Graduation in England: How Does It Work for International Students?

Graduation can be overwhelming for those who find satisfaction in reaching milestones.

Graduating as an international student in England is an achievement worth celebrating.

Whether from an undergraduate or postgraduate degree, graduation in England signifies your commitment to the end.

If you just gained admission into a program in England, read this article on graduation ceremonies in England. It covers how graduation in England works for international students and who would graduate from a program in England.

Table of contents

Do Schools in England have Graduation Ceremonies?

Yes, schools in England do have graduation ceremonies, but they are more commonly known as “graduation events” or “leavers’ ceremonies.”

Graduation ceremonies in England mark the transition of students from one phase of education to another. Although they are more commonly associated with universities and higher education institutions, some secondary schools and colleges in England also organize formal events to celebrate the achievements of their students.

These graduation ceremonies in UK often include a combination of speeches, awards, and acknowledgments of students’ accomplishments.

Students might wear formal attire, similar to those worn during university graduation ceremonies, and they may receive certificates or awards that recognize their achievements at the school.

The format and scale of these events can vary widely based on the school’s traditions, resources, and the age group of the students. Some schools may hold relatively simple ceremonies within the premises, while others might organize larger events in external venues.

The aim is to provide students with a sense of accomplishment, closure, and encouragement as they embark on the next phase of their education or professional journey.

Read Also: What Should You Wear to Graduation in the UK? Graduation Dressing Ideas

Highlights of The English Graduation System

The English graduation system has a process every graduand must scale through to qualify for graduation.

  • #1. A Closer Look at the Degree Classification

In England, degrees are typically classified into several categories:

  • First-Class Honours
  • Upper Second-Class Honours (2:1)
  • Lower Second-Class Honours (2:2)
  • Third-Class Honours.

Your overall academic performance determines the classification.

  • #2. Timing of Graduation

Graduation ceremonies in England are usually held twice a year: once in the summer and again in the winter.

  • #3. Academic Requirements

Before participating in a graduation ceremony, students must fulfill all the academic requirements of their degree program. This includes completing coursework, assignments, and examinations.

  • #4. Administrative Tasks

Administrative tasks may include registering for the ceremony, updating contact information, and paying outstanding fees.

  • #5. Attire and Dress Code

Graduation ceremonies in England involve traditional academic attire, including caps and gowns. The style and color of the gown can differ based on the degree and university.

  • #6. Ceremony Proceedings

Graduation ceremonies follow an order of proceedings. These involve speeches, graduates’ presentations, and degrees’ conferral. The formal nature of the event is upheld throughout.

  • #7. Guest Accommodations

Universities provide information for guests attending the ceremony. This includes details about seating arrangements, accessibility, and any additional events planned for the day.

  • #8. Degree Conferment

The triumph arrives as graduates walk across the stage to receive their degrees. This moment signifies the culmination of years of hard work and dedication.

  • #9. Certification and Transcripts

After the ceremony, graduates receive a formal certificate. They can also request official transcripts that detail the courses taken and the corresponding grades achieved.

  • #10. Commemorating Achievements

Graduation ceremonies offer opportunities for photography to capture memories with friends, family, and professors. It’s also a chance for graduates to connect with peers and mentors before moving forward.

See Also: 60+ Office Grad Cap Ideas That Will Make You The Star of Your Graduation 

Preparing for Graduation in England: How It Works for International Students

As an international student in England, taking several steps to prepare for graduation and ensure a smooth transition to the next phase of your educational journey is important. Below is a detailed overview of the preparation process.

#1. Fulfilling Academic Requirements

Before you can participate in a graduation ceremony, it’s crucial to ensure that you have met all the academic requirements of your degree program.

This includes finishing all coursework, assignments, projects, and exams. Make sure to double-check with your academic advisor or department to confirm that you’ve fulfilled all the prerequisites.

#2. Communication with Advisors

Reach out to your academic advisors or professors to discuss your graduation plans.

They can guide and ensure you have completed all necessary coursework and exams.

They might also offer insights into any additional requirements specific to international students.

#3. Review Administrative Obligations

Graduation involves administrative tasks that need your attention. Make sure to:

Confirm Your Personal Information: Ensure your contact information is up-to-date with the university. This is important for receiving graduation-related communications.

Clear Outstanding Fees

Most universities require that all outstanding fees, including tuition and library fines, are settled before you can participate in the ceremony. Clearing these fees well in advance will prevent any last-minute complications.

Register for the Ceremony

Universities typically require students to register for the graduation ceremony by a specific deadline. This registration process helps the university plan for the event and ration resources.

#4. Visa Considerations

If you’re an international student with a visa, consider how your graduation might impact your visa status.

Some student visas have a specific validity period after the completion of your program, during which you might be allowed to stay and work.

Familiarize yourself with the visa regulations and consult your university’s international student office if you have questions.

#5. Cap and Gown Rental or Purchase

Graduation ceremonies often require students to wear traditional academic attire, which includes a cap and gown.

Check with your university to find out if they provide rental options or if you need to buy these items. Plan to ensure you have the appropriate attire for the ceremony.

Read also: 35 Graduation Party Picture Ideas That Will Wow Your Friends: Capture the Memories

#6. Plan for Guests

If you have family members or friends who wish to attend your graduation, inform them about the ceremony date and location well in advance.

Some universities may have rules on the number of guests, so be sure to check with them regarding guest lodgings.

#7. Travel Arrangements

If you’re an international student studying in England and your family plans to attend the graduation ceremony, help them with travel arrangements, including accommodation and transportation.

To ensure that you show respect and dress appropriately, it’s advisable to acquaint yourself and your guests with the customs and etiquette of English graduation ceremonies.

Additionally, ensure to provide the guests with essential details about the ceremony’s schedule and venue.

Read Also: 35 Best Office Graduation Quotes That stand the test of time

How Does Graduation Work in the UK? The Graduation Ceremony in UK Experience

A graduation ceremony in the UK is not just about receiving a degree. This remarkable event encapsulates years of hard work, dedication, and academic achievement.

Here’s a glimpse into the unique and memorable graduation ceremony experience in the UK:

  • Sense of Accomplishment: Graduation is a moment of great achievement. As you don your cap and gown, reflect on all you’ve overcome and gained wisdom.
  • Traditional Attire: Wearing the traditional academic attire, a cap, and a gown, signifies your transition from student to graduate.
  • Ceremonial Procession: The ceremony begins with a formal procession of academic staff, dignitaries, and graduates. This procession adds a sense of grandeur to the event, reminding you of the historical importance of education.
  • Speeches and Congratulatory Messages: During the ceremony, you’ll hear speeches from university officials, faculty members, and often a distinguished guest speaker.
  • Conferral of Degrees: The pivotal moment arrives when graduates are called to the stage individually. As your name is announced, you’ll walk across the stage to receive your degree certificate.
  • Shaking Hands: Shaking hands with a university representative as you receive your degree certificate is customary in UK graduation ceremonies. It’s a gesture of recognition and celebration of your achievement.
  • Proud Families and Guests: The audience, filled with your family and friends, adds an atmosphere of joy and pride. Their presence magnifies the occasion’s significance and provides a support system to share in your success.
  • Photographic Memories: Many institutes arrange for professional photographers to capture the moment you receive your degree. These photographs become special souvenirs that memorialize your achievement.
  • Alumni Network: Graduation marks the beginning of your affiliation with the university’s alumni network. This network provides opportunities for continued connection, networking, and engagement with fellow graduates and the institution.

What Happens After The Graduation In UK? | Certification and Transcripts

After the ceremony, your degree will be formally conferred, and you will receive a certificate. Your degree certificate will include essential information such as your full name, the name of the degree conferred, the date of your graduation, and the classification of your degree (e.g., First-Class Honours, 2:1, etc.).

Afterwards, you can request official transcripts outlining your completed courses and grades. This is valuable when applying for further studies or employment.

They provide potential employers or academic institutions with insight into your academic performance and the subjects you’ve studied.

Finally, the graduation ceremony is a chance to connect with peers and professors one last time before embarking on your next journey.

When Do you Graduate in England?

In England, graduation timing varies based on the academic calendar of universities and institutions.

They are usually held at specific times throughout the year to accommodate the completion of academic requirements.

Below is an overview of when you may graduate in England.

  1. Summer Graduation: Summer graduations in England usually occur between June and August. The exact dates can differ from one university to another.
  2. Winter Graduation: Winter graduations are typically held between December and January. These ceremonies honor students who have fulfilled their academic requirements in the first half of the academic year.
  3. Semester-Based Systems: Some universities in England operate on a semester-based system, with two main academic terms during the year—usually the fall and spring semesters. Graduation ceremonies for these institutions are often aligned with the conclusion of these terms.
  4. Trimester-Based Systems: Certain universities follow a trimester-based system with three academic terms. Graduation ceremonies for these institutions might take place after each trimester.
  5. Registration Deadlines: Universities typically have registration deadlines for graduation ceremonies. You must know these deadlines and register for the ceremony within the specified timeframe to secure your spot.
  6. Variances Among Universities: Remember that the timing of graduation ceremonies can vary among universities. Some universities might have additional annual graduation ceremonies to accommodate many graduates.

Can Island Medical Graduates Work in England?

Yes, medical graduates from certain international institutions, including those from islands, can work in England under certain conditions and after meeting specific requirements.

However, their medical degrees must be from institutions recognized by the General Medical Council (GMC) of the United Kingdom.

Medical graduates who have qualifications from medical schools that are listed on the GMCs can apply for registration with the GMC. If successful, work as doctor in the UK.

The process involves several stages, including verification of qualifications, language proficiency tests, and registration procedures.


  1. Can I participate in a graduation ceremony if I have outstanding fees?
    • Most universities require all outstanding fees to be settled before participating in the ceremony.
  2. Is attendance at the graduation ceremony mandatory?
    • Attendance is usually optional, but it’s a wonderful opportunity to celebrate your accomplishments.
  3. Can family and friends attend the ceremony?
    • Absolutely! Universities often provide guest tickets for the ceremony.
  4. How should I address my professors during the ceremony?
    • You can use their formal title (e.g., Professor [Last Name]).
  5. Can I graduate in absentia?
    • Yes, some universities allow students to graduate in absentia if they can’t attend the ceremony.


The graduation ceremony in England is a remarkable event that signifies the culmination of your academic journey. It’s a celebration of your hard work, perseverance, and dedication.

As an international student, this achievement holds even more significance, showcasing your ability to thrive in a new cultural and educational environment.

Cherish the memories created during this event, and let them inspire you as you step into the next chapter of your life.



You May Also Like