Celebrating the class of 2021- plans for graduation

March 15th, 2021

As you may know, while final-year students were awarded their degrees in 2020, we had to take the decision to postpone graduation ceremonies and to hold celebrations online instead.

The university has been exploring options to give this year’s final-year students the graduation they deserve, while anticipating the progress of the pandemic and any likely restrictions that may still be in place.

After listening to the views of students, we have taken the difficult decision to postpone in-person graduation ceremonies until 2022. Instead, students who are due to graduate in 2021 will be invited to a virtual ceremony this year and certificates will be sent in the post. The virtual ceremonies will allow an opportunity to come together to recognise achievements and to celebrate with peers and tutors.

The university will now plan for graduation ceremonies in 2022, to which we will invite our graduates from 2020, 2021 and 2022.  This promises to be our largest ever set of graduation celebrations.

The course of the pandemic remains difficult to predict and the target dates for easing restrictions set in the government’s roadmap remain heavily dependent on the circumstances at the time. This means that we cannot plan with certainty to celebrate graduation in the way that both staff and students want.

When surveyed, more than three-quarters of our final-year students told us that they wanted an in-person graduation ceremony free from restrictions. We have therefore made this decision now to avoid disappointment later and to prevent people booking travel and accommodation unnecessarily.

We appreciate that this will be disappointing news, but we hope that you will be able to join us for in-person celebrations in 2022. We will be in touch over the summer to confirm the date of the 2022 celebrations and will write to you with details of the 2021 virtual ceremonies in the coming weeks.

Graduation is an important event for students to share their success with the family and friends who have supported them in their studies. We are committed to giving you the opportunity to celebrate your achievements with us in Nottingham in 2022.

Graduation FAQs

Is the decision to postpone graduation ceremonies in 2021 final?

Yes, the decision to postpone graduation ceremonies in 2021 is final.

What is the decision to postpone graduation ceremonies based on?

This has not been an easy decision to take. A number of factors have been considered in reaching this decision. These relate to:

Health and Safety

  • minimising the risk of an outbreak within our University community
  • not wanting to have to turn a student or guest away from graduation due to a positive test result


  • allowing for all our students, Home, EU, International, to have the equal opportunity to attend with their families and friends
  • recognising the varying levels of anxiety amongst our student and graduate groups, as well as their guests, and allowing equal opportunity to attend


  • uncertainty as to when large-scale events can go ahead
  • uncertainty as to the requirements for large-scale events to go ahead, such as social distancing measures and on-site testing
  • prioritising the quality of the event

Have student and graduate views been taken into account?

A survey has been run for the Class of 2020 to help inform our approach to the in-person ceremonies. In particular, this identified that waiting for ceremonies without social distancing measures was a priority. A survey will be circulated shortly to the Class of 2021 in relation to the virtual celebrations in Summer 2021 and the in-person ceremonies in 2022.

Will I still be able to graduate in 2021?

Yes. If you pass your final exams and assessments, you will still graduate as planned in either Summer or Winter 2021. You will have the opportunity to attend virtual celebrations and your certificate will be sent to you electronically and in the post following your graduation.

When will virtual celebrations take place in 2021?

Celebrations will take place alongside graduation conferral in the Summer and Winter of 2021. Dates for these will be announced when confirmed.

When will ceremonies take place in 2022?

Consideration is currently being given to the arrangements for ceremonies for the classes of 2020, 2021 and 2022. Details of these will be shared once confirmed.

Will the 2020, 2021 and 2022 cohorts be in the same ceremony?

No. Ceremonies will be held separately for each of the cohorts.

Where can I find more information about graduation?

Information about graduation can be found on our webpages. If your question is not answered there, please email graduation@nottingham.ac.uk.

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March 22nd, 2021 at 5:57 pm

Rebecca Asson

Is there any way of knowing what part of July the ceremonies will be? As you can imagine it’s also wedding season and people need to know what dates to plan around

April 23rd, 2021 at 3:59 pm


Information about graduation can be found on our webpages. If your question is not answered there, please email graduation@nottingham.ac.uk.

April 14th, 2021 at 9:41 am

Mubarack Ahmed

I will like to purchase the academic gown (I am graduating with a PhD). Can I still buy the gown even though the graduation ceremony is virtual?

April 20th, 2021 at 4:45 pm


Good afternoon,
Please send any questions to the Graduation team at graduation@nottingham.ac.uk.

September 14th, 2021 at 3:01 pm

Dr Nadia Islam

I have graduated for my PhD in July 2020. Will I be able to attend a in person ceremony, if yes then when it will be?

Thanks in Advance

September 23rd, 2021 at 1:52 pm


In-person ceremonies are due to take place in July 2022.

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