Information for guests attending graduation

We hope you are looking forward to visiting the University of York and celebrating the achievements of our graduating students! Please do not hesitate to contact us on if you have any queries about what will happen on the day. Please note that we cannot disclose information about specific students (eg if you wish to know if a particular student is going to be graduating) without their prior and express permission.

Frequently asked questions

Where do graduation ceremonies take place?

We hold all graduation ceremonies in Central Hall, which is located on Campus West. 

What time do I need to arrive?

Graduands are asked to arrive around an hour and a half before the start of their ceremony to collect their gowns and tickets. We do appreciate that it is convenient for many guests to travel to campus at the same time as the graduands. Guests are welcome to use the facilities in the Exhibition Centre and Roger Kirk for seating and refreshments while graduands are collecting their gowns and tickets. A family room is also available on the ground floor of the Exhibition Centre.

Guests will be asked to be seated in the auditorium around 30 minutes before the start of the ceremony. 

Where can I park? Will there be disabled parking?

Please consult the following webpage for information relating to parking arrangements for the different ceremonies. 

Will there be somewhere to leave coats/bags?

A free cloakroom will be available at the information desk in the Exhibition Centre. There will also be a small area for coats in the foyer of Central Hall. Please leave any large bags or items such as pushchairs in one of these areas. Please note that, while these areas will be staffed at all times, the University accepts no responsibility for any items left in these areas.

Will there be refreshments available?

The Exhibition Centre, Roger Kirk and Vanbrugh will be open from 7.30am.

Please click here for information on further catering facilites. 

How do I get my ceremony tickets?

Guest tickets will only be released to the graduand who requested them. Graduands will be able to collect their requested tickets around an hour and a half before the start of their ceremony from the Exhibition Centre. They must then give these tickets to you - you cannot collect them yourself. 

Are children allowed to come to graduation?

Graduation is a family occasion and children are welcome at the ceremony. Due to fire regulations we are required to have an accurate count of how many people are in Central Hall and the live screening room in the Exhibition Centre. This number includes babies and children. Therefore please note that all guests including babies and children (even if they are sitting on an adult's knee) will require a ticket.

Please note  that graduation is a ceremonial occasion and if your child may not be able to sit quietly through the entire ceremony you must be prepared to leave the auditorium with them if they become restless. If you feel this may occur please advise a steward when you enter the hall. They will be able to seat you on an aisle or near an exit so as to cause minimum disruption to the ceremony or other guests if you do need to leave. The ceremony is shown live on a screen in the foyer of Central Hall so you may still view the proceedings. 

A family room is situated in the Exhibition Centre and any guests with children are welcome to use this room (tickets are not required). The ceremony is shown live in this room and it may be a preferable option for children who may not sit quietly throughout the ceremony. Please note that this room is not a child-minding facility and all children must be supervised by their parent/guardian(s) at all times. To get to the family room please follow the signs in the Exhibition Centre. 

Will there be any extra tickets available?

If there are any spare tickets they will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis from the information desk in the Exhibition Centre. These must be requested by the graduand. 

After the close of registration additional guest tickets cannot be requested. If the graduand would like to enquire whether any extra guest tickets are available please visit the Information desk in the Exhibition Centre on the day of the ceremony.

Any returned or uncollected guest tickets will be re-allocated before the start of each ceremony on a first-come, first-served basis. Graduands can join a waiting list for any guest tickets that are returned on the day. The waiting list that will operate from the Information Desk in the Exhibition Centre and will open when the previous ceremony begins (or at 7.30am if it is the first ceremony of the day). Graduands must be present and must provide photo ID in order to enter the waiting list. Graduands can request a maximum of 2 tickets on the waiting list. If any tickets become available, the waiting list number will be called from the Information Desk. Signing up to the waiting list does not guarantee that tickets will become available. 

Guests without tickets are welcome to watch the ceremony live on screens in the Graduation Cafe and Family Room in the Exhibition Centre. 

Is there disabled access to Central Hall?

The auditorium of Central Hall is accessed by stairs. If you wish to use the lift please do not go into the main doors of Central Hall but wait outside the building where the entrance to the lift is. We will be available to assist you in using the lift and getting to your seat once inside the building. 

Where will I be sitting for the ceremony?

Guests are not allocated specific seat numbers unless arrangements have been made in advance. Stewards will direct guests to the unreserved seating when the enter the auditorium. All seats have a view of the stage. Please note that guests of the same graduand are not required to sit together. 

Further information on seating and venues. 

Can I take photographs during the ceremony?

Guests are very welcome to take photographs during the ceremony, providing they do not move around the hall or disturb other guests. 

How long do ceremonies last?

Ceremonies usually last around an hour and a quarter.  

Who can I contact for further information?

If your query is not answered on these web pages please email or telephone +44 (0)1904 324042.

Please note that we cannot disclose information about specific students (eg if you wish to know if a particular student is going to be graduating) without that student's prior and express permission. We understand it can be very difficult for a parent or spouse to be told that we cannot even confirm the presence of their child or partner on campus but we have to act in the student’s best interests and have a duty, under Data Protection legislation and University policy, to protect their privacy. All universities in the UK follow similar guidelines and are bound by the same legal restrictions.