19 October 2023

University graduation ceremonies are part of a tradition that dates back to when the first universities were established in Europe in the 12th century. Today graduation is a special, momentous occasion for our graduates and their families. Find out everything you need to know about graduation at UC.



Applications to attend the April 2024 Graduation Celebrations opened on Monday 4 September 2023 and will close on Sunday 17 December 2023.  Late applications will not be accepted. 

If you are completing your qualification in Semester Two, 2023, or over the summer period 2023-24, or have completed your qualification and have yet to have your qualification conferred (legally awarded), and you wish to attend a graduation celebration in April 2024, please apply online via myUC selecting the following option:  

  • Attend a Graduation Celebration. 

Information with respect to the actual dates/times for each Faculty for the April 2024 Celebrations will be available on the Graduation web page later in December.  


Applications to attend the September 2024 Graduation Celebrations will open on 8 April 2024 and close on 14 July 2024.  No late applications will be considered.   


Multiple qualifications

If you are graduating with more than one qualification and they are from different Faculties, you may receive both qualifications together at one celebration.  You must apply to graduate in separate applications for each qualification.


Multiple qualification application process

When you apply to graduate, please indicate in the 'Comments' field which Faculty Celebration you wish to attend to receive both qualifications.


Multiple qualification celebration options

You can choose which Faculty hood you wear at the celebration but it must relate to the Faculty Celebration you are attending. You can not wear both together but may wish to order both hoods for photographs.

If your qualifications are being celebrated at the same celebration, they will be called out together and both testamurs (certificates) will be in the graduation folder presented to you. That is, you do not cross the stage twice in one celebration.


Planning further study?

If you have completed the required points for a qualification, but intend to undertake further study towards that qualification to complete a second major, or you intend to transfer your courses to a higher qualification (for example, from a postgraduate certificate to a postgraduate diploma), you must seek further academic advice from your Faculty Office. See Student Advisors (Continuing Students) for details.

If you have completed the required points for a qualification and you are planning to continue to a new qualification, for example, you have completed a BA and plan to enrol in a BA(Hons), these are separate qualifications and you can graduate with them separately.


Transcripts and Letters

If you require your official academic record or an official letter from the University confirming your eligibility to graduate, please see Academic Transcripts and Letters. Once your qualification has been awarded, your name will be added to the online Graduate Search which is publicly accessible. The University also gives names of graduates to their former secondary school.


Stay connected with UC

When you graduate, you become a member of the UC Alumni. To join the Alumni network and remain connected to UC, visit the Alumni and Fundraising website.

Faculty day and times will be available mid-December.


Eke Tangaroa | Celebration for Māori graduates

Date: TBC
Time: TBC
Venue: TBC

Click here for more information>

Pasifika Graduation Celebration

Date: TBC
Time: TBC
Venue: TBC

Click here for more information>

* Please note these dates and times may be subject to change.

Future Graduation Dates

9 - 11 April 2024 

3 - 5 September 2024 

8 - 10 April 2025 

26 - 28 August 2025 

14 - 16 April 2026 

25 - 27 August 2026 

*Please note these dates are subject to change 


Autumn and Spring Graduations

UC continues to hold two graduation weeks throughout the year, with celebration events now held during the Autumn and Spring mid-semester breaks.

These changes ensure graduates and their whānau and friends can celebrate their achievements together. They also help to relieve some time and financial constraints at the end of the year.

Academic regalia

Full academic regalia is required to attend a graduation celebration, and Aotearoa New Zealand universities have a system of academic regalia which is worn by graduates to indicate their degree. The colour of the hood denotes the different faculties or disciplines, except for the peony red PhD hood.

The stock of academic dress for Ōtautahi Christchurch graduation celebrations of the University of Canterbury is owned and maintained by GWC Regalia Hire. You will receive an email from the Events Team when you can order your regalia.  Please do not try to order regalia prior to this.  The process to follow is outlined below and the link will become available when regalia can be ordered.  This may not be until late July / early August 2023. 


Ordering regalia

  • Follow link provided by GWC Regalia Hire 
  • Click on 'University of Canterbury'
  • Follow the GWC Regalia Hire step-by-step process to the end, and ensure you select your correct qualification and celebration
  • Please include your height and head circumference when selecting your regalia
  • Once your order is complete, you will receive a confirmation email

Collect your regalia from GWC, Dovedale Campus, Wairarapa building, Block ED15, Ilam.

If you are unable to collect your regalia at the specified time, you may ask a friend or relative to collect it for you.

On the day of your graduation celebration, you must wear appropriate academic regalia when taking part. Please note, if you are not wearing academic regalia, you will not be able to attend the graduation celebration.


Outstanding credits with GWC Regalia Hire

If you have outstanding credit from a previous order when you didn’t hire your regalia, please email to receive an individual credit code.

If you have ordered for this graduation celebration and you will no longer attend, email for a refund of your order.


Late orders

A late fee will apply for any orders later than two weeks prior to graduation. 

  • UC graduation processions and ceremonies are filmed and photographed. Footage and photos will be publicly accessible on UC’s Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube pages. Photos may also be used in University publications and promotional materials (digital and print). If you have any questions regarding graduation photography, please email
  • The graduation procession is live-streamed onto screens inside the main auditorium.

    Graduation Photography 

Linton Photography are the Official University of Canterbury Graduation Photographers. 
They have been photographing graduations since 1994 and have the skills and ability to create graduation photos that you and your family can be proud of.
They will be photographing every graduand as they are presented on stage.

A studio portrait service is available either at their studio or at the venue on graduation day, so you can have formal portraits taken with family or friends.
Portrait session times may be booked in advance, plus it is also possible to be photographed without a booking on a first in, first served basis following your ceremony. 

To learn more about the portrait services available or to view your on stage photos after the ceremony visit

Students who choose to graduate in absentia and NOT attend a Graduation Celebration in April or August, will have their qualification conferred in absentia at a regular monthly UC Council meeting. The Council Meetings in 2023 are held on the second Wednesday of each month. 

Applications to graduate in absentia can be made via myUC

Conferment, the legal process of awarding the qualification, is subject to a successful completion check of academic requirements. An application to graduate must be received two or three weeks prior to the Council meeting for the conferment to take place (please see the relevant application and conferment dates below). Following the UC Council meeting at which the student’s qualification is conferred, they will be able to access their digital qualification certificate (testamur) and transcript (usually within 48 hours of the UC Council meeting), via the My eQuals platform. The physical copy of the qualification certificate will be posted to the student.

Application deadline for conferment *

Council conferment date

25 January 2023

08 February 2023

22 February 2023

08 March 2023

26 April 2023

10 May 2023

31 May 2023

14 June 2023

28 June 2023

12 July 2023

26 July 2023

09 August 2023

23 August 2023 

13 September 2023 

27 September 2023

11 October 2023

25 October 2023

08 November 2023

22 November 2023

13 December 2023 #

* If an application is not received by the deadline listed above, the conferment at Council will automatically be deferred until the following month's Council meeting.

# The December 2023 Council conferment date is subject to change.

Māori graduates and graduands

Māori graduands are encouraged to wear their family korowai over their gown at their graduation. The hood must be worn on top of the korowai.

The University also holds celebrations for Māori Graduates and Graduands to celebrate the achievements of our Māori students at the University of Canterbury. It is an opportunity for Māori graduates to be presented to their whanau, the Māori community and the University.


Eke Tangaroa Celebration 

Eke Tangaroa | Celebration for Māori graduates 

Date: TBC  
Time: TBC  
Venue: TBC 

Further information is available at Celebration for Māori Graduates and Graduands (Māori Students website).


Pasifika graduates and graduands 

Date: TBC  
Time: TBC  
Venue: TBC 

The Pacific Development Team holds a celebration for Pacific students who have recently graduated from the University. For further information, please visit Pasifika Graduation Celebration.

After graduating

Your years of study at UC may be over, but we want your connection with us to last a lifetime.

Graduation may mark the beginning of your career, or you might be considering further study. Whatever you do next we'd love to hear about it.

Stay connnected with UC 

Further Study

We offer a wide range of postgraduate qualifications. Find out more about your options. 

Alumni networks

As a UC graduate you become an alumni and can benefit our extensive networks. 

Career support

UC graduates have full access to Careers, Internship and Employment services. 

Graduation through the ages

University graduation ceremonies are part of an 800-year tradition which stretches back to the establishment of the first universities in Europe in the 12th century, when Latin was the language of scholarship.

Origin of the word 'university'

A universitas was a guild or union of masters (MAs) who had a licence to teach. Both "degree" and "graduate" come from gradus, meaning "step"; the first step was admission to a bachelor’s degree, followed by the second masters step which won the graduate admission to the universitas.

Why gowns are worn

The University of Canterbury's foundation in 1873 owes much to the graduates of Oxford University's cathedral/college Christ Church and the Canterbury ceremonies reflect that tradition. The gowns and hoods which characterise academic dress have evolved from the daily dress of university staff in the Middle Ages, which was in turn based on the attire worn by medieval clergy. Nowadays the gown and the hood are strictly controlled and indicate the wearer’s university and degree.

The gowns for Canterbury graduates are the same as for Cambridge University graduates; the hoods are of a standard shape and size with a slate grey exterior. The colour of the lining indicates the degree of the wearer. The rich variety of academic dress worn by Canterbury staff reflects the many universities which they attended.

Graduation ceremony

At each ceremony the procession of graduands and staff is led by the Esquire or Madam Bedel carrying the University mace, the symbol of institutional authority. Historically the Bedel had a number of functions but in a modern university only the ceremonial role at graduation survives. The University mace provides a tangible link with Christ Church, Oxford, where it was designed and made. The shaft of the mace is of oak from a beam removed from Big Tom Tower when the bell was rehung in 1953. Even in 1680, when the beam was installed in the Sir Christopher Wren-designed tower, the timber was described as ‘well-seasoned oak’. The mace has been used for every graduation ceremony since 1957.

Graduation at UC

The first Canterbury degrees were conferred in 1878 in the Canterbury Provincial Chambers with the ceremonies moving to the College Hall, now the Great Hall of the Arts Centre, after its completion in 1882.

The early graduation ceremonies, known as Diploma Days, were decorous affairs but by 1884 discordant notes were sounded in the form of ‘tootings on a very unmusical instrument’. A tradition of specially-composed songs developed, reaching its heyday in 1899.

After a break during the First World War, ceremonies resumed in the College Hall in 1921 but pressure of numbers forced a move in 1946 to the Civic Theatre, the first year in which an academic procession through the city was held. This format continued, apart from three occasions when it was held in the St James Theatre, until 1962 when further pressure of numbers prompted a move to King Edward Barracks.

In 1968 the ceremony was divided into two and in 1971 it was made voluntary. The Christchurch Town Hall became the venue in 1973, with a move to three ceremonies in 1987, four ceremonies in 1994 and to five ceremonies, four in autumn and one in summer, in 1997. Following the merger with the Christchurch College of Education on 1 January 2007, there are now eight ceremonies, including a ceremony held in Rotorua for College of Education students based in the North Island.

In April 2011, graduation celebrations were held in a marquee on Ilam fields. To accommodate greater numbers of students opting to graduate in person with their whānau and friends in attendance, the modern Christchurch graduation ceremonies are held in the Christchurch Arena, with several large ceremonies planned each year in Autumn and Spring graduation weeks.

Academic Regalia

Refers to the academic gown, hood and trencher worn at the graduation ceremony (also known as Academic dress).



When you officially receive your diploma.



When you officially receive your degree.



The official certificate you receive when your degree has been conferred or your diploma awarded.



When you are eligible to graduate but have not yet done so.



Once your degree has been conferred or your diploma awarded.


In absentia

You will not be attending a graduation ceremony and instead receive your diploma by mail.

Maori Students Graduation
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