeks, including instructions for completing the registration form and deadlines.

Please ensure that you have added graduation@imperial.ac.uk to your email’s trusted sender list.

Will I be required to wear academic dress for the ceremony?

Yes. Academic dress is compulsory for all graduands registering to attend Commemoration Day 2021. By confirming attendance at graduation, graduands agree to wear official academic robes provided by our robing company Ede & Ravenscroft Ltd. Gown booking can be made after graduands receive their graduation invitation email.

The College reserves the right to refuse admittance to graduands on Commemoration Day 2021 who are not wearing academic dress supplied by Ede & Ravenscroft Ltd or who are inappropriately dressed.

Please note that mortar boards are not a part of the College’s academic dress.

Graduands must pre-order their academic dress online for collection on the day by 12 noon, Friday 24 September 2021. 

On the day gown hire will not be available.

Will there be photography offered on the day?

Tempest Photography will be offering studio photography on the day for all eligible graduands. Further information regarding appointment booking windows will be sent to you by email in the coming weeks. 

What time will my ceremony be?

Eligible graduates from each of the following faculties will be invited to attend one of the three scheduled ceremonies listed below.

10.00 – Faculty of Medicine
13:45 – Faculty of Natural Sciences
17:30 – Faculty of Engineering

Each ceremony should last approximately 120 minutes depending on attendance.
* Please note exact timings are subject to change.

Who is eligible to attend Commemoration Day 2021?

Any undergraduate graduate will be eligible to take part in the Commemoration Day 2021 if the Graduate’s degree was awarded, and recorded on the College’s student system, between 2 August 2020 up to and including 1 September 2021.

SECTION 2: Plans for replacement ceremonies

Which graduates were affected by ceremonies having to be postponed due to COVID-19?

The following students are affected:

  • Postgraduate students (MA, MSc, MREs, PhD, MPhil) whose conferral dates are between 2 March 2019 and 1 March 2021
  • Undergraduate students (BA, BEng BSc, BSC Intercalated, MBBS, MEng, MSCi) whose award dates are between 2 August 2019 – 1 August 2020.

Your conferral date is the date that your degree is confirmed by your department and Registry.

What is the College proposing for replacement ceremonies?

The College remains committed to delivering an in-person ceremony in due course but we are currently unable to confirm when this will take place. Please rest assured that we will update on developments in due course.

Will I be able to attend a graduation ceremony at the Royal Albert Hall at a later date?

We have continued to explore the possibility of offering replacement graduation ceremonies in the Royal Albert Hall, however for the time being we have been unable to secure any additional dates. It may be that replacement ceremonies cannot run in the Royal Albert Hall for several reasons:

  • The Royal Albert Hall is in high demand and there is very limited availability for non-commercial events. The College is allocated two of those dates annually. The Graduation Team has requested additional dates in the past but have been unable to secure any.
  • The ceremonies already run very close to capacity, with three ceremonies on any given day. We have previously explored adding a further ceremony and the timings mean this has been ruled out.

Will I be able to attend a ceremony in a different location in London at a later date?

The College is continuing to investigate alternative suitable venues in London to deliver an in-person event for all graduates at a later date. Current availability of numerous appropriate venues is limited but we will continue to explore suitable spaces over the coming months. We sought the views of graduates through a consultation in summer 2020, and the responses to that are helping to shape our approach.

When might the College be able to run a replacement graduation ceremony?

At present we cannot give any certainty about when we will be able to run replacement ceremonies. As stated above, we continue to investigate appropriate venues and will make an announcement in due course. The ability to deliver the event safely is paramount, as well as several factors outside of our control including government and College requirements and supplier availability. We will update these web pages as and when circumstances change as well as sending email updates to graduates.

Please ensure your contact details are up to date by completing the ongoing contact and registration form.

Can I defer to a graduation ceremony next year?

Due to the numbers of students affected by the postponement of the ceremonies, it has not been possible to allow graduates whose ceremonies were affected by COVID-19 to defer their attendance to the next Royal Albert Hall ceremony. In order that we can offer the same opportunity to each student we will plan a series of events for those graduates whose ceremonies were postponed due to the pandemic.

Did I still graduate despite a ceremony not yet having been held?

Yes, your degree was still conferred by the College following your marks being passed by your department to Registry. This is not impacted in any way by your attendance or non-attendance at a graduation ceremony.

When/how will I receive my certificate?

Unlike some universities, there is no connection with graduation and receiving your certificate. Certificates are normally issued three months from when a student is conferred, however there are currently some delays due to the certificates team working remotely. If you have a question regarding your certificate, please email certificates@imperial.ac.uk.

Where can I watch the virtual graduation celebrations in December 2020 and May 2021?

The live streamed events will be uploaded to YouTube shortly. Link to follow.

How do I keep in touch about future in-person ceremonies?

The College is committed to providing an in-person ceremony in the future so please complete the ongoing contact and registration form to ensure you receive your invitation when the time comes.

Contact us

You can contact the Graduation team by email. Our office is open from 09.00 until 17.00 Monday to Friday. 

We aim to respond to emails within three working days.