Gowns and academic dress

When should I order my gown?

You will be able to order your gown for Spring graduation 2020 when you have received the details of how to register for your graduation via MAP in January 2020.

Where do I order my gown?

Ede & Ravenscroft are the official gown suppliers for Aston University. All gowns should either be hired or purchased from Ede & Ravenscroft and not from any other supplier.

Please make sure that you book your robes in advance of your ceremony, as advanced bookings have discounted prices.

Hiring robes on your graduation day will increase the costs and may delay you reaching the Town Hall Birmingham for your ceremony.

Book your graduation gown once you have registered for your graduation ceremony, through https://www.gownhire.co.uk

For general enquiries, please contact Ede & Ravenscroft directly:

What information will I need to give when ordering my gown?

  • Your head circumference (please measure around your head just above the tip of your ears) and height measurements
  • The date and time of your ceremony
  • Your credit/debit card details

Where should I collect my gown?

In order to speed up the collection of your robes on the day of your graduation, please print out, or have available on your phone, your order confirmation email. Please show this to a member of the robing team when you collect your robes on the day of your ceremony.

Robes will be available from Room G63, Upper Ground Floor of Aston University’s Main Building prior to the ceremony and can be collected from:

  • 07:30 (for the 10:30 ceremony)
  • 10:30 (for the 13:30 ceremony)
  • 13:30 (for the 16:30 ceremony) 

Robes should be returned to the Ede & Ravenscroft representative in Room G63 by the end of your graduation day. 

What should I wear?

Graduation ceremonies are formal occasions and graduands should dress accordingly. We welcome national dress for international students and military uniforms are also acceptable. Smart attire is encouraged and all graduands must wear academic dress robes. Smart attire is also encouraged for guests.

Please note that if you wear a turban this will exempt you from wearing an official graduation cap. If you wear a head scarf, your graduation cap will go over the top, but please measure your head with your scarf in place.

Tickets

How do I book my tickets?

Please note that you do not require a ticket for yourself as your seat is automatically allocated once you have registered via MAP to attend your ceremony.

The Town Hall Birmingham Box Office deals with ALL guest tickets, therefore if you fail to contact the Box Office then no guest tickets will be allocated to you. Please do not contact the Graduation Office about guest tickets as we cannot help you.

How many tickets can I book?

Each graduand is guaranteed two free guest tickets for their ceremony. You will still need to book these tickets with the Town Hall Box Office.

Please be aware that a postage fee will be charged on all ticket bookings. Alternatively you can obtain your two free guest tickets in person from Symphony Hall Box Office, Broad Street, Birmingham.

What if I want to bring more than two guests?

Seating in the Town Hall Birmingham auditorium is limited, therefore additional (paid) tickets cannot be guaranteed.  Any additional tickets will be made available once all graduands have had the opportunity to book their two free guest tickets. 

Additional paid tickets are limited initially to two per graduand and are sold on a first-come, first-served basis. The graduation office will email all graduands at the same time should additional tickets become available.

Additional guest tickets (if available) will be charged at £20.00 each (plus a transaction charge of £1.50 made by the Box Office). Please note that the additional seats will not be next to your two free guest seats.

Guest tickets are not transferable and cannot be sold or passed on to a third party. Should you no longer require any of your guest tickets, please return them to the Box Office so they can be reallocated.

There is strictly no admission to the Town Hall Birmingham auditorium without a ticket. Please also be aware that there are no overflow facilities (the ceremonies are not filmed or web streamed).

If you have any guests travelling from overseas, please do not book flights or hotels before securing all of your tickets. The University cannot be held responsible for any costs incurred by your guests.

The Box Office provides the University with ticket booking information and all bookings are carefully monitored. Any guest tickets obtained without permission will be voided by the Graduation Team; this is not debatable.

What if I am in debt to the University?

All outstanding debt to the University should be settled by the deadline (Thursday 19 March 2020). All financial commitments must be cleared and all books returned by Thursday 19 March 2020, regardless of the return date marked in the book.

If you have a debt to the University after the deadline date, you will not be allowed to attend the graduation ceremony. In this instance, Graduands are advised to speak with Credit Control as a matter of urgency.

Students funded by employers or other external bodies must make sure that their sponsor pays any amount due by this date.

Do I still need to book a ticket if I am attending graduation ceremonies on my own with no guests?

If you are planning to attend your ceremony without any guests then you do not need to contact the Town Hall Birmingham Box Office at all. As a graduand your seat is already allocated by the University.

What happens if I cannot attend on the date of my ceremony? Can I defer my graduation?

If you cannot attend your graduation ceremony in April 2020, but still wish to receive your degree in person, you may defer and attend a future ceremony. However, please note that you can only defer your ceremony once. Please register via the graduation task on MAP and choose ‘deferment’ by Friday 7 February 2020.

Can I bring along extra guests without tickets?

There is strictly no admission to the Town Hall Birmingham auditorium without a ticket. Please also be aware that there are no overflow facilities (the ceremonies are not filmed or web streamed).

How do I receive my tickets?

Guest tickets will be either be posted to you or available for collection from Symphony Hall Box Office, Broad Street, Birmingham. When booking your tickets, if you are a UK graduand and wish to have them posted to you, you will have to select this option.

Unfortunately, we do not post any tickets overseas, but your tickets will be available for you to collect from the Town Hall Birmingham on your graduation day. 

Will my seat be reserved?

As Graduands you will automatically be allocated a seat once you have registered via MAP to attend your ceremony.


Guests

Can I bring along extra guests without tickets?

There is strictly no admission to the Town Hall Birmingham auditorium without a ticket. Please also be aware that there are no overflow facilities (the ceremonies are not filmed or web streamed).

What if my guests are bringing children to the ceremony?

Children under the age of seven years will not be admitted into the Town Hall Birmingham auditorium (with or without a ticket) as these ceremonies are not suitable for young children. Any guest above the age of seven will require a guest ticket to enter the Hall. To ensure the safety of all guests, in no circumstances can a child be seated on a guest’s knee. Any guest under the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult.

The Aston University Nursery may be able to help you with childcare on the day as it offers nursery facilities for a limited number of children aged from five months to five years. For more details and to check availability, please email nurseryenquiries@aston.ac.uk or telephone 0121 204 4562. Places are not guaranteed and are limited in number. You must book in advance. Please do not assume that places are available.

If you require any further information visit: http://www.aston.ac.uk/about/nursery/ or contact the team on 0121 204 4562 or via email at nurseryenquiries@aston.ac.uk

Is there a dress code for guests?

There is no dress code for guests; however, graduation ceremonies are formal occasions and we tend to find that guests dress smartly and appropriately.


On the day

What time should I arrive?

We suggest you arrive at Aston University at least two and a half hours before your ceremony start time (ideally three hours before) and that you arrive at Checkpoint at the Town Hall Birmingham an hour before your ceremony. Any latecomers will not be permitted into the ceremony.

Please do not be late as we will not delay the ceremony for you as this causes disruption for all concerned.  Please be considerate to your fellow graduands and guests by turning up on time. Thank you.

What happens when I arrive?

Once you have checked in at the Town Hall Birmingham, you must find your seat in the auditorium and remain seated until the ceremony begins. If you fail to check in, or check in late, you may not be allowed into the ceremony or may not be conferred on stage by the Chancellor or his designated representative.

Coats and bags should be left with your guests or in the cloakroom at Aston University or the Town Hall Birmingham; you will not be allowed to carry them with you when you process into the auditorium.

Is there a cloakroom available?

Yes there is a cloakroom in the Lower Bar area which can be used.

Where can I collect lost property?

Lost property can be collected via the Stage Door team at the Town Hall, Birmingham. The telephone number for Stage Door team is 0121 644 5039.


Your graduation ceremony

How long is the ceremony?

Approximately one hour.

Where will I be seated for the ceremony? Are the seats allocated?

Your seat number is on your graduate name card and seating is arranged in alphabetical order by course, so you will be sat with your classmates. Please sit in the seat you have been allocated.

In what order do students receive their award?

All graduands are seated within the Town Hall in order of award. The highest awards (Doctorates and Masters Level) will be seated towards the front of the auditorium, as those awards are conferred first. These will be followed by all undergraduate awards (Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, Foundation Degrees etc). Within each award, students are listed alphabetically by surname. We do not distinguish students by results or degree classification.

What should I wear for the ceremony?

Graduation ceremonies are formal occasions and graduands should dress accordingly. We welcome national dress for international students and military uniforms are also acceptable. Smart attire is encouraged and all graduands must wear academic dress robes.

Will graduates be photographed as they cross the stage?

Our official photographers, Ede & Ravenscroft, photograph all students as they cross the stage and shake hands with the Chancellor. The photographs are available to purchase from the Great Hall at Aston University after each ceremony, and directly from Ede & Ravenscroft after the event.

To contact Ede & Ravenscroft, please use the below contact details:

Your guests may take photographs or film during the ceremony, but only from their seats. Due to health and safety regulations, all aisles and gangways are to be kept clear at all times.

Is there a commemorative programme of the day?

Yes. These are free of charge and will be available for you and your guests at the Town Hall Birmingham.

What happens in a graduation ceremony?

Academic procession
The ceremony begins with the entry of the academic procession, which includes Honorary Graduands, dignitaries and academic staff. You should stand as the procession music begins and remain standing until the Chancellor or his designated representative declares the congregation ‘open’. 

Welcome and speeches
The Chancellor will welcome all graduands and their guests to the ceremony and deliver an opening address.

Honorary degrees
In addition to your degrees, the University often confers honorary degrees. These are presented at the beginning of the ceremony. A member of University academic staff will deliver an oration outlining the career achievements of the honorary graduand.

Presentation of awards
When the presentation of awards begins, the marshals will signal to one row of graduands at a time to file out from their seats. It is important that you remain in the correct order. 

When your name is called, walk across the stage and shake hands with the Chancellor or designated representative. Some people may choose not to shake hands, if this applies to you, then you should keep your hands behind your back when approaching the Chancellor or his designated representative. Leave the stage, collect your degree certificate and return to your seat. 

Caps
PhD and DSc graduands doff their caps when approaching the Chancellor or his designated representative.

Honorary Graduate Speech
Following the presentation of awards, the Honorary Graduate will usually make a short acceptance speech.

End of the ceremony
A closing address will be delivered to the congregation to close proceedings by the Chancellor.

At the end of the ceremony please stand for the National Anthem (you may sing the words if you wish) and remain standing while the academic procession leaves the platform. The marshals will then instruct you to file out a row at a time to follow the academic procession out of the auditorium.  


Certificates

When will I receive my certificate?

If you attend the ceremony you will receive your certificate in person during the ceremony (providing you do not have a University debt). You will also usually receive a diploma supplement with your certificate.  The diploma supplement provides additional information about your degree, including module grades.

If you do not attend, your certificate and diploma supplement (if applicable) will be sent to you in the post. Please allow three weeks for delivery in the UK and four weeks for overseas addresses.

Undergraduate students will also usually receive a Higher Education Achievement Report (HEAR) upon graduation.  The HEAR is an electronic document only and graduands will receive an email inviting them to register to receive the HEAR prior to graduation. The HEAR provides additional information about your degree, including module grades. If you do not attend, your certificate will be sent to you in the post. 

Please note, if you have not registered via MAP and do not attend the ceremony, you will not receive your certificate as we do not know the correct address to post the certificate to.


Additional requirements

Do you cater for additional requirements?

Please let us know if you or any of your guests have a disability or mobility issue and we will do all that we can to ensure that your day runs as smoothly as possible.

Please inform us by stating your special requirements in MAP when you register online, or by emailing graduation@aston.ac.uk by the deadline of Friday 7 February 2020.

If you or your guests require disabled car parking (blue badge needed), then please email the Graduation Office at graduation@aston.ac.uk with your request, stating the make and model of the car, registration number and blue badge number. 

Wheelchair users

For all matters relating to accessible seating at the Town Hall, please contact the Town Hall Box Office directly.

The Town Hall Birmingham has a dedicated seating area for wheelchair users. You must notify the Town Hall Box Office when booking tickets if either you or any of your guests are wheelchair users. On the day of the ceremony, please make sure that your guests are at the Town Hall 45 minutes prior to the ceremony start time and make yourselves known to the ushers or attendants once you arrive.

Wheelchair seating is in a designated position in the Town Hall and, where possible, we will seat your other guests alongside your wheelchair guest. These seats are pre-allocated and reserved for guests for each ceremony.

Car parking and Coaches

Important!
There are currently extensive building works taking place around Birmingham city centre. This includes the redevelopment of Paradise Circus which will result in road closures and diversion across the city. This will impact your journey time, both when arriving at campus, as well as travelling to and from your graduation ceremony, so please plan ahead and allow extra time. You can find out more information and the most up to date closures at www.paradisebirmingham.co.uk/access.

Aston University will provide coaches to take you and your guests to and from the Town Hall Birmingham on graduation day. We will also provide a bus with disabled access to accommodate graduands and guests who require mobility access.

The coaches and bus will be situated on Coleshill Street, near to the lake on campus and will take you to Cornwall Street (which is a short three minute walk away from the Town Hall Birmingham) and will pick you and your guests up at the same location and return you back to campus after your ceremony.

Where possible, we would recommend that you and your visitors use public transport to reach Aston – we are easily accessible by train, bus or coach and air.

There is no car parking on the University campus or at the Town Hall Birmingham for graduands and guests on graduation day.

Alternative parking may be found a few minutes walk away at Millennium Point and in the city centre.

Our graduation ceremonies are held at Town Hall Birmingham. However, you will need to come to Aston University first to collect your robes prior to your ceremony. The University provides a shuttle service for you and your guests to and from the Town Hall Birmingham for your ceremony.

Click here for detailed directions to Aston University