Class of 2020 graduation celebrations

We are delighted to be able to invite our Class of 2020 graduates and their guests to join us on campus for graduation celebrations taking place on weekdays between Wednesday 1 and Wednesday 8 September 2021. 

The situation with the ongoing pandemic is still unpredictable and the information on this page is subject to any future changes in government restrictions, but we hope that our focus on outdoor, socially distanced activities will enable us to be able to go ahead. 

You can watch the September Graduation Celebrations online. 

Please see our Graduation Celebration Campus Map in line with the information below.

What can I expect on the day?

We have designed the on-campus graduation celebrations to replicate the usual graduation experience as much as possible without conferring the degrees (as these have already been conferred), and while also taking into account the extra measures required as a result of the pandemic. Whilst the difficult situation in which we are all operating means that we will not be able to run a standard ceremony, the outdoor celebrations will include many of the traditional features, including music, academic dress and speeches from University officials. We are also working on some special touches to include in the celebrations so that memories from your time at university can be shared. 

The outdoor assemblies will take place in the Green Heart, with access to the arena via North Gate. The events will be standing room only, save for a small section of seating that will be reserved for anyone with mobility issues. Whilst there will not be any chairs set out in the outdoor arena, you are welcome to bring a blanket or seat with you if you would like to sit on the amphitheatre lawn in the Green Heart arena to watch on the outdoor cinema screen. This will be a live relay from the main stage, situated under cover of the celebration marquee at the bottom of the Green Heart arena. The celebrations will also be webcast so that anyone unable to join us on campus can watch from home.

Subject to any changes in government guidance, we hope that you will be able to bring as many guests with you to campus as you like. In the interests of safety we will need to limit the number of guests who can join you in the arena to two; just like we would for a standard Degree Congregation in the Great Hall. There will also be viewing rooms available around campus for any guests that we can't accommodate in the arena and as wet-weather contingency! Extra tickets are available for registered carers and babes in arms do not need a ticket.         

We will open the Green Heart arena to attendees 30 minutes before the celebration start time, to give everyone a chance to get settled in and enjoy the complimentary refreshments. The formal part of the event will last approximately 30 minutes, after which there will be time for photographs before exiting the arena to enjoy the hospitality facilities on campus and have your Great Hall moment. We hope that the combination of this socially distanced outdoor ceremony and the exclusive on-stage experience we are putting together for you in the Great Hall will provide a truly celebratory experience in a COVID-secure manner.

The Great Hall will be open for the Moment on Stage from 9.00am (BST) to 5.00pm (BST) on each day of the celebrations. 

How will I receive my ticket? 

When book a place you will receive confirmation that you have successfully booked your celebration day after you submit the form. You should receive your graduation ticket, which will confirm the time of your celebration and will grant access to the arena for you and two of your guests, via email by the end of Friday 13 August. The ticket will be sent to the email address that you supplied on your booking form. You will need to show your e-ticket in order to gain access to the graduation arena. Due to the large number of emails it may take some time for them all to go through. Please check your junk folders in case the email has been redirected there. If your ticket hasn't arrived by Monday 16 August please contact us at graduation@contacts.bham.ac.uk

How many guests can I bring with me? 

Subject to any changes in government guidance, we hope that you will be able to bring as many guests with you to campus as you like. In the interests of safety, we will need to limit the number of guests who can join you in the arena to two, just like we do for a standard Degree Congregation in the Great Hall. There will be viewing rooms available around campus for any guests that we can't accommodate in the arena and as wet-weather contingency! The outdoor assembly will last approximately 30 minutes and the speeches will also be webcast so that anyone unable to join you in the arena can watch online. The recordings will then continue to be available on YouTube, should anyone miss them live.         

Will there be allocated seating? 

The outdoor assemblies being held in the Green Heart arena will not be seated events and will be standing room only. Some seating will be available in the Green Heart arena for anyone with mobility issues. There will be marshals on hand to manage this priority seating area. Whilst there will not be any chairs set out in the outdoor arena, you are welcome to bring a blanket or seat with you if you would like to sit on the amphitheatre lawn in the Green Heart arena to watch on the outdoor cinema screen. 

What if I have access requirements?

If you are driving to the celebrations, parking for blue badge holders is available on campus and is identifiable via the campus mobility map. Some disabled parking may require you to enter restricted campus areas. If this is the case, please press the buzzer to speak to security, who will be able to open the appropriate gate for you. Please ensure that you display your blue badge clearly. 

In order to better facilitate access to the arena, we recommend entering campus via the entrance on Pritchatts Road (opposite the European Research Institute Building – reference G3 on the campus mobility map). This route also provides the best level-access entry point for the graduation arena in the Green Heart. There is a level-entry gate into the arena outside the Teaching and Learning Building. 

The outdoor assemblies being held in the Green Heart will not be seated events and will be standing room only. Some seating will be available in the Green Heart arena for anyone with mobility issues. There will be marshals on hand to manage this priority seating area, so please do inform them if you require any assistance.

The campus mobility map also shows level access routes to the Great Hall for your photography. You should enter via the Bramall Building (reference R12 on the campus mobility map).

If you have any access requirements that you would like to discuss with a member of the team, particularly with regard to your photographs in the Great Hall, please email graduation@contacts.bham.ac.uk and we will be happy to talk you through the options available to you. 

Will my name be read out as part of the celebrations?

In the interests of keeping the time spent in large groups to a minimum, your name will not be read out at the outdoor assemblies but we will announce your name before you have your Moment on Stage in the Great Hall. Your guests will be able to witness this moment as members of the audience in the Great Hall. This special moment will be captured on film and provided to you as a memento of your achievements. The Great Hall will be open from 9.00am (BST) to 5.00pm (BST) each day of the celebrations. 

Will I get to go up on stage in the Great Hall?

Yes! You will have a your Moment on Stage in the Great Hall, which will be captured on film as part of the special photography package being provided by the University. Your guests will be able to witness this moment as members of the audience in the Great Hall. The Great Hall will be open from 9.00am (BST) to 5.00pm (BST) on each day of the celebrations.  

How do I book my photography package?

To help make your graduation day special we have arranged a free photography package for you. There are two elements to the photography package: a traditional portrait shot and your Moment on Stage. Bookings closed on Tuesday 24 August 2021. If you didn't book in advance we will accommodate you on the day but you will need to register with Ede and Ravenscroft in the reception area of the Bramall Music Building first. In addition to your booking confirmation from Ede and Ravenscroft, you will also need to show your ticket to the graduation celebrations in the Green Heart arena to gain access to the Great Hall for the Moment on Stage.

For full details of what’s included in the photography package, please visit the September 2021 photography webpage

How do I order my robes?

If you would like to wear academic dress for the celebrations, you can hire your robes from Ede and Ravenscroft at a discounted price arranged for you by the University, using the supplier’s online order form by 23:59 (BST) on Tuesday 24 August 2021. Wearing academic dress is entirely optional for these events. The robes will be available to collect from campus on the day of your graduation celebration. If you missed the deadline to order Ede and Ravenscroft will be bringing spares with them so please speak to them at the Alan Walters Building (map reference R29) if you need to place an order on the day. If you experience any problems with your order, please contact customer_services@academic-services.co.uk or 01223 734759. 

Where do I collect my robes?

You can collect your robes on the day of your celebration from the Alan Walters Building (map reference R29). Please leave plenty of time to be ready for the start of your outdoor assembly. The collection point will open at 8.30am (BST) and close when the final celebration starts.  

How do I return my robes?

Robes are to be returned to Ede and Ravenscroft at the outdoor return point (under the Law Building arches, by the Clock Tower) by 7.00pm (BST) on the day of the celebration. 

Do I have to order robes to take part?

No, wearing academic dress is entirely optional for these events. 

What catering options will be available?

There will be a range of exciting catering options available at the graduation festival in University Square and Chancellor’s Court. You will be able to indulge in a variety of delicious street foods at one of our outdoor pavilions, providing freshly made and locally sourced cuisine. No pre-booking will be required in order to purchase items from these outdoor food stalls but you will be asked to follow any COVID-19 rules needed at the time. We will also be providing complimentary drinks in the graduation arena at the graduation celebrations.    

Where can I stay? 

Edgbaston Park Hotel and Conference Centre is the University of Birmingham’s hotel and is just a short walk from the main campus. Opened in 2018, it has 172 bedrooms, an on-site bar and restaurant, plus car parking. Those guests looking for overnight accommodation should contact the hotel directly on 0121 414 8888 or visit www.edgbastonparkhotel.com

Where can I get the latest information about parking?

Information about visitor parking can be found on our car parking page. 

What Covid-security measures will be in place at the graduation celebrations?

To help protect you, your guests and our staff the following measures have been put in place:

  • We will be offering the majority of activity outside in the fresh air.
  • Face coverings are advised in crowded areas.
  • Access to the graduation arena for the celebration will be ticketed in order for people to maintain social distancing should they wish. 
  • All attendees should take a lateral flow test less than 24 hours before travelling to campus for the events. You must not travel to campus if you test positive, or if you have any COVID symptoms or if you are self-isolating.

What if it rains?

The weather can be unpredictable so please bring an umbrella with you if you can. There will be some covered areas in the Green Heart, plus plenty of indoor viewing rooms should anyone prefer to take a seat and watch the show from inside one of the nearby buildings.

Where are the viewing rooms?

Viewing rooms will be available in Room G15 of Muirhead Tower (map reference R21), and Lecture Theatres 1 and 2 in the Teaching and Learning Building (map reference R32).

How do I watch the celebrations online?

The on-campus events will also be webcast via the University's YouTube channel.

Can I defer to a later Degree Congregation?

As your degree has already been conferred by Special Warrant you will not be able to have it conferred again at a future Degree Congregation. This means that it is not possible to choose to defer your graduation.

What if the events can't go ahead?

The situation with the ongoing pandemic is still unpredictable and the information on this page is subject to any future changes in government restrictions. We hope that the focus on outdoor, socially distanced activities will enable us to be able to go ahead. We advise you to leave making any travel arrangements until closer to the time.

Please note that, in the event of the graduation celebrations having to be cancelled, delayed, postponed or curtailed due to circumstances beyond the control of the University, the University shall give as much notice as is reasonably practical to students of such cancellation, delay, postponement or curtailment. Circumstances that would constitute a force majeure may include, but are not limited to: fire, flood, explosion or any other incident that renders the venue in which the Degree Congregation is due to be held unsafe to use; terrorist act (or threat of a terrorist act); natural disaster; pandemic; industrial action; or a period of national mourning. The University will not be liable for any losses, direct or otherwise, incurred by students or their guests in the event of the University of Birmingham’s graduation ceremonies being cancelled, delayed, postponed or curtailed due to circumstances beyond the control of the University.

If the worst happens and the on-campus events can't go ahead in September at all, we will endeavour to provide the Class of 2020 with an on-campus celebration in the future.