December 2020 Degree Congregations

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic we have had to postpone our on-campus Degree Congregations. We will instead be providing Virtual Graduation Celebrations in the week commencing Monday 7 December 2020 to mark the achievements of all of our Class of 2020 December graduating cohort. 

We appreciate that a virtual celebration cannot replace the on-campus ceremony that you and your families were looking forward to, but we hope that the online celebrations that we have planned will provide a memorable opportunity to reflect on your life at university. We also remain committed to hosting on-campus celebrations for the Class of 2020 when it is possible to do so. Further details of the on-campus events will follow in 2021, once the situation is clearer. 

Virtual Graduation Celebrations

Monday 7 December 2020 will mark the start of our winter Virtual Graduation Celebrations. The celebrations will include a virtual ceremony, access to a free digital yearbook and the chance to connect with your classmates. You can find the dates and times of your virtual ceremony, which will take place on the University's YouTube channel, below. All graduands will be emailed with an invitation to their virtual celebration in the week commencing Monday 30 November. Friends and family are very welcome to watch the events on our YouTube channel too. Please follow us on Instagram and on Twitter for ideas on how you, your friends and family can celebrate your success.  


Ceremony dates and times

Monday 7 December 14:00–15:30
The School of Government, College of Social Sciences

Tuesday 8 December 11:00–12:30   
Birmingham Business School, College of Social Sciences

Tuesday 8 December 14:00–15:30
College of Medical and Dental Sciences (excluding students in the School of Nursing)

Wednesday 9 December 11:00–12:30   
School of Education, College of Social Sciences

Wednesday 9 December 14:00–15:30   
School of Social Policy, College of Social Sciences

Thursday 10 December 11:00–12:30  
College of Arts & Law and Liberal Arts & Natural Sciences

Thursday 10 December 14:00–15:30   
School of Nursing, College of Medical and Dental Sciences

Friday 11 December 11:00–12:30   
College of Engineering and Physical Sciences

Friday 11 December 14:00–15:30   
College of Life and Environmental Sciences

What will happen at my ceremony?

Your ceremony will begin with a YouTube premiere of a special ceremony film for your college, which everyone joining the event will be able to watch at the same time. This will feature music performed by Birmingham Symphonic Brass and messages of congratulations from a range of speakers, including our Vice-Chancellor who will induct the graduating students to their degrees. We know that having your name appear on screen isn’t the same as going up on stage but we hope that you enjoy this moment of recognition and are able to celebrate your success from wherever you are in the world. The film will also include photographs submitted by some of our graduating students and a special message for the Class of 2020 from members of our alumni community. Once the film ends the celebrations will continue at a live online event, also accessed via YouTube, featuring members of staff and student representatives from your college.  

How will I access my virtual ceremony and can I share it with my guests?

We will be showing each ceremony on the University's YouTube channel. All graduating students will be sent a link to their event soon. You are welcome to share these YouTube links with friends and family so that they can watch the ceremony too, even if they can't be with you in person. 

If you are unable to access YouTube due to being in a country where the website is blocked then you will be sent an invitation to attend via Zoom Webinar. We will also be sharing the ceremony films through the University's Weibo channel

What if I miss the ceremony?

The ceremony film and recording from the live event will be made available on YouTube so that anyone who missed it on the day can still enjoy the celebrations. 


Submissions for the University of Birmingham yearbook have now closed. A free digital copy of the yearbook will be sent to all of our graduating students after the Virtual Graduation Celebrations have taken place. The digital yearbook is free of charge. If you receive an email asking for money for a University of Birmingham yearbook please be aware that the email is from an external company and they are not affiliated with the University. The yearbook that they are offering is not the official University yearbook.  


Frequently asked questions

We have compiled a list of frequently asked questions. These will be updated and added to periodically so please check back for regular updates.

Will I still graduate in 2020?

Colleagues across the University are working hard to ensure that all final-year students, at all levels, who can complete this year, will do so. Students completing their studies in time to graduate at our December Degree Congregations will have their degree conferred in absentia by Special Warrant – ensuring that they graduate as planned in 2020 despite not being able to attend an on-campus Degree Congregation.

When will I receive my certificate and transcript?

Degrees were conferred by Special Warrant on Wednesday 25 November 2020. If you graduated as part of the Special Warrant then your certificate and transcript will be available to view online from 1 December 2020, which means that you will then be able to access the documents from wherever you are in the world. Please use the University’s Secure Documents website (Verify) to access the electronic copy of your documents after 1 December. You will need to log into the site using your University of Birmingham alumni email address ( and password. If you have forgotten your password, please contact our IT Services team via telephone at 0121 414 7171 or via the IT Services website to reset your password. 

We will post the paper copy of your certificate and transcript as quickly as we can after the degrees have been conferred and hope that they will arrive by the end of January 2021, depending on how the postal service copes with increased demand over Christmas. If you have not received your documents by Monday 1 March 2021, you will be able to report your certificate as lost using our online form. 

Will I get to attend a graduation celebration on campus?

We are absolutely committed to providing all Class of 2020 graduating students with an opportunity to come together, celebrate and reunite in person and on campus. The event will provide an opportunity to wear your graduation gown and have photographs taken with your friends and family. We will get back in touch with you to provide further information about the on-campus events once the situation becomes clearer in 2021, subject to government guidelines and global restrictions.

I had already chosen to graduate in absentia – how does this affect me?

If you have already chosen to graduate in absentia at the December 2020 Degree Congregations then you will be largely unaffected by the postponement of the on-campus ceremonies. You will still graduate in absentia when your degree is conferred by Special Warrant and you will receive your certificate and transcript in the same way as everyone else.

The main difference is that now you will also be invited to take part in the virtual celebrations due to take place in December and the replacement on-campus event we plan to run when it is possible to do so, should you wish to join us for either of these. You do not need to contact us to register your interest in these events or to change your status. We will be back in touch with further information as soon as it becomes available.   

Can I defer to a later Degree Congregation?

Due to the uncertainties of the current situation, and the large number of graduates now waiting to be able to attend an on-campus event, it is not possible to choose to defer your graduation. We really appreciate how much graduation means to you, your friends and your family. The Degree Congregations mean a great deal to our staff too, so please rest assured that we are doing everything that we can to ensure that we will still be able to come together to celebrate your achievements at replacement on-campus events in the future.  

Can I still order gowns?

Ede & Ravenscroft, our official gown hire suppliers, are offering a direct to home delivery service for UK-based students wanting academic dress for our virtual graduation celebrations for the normal hire fee (including free postage and return). The package includes a 50% discount voucher that can be used towards the cost of hiring robes to attend the replacement on-campus events. Please note that hiring robes for the virtual celebrations is entirely optional and is not a requirement to take part, but robes will be required if you take part in any future on-campus ceremonies.  

If you do not want to hire robes for the virtual celebrations in December then why not have a go at making your own? We would love to see your homemade caps and gowns, you can share them with us using #uobgraduations. Follow @unibirmingham Instagram to see our instructions for making your very own graduation cap and gown, alongside lots of other top tips for making the most of your virtual graduation celebrations.

Will I appear on camera at my ceremony?

You will not appear on camera at your online ceremony but please do share photographs of your celebrations on our social media channels using #uobgraduation if you would like to do so.