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Frequently asked questions

On this page you will find answers to some of the questions you may have about booking your ceremony place, preparing for the ceremony, and the day itself.

If the question you want to ask is not listed below, please contact the Ceremonies Centre. Please note that we receive high volumes of emails around the time of booking and in the lead up to ceremonies, so do check the website information before getting in touch.

Information regarding Coronavirus (COVID-19)

The University is carefully monitoring guidance issued by the UK Government regarding COVID-19 to assess any further action that needs to be taken. Updated information can be found here:

Before booking a ceremony

Is it compulsory to attend a ceremony?

No not at all, we know our graduates are based all around the world and lead very busy lives and it can be difficult to find time to attend. Graduates of The Open University have their qualifications conferred upon them ‘in absentia’ meaning that they receive their degrees without needing to attend a ceremony. With the formalities completed before the ceremony, it means we can make our ceremonies all about celebrating your achievements!

Does my qualification have a ceremony entitlement?

Please see the ‘booking your ceremony’ page for full details on qualifications with ceremony eligibility.

Can I attend more than one ceremony?

Graduates can only attend one ceremony for each eligible qualification. So if you have studied another qualification or at a different level, i.e. BA then an MA or MSc then a PhD, then you can attend another ceremony. You can also be presented for more than one qualification at your ceremony if you wish to only attend once.

How do I accept my qualification offer?

You can accept your offer through your StudentHome page, but if you are having problems, please contact the Qualifications Centre by emailing

I am waiting for my final module result, can I still book?

Yes you can, you don’t need to wait to receive your results.

What if I fail my final module?

If you fail your final module your booking will automatically be withdrawn from the ceremony and any guest tickets will be refunded. You do not need to inform us.

My chosen ceremony is full, what can I do?

If you do not wish to attend one of the alternative ceremonies, there is the option of joining the waiting list for your preferred ceremony, please contact the Ceremonies Centre to request this. If places become available, they will be offered on a first-come first-served basis. Please note that you cannot be booked into one ceremony whilst being on the waiting list for another, and you can only be on one waiting list at a time.

I can’t make any of the ceremony dates this year, can I attend next year?

Yes, your ceremony entitlement remains on your record for life, so you can come back to us at any point in the future. Details of future ceremonies will be displayed on our website so do check back from time to time.

I’m not able to book my ceremony place, can someone book on my behalf?

Yes, if you have a delegate already set up on your record, they can book for you. Alternatively you can set up a delegate to book for you. We just need written confirmation from you, with details of your delegate that you have asked to act on your behalf. They will need to call us to make the booking. Don’t forget that if you want your delegate to purchase guest tickets for you, they will need to pay for them too.

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Before the ceremony

When will I receive my tickets?

Your tickets will be available for collection from the registration desks on the day of your ceremony. Check your individual ceremony page (via the List of ceremonies page) for registration opening times.

What do I do if I can no longer attend?

We’re sorry you can’t make the ceremony anymore. Please contact the Ceremonies Centre so that we can update your record and discuss possible alternative options for you.

Can I get a refund on my tickets?

No sorry, guest tickets are non-refundable. Please see our Terms and Conditions.

What should I do if I or one of my guests needs support?

If you didn’t indicate this on your original booking, please contact the Ceremonies Centre as soon as possible so that we can update our records and discuss the arrangements with you. For further information please see ‘Preparing for your ceremony

How do I obtain a letter to support a visa application?

Please email the Ceremonies Centre to discusss your request. 

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On the day

What should I wear?

Whilst there isn’t a dress code for the ceremony, it is a prestigious occasion. Most of our graduates attend in formal wear, suits, dresses etc. We want you to look and feel your best on your big day!
Service personnel are very welcome to attend in their dress uniforms.
If you have booked your academic dress with Ede and Ravenscroft, the robes have Velcro to secure the hoods in place, but you may wish to bring safety pins to keep them in place.

Will I receive my certificate at the ceremony?

No, these will be posted out to you. If you haven’t received it before the ceremony, it will be posted out to you shortly afterwards. For any queries regarding certification and academic transcripts please contact the Qualifications Centre by emailing

How long does the ceremony last?

Usually 90 mins, but it can be up to 2 hours for our bigger ceremonies.

Are the seats allocated?

Yes, in the majority of our venues, guest seats are allocated. Please note that graduates are seated separately to their guests and will always have allocated seats.

Can I wear a mortar board?

Mortar boards are not permitted to be worn during Open University ceremonies. However, you can borrow one for free when you have your photos taken by the official photographers or hire/purchase one for use outside of the auditorium.

I don’t want to be filmed/photographed at the ceremony, what can I do?

Inform the member of staff on the Enquiries Desk at Registration. They will take your details and make the necessary arrangements to ensure that your photograph is not uploaded to the official photographs website, and you are edited from the YouTube video.

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After the ceremony

How can I pass on feedback?

Shortly after the ceremony you will be sent a short, anonymous survey to complete. Please enter any comments/suggestions you may have. You can contact us via the contact details listed above. 

How do I access the ceremony video?

The ceremony video will appear on our OULife YouTube Channel within 2 weeks following the ceremony.

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Contact us

The Ceremonies Centre is open and ready to support you.

Ceremonies Centre
PO Box 123
Walton Hall
Milton Keynes
+44 (0) 1908 541079

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