What is graduating in absence/absentia?
Graduating 'in absence' or 'in absentia' is when a degree is awarded without attending a ceremony in person.
Candidates who have their degrees awarded 'in absence' cannot then proceed to have that degree awarded 'in person' at a subsequent ceremony. However, candidates who opt to have their degree awarded 'in absence' at ceremonies affected by the COVID-19 pandemic will be invited to attend an alternative ceremony at the Senate House as soon as it is safe to do so.
What are the arrangements for the alternative ceremony?
For students who graduate in absence because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the University and Colleges’ Congregations Working Group has adopted the key principle of seeking to offer a ceremony in the Senate House that will be as close as possible to the usual in person graduation.
The aim is to make it possible for College cohorts to reunite in their College and to process together to the Senate House in academic dress.
Candidates yet to graduate will have their degrees awarded and those who have graduated in absence at ceremonies affected by COVID-19 will have their degrees celebrated in a similar way.
How soon this can happen depends on when social distancing rules have eased and large gatherings are again possible.
The University Working Group is consulting with Colleges in a range of potential dates for 2021.
What if I do not wish to graduate in absence?
If you would prefer to defer until 'in person' graduation congregations can resume, that option remains open, but it may not be for some time and possibly more than a year.
BA candidates: please note that the MA degree cannot be awarded until you have held your BA degree for at least two years.
- Requirements to proceed
Confirmation of approval for your degree MUST be received by the College from the Board of Graduate Studies. This is particularly important for those graduating in July as many MPhil courses will not be approved in time. Please check with your department when your Degree Committee will approve your degree.
If your Degree Committee has not approved your degree you will not be able to have it awarded at a ceremony.
Please remember that you need to pay your College and University bills before you will be put forward for a graduation. If you wish to check your account status, please contact the Accounts Assistant.
Books from the Wolfson Library are also required to be returned or replaced before you can be approved to graduate.
- Returning Library books
Before you are approved to graduate you must return any books loaned from the Wolfson Library.
If you are currently in College you can return them to the drop box inside the foyer of the Library.
If you are not in College you can post the books back to College:
- If you are in the UK, you can request a pre-paid returns label to return your books by freepost. You can post items from the UL, Faculty and Department libraries and colleges using this service.
- Please note the International Returns refund system operated by the University Library does not apply to College books. We therefore kindly ask you to cover the cost of postage or you can purchase replacement copies via Amazon.uk and have them shipped to the Library. Used copies in good condition are acceptable.
- Applying to graduate
Whether you apply to graduate 'in person' or 'in absence', you must apply via CamSIS Self-Service
If your Raven login is no longer valid, please register for the 'Extended Self-Service' to graduate.
The CamSIS Self-Service Guide is available here
When signing up, please make sure that you also update your contact details (postal and email address and contact telephone). This is especially important as these details will be used for any correspondence before and after the ceremony.
Should you have any queries regarding applying please contact the Praelector's Secretary
- Degree certificates and transcripts
Transcripts for degrees awarded based on assessments modified as a result of COVID-19 will include brief wording explaining that the candidate undertook alternative assessments, and provide a link to a fuller explanation of the nature of the assessment, hosted on the CamData website
Paper copies of certificates and transcripts for everyone who has graduated in absence during the lockdown period will be produced and posted as soon as staff are able to return to the workplace.
Graduates can sign up to the online Digitary allowing them to access and share an electronic copy of their official transcript as well as access an image of their graduation certificate.
Students who defer graduation will also be able to access the Digitary but will not be recorded as having graduated.
- Graduation ceremony dates and application deadlines
Arrangements for Graduation ceremonies taking place from July 2021 are now confirmed.
All dates are subject to change or cancellation, and depend on the latest government advice regarding COVID-19.
For events listed below: In-person for graduands but no guests permitted in the Senate House.
Academic Term Date of ceremony CamSIS application portal opens CamSIS application deadline
Easter Term 2021
Saturday 3 July (General Admission)* January 2021 31 May 2021 Saturday 17 July (General Admission)** January 2021 31 May 2021 Long Vacation Saturday 24 July*** April 2021 08 July 2021 Saturday 18 Sep**** May 2021 02 Sep 2021
Michaelmas Term 2021
Saturday 23 Oct TBC TBC Saturday 27 Nov TBC TBC
*for 2021 undergraduate finalists whose degrees have been confirmed in advance of this ceremony (BTh, BA, VetMB and BA with MEng or MMath or MSci degrees only).
**for any 2020 undergraduates who wish to take their degree in person or celebrate a degree awarded last year 'in absence', together with those 2021 undergraduates whose degrees were confirmed only after 3 July (BTh, BA, VetMB and BA with MEng or MMath or MSci degrees only).
***for undergraduates and postgraduates who are eligible to receive degrees in 2021 and whose degrees have been confirmed before this date. Space permitting, at this ceremony we may also be able to celebrate degrees awarded in 2020 'in absence'.
****for undergraduates and postgraduates who were eligible to receive degrees in 2020 or who received them in absence and wish to celebrate them in the Senate House. Space permitting, 2021 graduands may also be awarded their degrees on this date, but is intended primarily for those who completed all requirements for their degrees in calendar year 2020.
- General Admission 2021 - further information
The in-person ceremony without guests
To ensure a Covid-secure environment for all students and staff participating at General Admission, unfortunately we are unable to accommodate guests at the ceremony. Guests will have no access to the Senate-House, or to Senate-House Yard.
A socially-distanced ceremony
Social distancing will be observed in Senate-House Yard and in the Senate-House itself. On arrival, you will be queuing, individually distanced, under marquees in Senate-House Yard before entering the Senate-House in single file.
During the ceremony, you will proceed through the Senate-House and you will stand to receive your degree. The Praelector will give the customary speech to present you and your degree will be conferred individually by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (normally your Head of House). Once you have completed your ceremony you may either engage with the Tempest photography series or leave the Yard.
Additional COVID-19 measures on site
Students and staff are currently required to wear face coverings inside University and College buildings. Everyone participating in General Admission will be expected to wear face coverings inside the Senate-House, unless an exemption applies. The only exceptions to this will be staff required to speak during the ceremony - the Senior Proctor (giving the welcome); Esquire Bedell (reading names); Praelector (presenting graduands), and Deputy Vice-Chancellor (conferring degrees). You will be permitted to remove your mask when your degree is conferred, if you wish to do so.
Livestreaming the ceremony
To allow your family and friends to view your graduation in the Senate-House, the University will provide a livestream of the event. This may be viewed either as part of our College event (if guidance allows guests can be present here), or at home. Please note that by attending the ceremony in person, you are giving your consent to being included in the livestream. It will not be possible to take part in the ceremony and not be part of the recording.
Photography at the Senate-House
Tempest, the University's official photographers, will offer studio photography and certificate framing services on the day, as well as photographing you inside the Senate-House as your degree is conferred. It will not be possible for graduands to gather in front of Senate-House to take photographs on the day.
What other options are available?
- Graduating at an in-person, no-guest ceremony on another date, if you are unable to proceed to your degree at General Admission.
- Graduating in absence: you may proceed to your degree in absentia at General Admission. If you graduate in absence, it will be possible for you to attend a ceremony in the Senate-House at a later date to celebrate your degree in person. Please note that it might be some time before ceremonies with guests can resume.
- Deferring graduation until in-person ceremonies with guests can resume: please be aware that there are currently no confirmed dates for such ceremonies, and they may not resume for some time. Please note that no certificate of degree can be issued until your degree has been conferred, whether in absence or in person, however you may use a digital transcript to confirm your entitlement to a degree (for example, if an employer requests this).
- Awarding of M.B. for Medics who completed in June 2019 and April 2020
The medics who completed in June 2019 had until the May 2020 congregation to have their MB awarded at the Senate House; this is now extended until May 2022.
The medics that completed in 2020 completed early (in April) to allow them to help out on the front line for the NHS. This would mean they only had until March 2021 to collect their MB as the April ceremony date is after the anniversary of the BCHir date; this is now extended until May 2022.
- The Master of Arts (MA) Degree
If you hold a Cambridge BA, you may proceed to the MA not less than six years from the end of your first term of residence, providing that you have held your BA degree for at least two years.
Further information is available here