Directorate for the Student Experience

Graduation: improvements on the day

25 June 2018

Graduation is the culmination of the student journey; the time of year when the University of Manchester acknowledges the success of our students. It’s a time of joy and celebration for graduating students and their guests, many of whom will be visiting our campus for the first time.

During the Design and Discovery phase of the SLP, colleagues attending the graduation workshops had this in mind when designing processes to improve the experience on the day, for both students and staff.

Logistically, graduation ceremonies will remain largely the same because the current process works well. However, to ensure a consistent experience the central graduation team will be standardising ceremonies held in the elegant Whitworth Hall and organising catered marquee receptions. Improvements will make things easier on the day and ensure students have a consistent experience. For example:

  • All graduation ceremonies will be organised by the central graduation team to ensure a consistent experience for students across different schools. Ceremonies will be scheduled to ensure the Whitworth Hall is being used as efficiently as possible, avoid ceremonies that are either too small or are overcrowded, which can be a health and safety hazard. Cohorts of students on the same course will not be split up unless the cohort is larger than the capacity of the venue.
  • Receptions will then be held directly after the ceremony, which marks an improvement compared to the current scenario where receptions sometimes have to take place at a different time of the day. Catering will be provided, and the standardisation will help with the logistics for Food on Campus. Schools will be encouraged to add their own finishing touches to graduation receptions through activities like prize giving.
  • Currently the University does not offer much to non-ticket holders and we are hoping to address this. In future there will be a member of staff to meet and greet visitors in the lecture theatre where the graduation will be shown. There will also be AV support on-hand if there are problems with the projection, improving the experience of non-ticket holders.

To find out more about other graduation changes, you can head to our website:

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