A typical graduation ceremony

Organisation of the ceremony

Graduation ceremonies are arranged by the Graduations Office and the Events Office.

The Registrar has delegated authority to approve this year's graduation schedule, and to change the disciplines to be presented at any ceremony or the scheduled time of any ceremony, after appropriate consultation.

Graduations are held in the Great Hall.

The Carillon is played

The Carillon is played by the University Carillonist before each graduation ceremony.

The academic procession enters the Hall

The University Organist, Amy Johansen, gives a recital on the Great Hall organ before each graduation ceremony, and plays the Processional Rondeau by J Mouret as the academic procession enters the Hall and the assembly stands.

The academic procession moves through the Great Hall to the dais. The Mace is carried before the Chancellor by the Esquire Bedell. The Lady Hailsham Staff is carried by the Yeoman Bedell.

The Chancellor

Under the University of Sydney Act 1989, the Senate of the University confers degrees (including ad eundem degrees and honorary degrees) and awards diplomas and other certificates. Senate has delegated authority to the Chancellor, the Deputy Chancellor, the Vice-Chancellor, the Chair of the Academic Board and the Pro-Chancellor to admit to the appropriate degree/s, and to award the appropriate diploma/s at graduation ceremonies to, those who have qualified for degrees and diplomas concerned and whose names appear in the printed lists contained in the official programs.

Academic dress for the Chancellor is a robe and cap similar to those worn by the Chancellor of the University of Oxford, i.e. a black silk gown with yoke and facings trimmed with gold, and sleeves barred with gold; and a black velvet trencher with gold tassel, the cap edged with gold.

The Chancellor:  It is my pleasure to welcome you here today and, in welcoming you, I wish to acknowledge also that we stand here on the traditional lands of the Eora and Cadigal people. I acknowledge that ancient connection to this land with a deep respect for our indigenous past. This ceremony has been arranged in order to confer degrees upon, and award diplomas to, those who have fulfilled all the conditions required of them by the statutes of the University. 

Conferral of Honorary awards

Senate, on the recommendation of its Nominations and Appointments Committee, approves the award of honorary degrees and honorary fellowships, which are conferred at graduation ceremonies. The citation is read out and the presiding officer then admits the person to the honorary degree of the University or confers the title of Honorary Fellow of the University.

The Vice-Chancellor's Awards

Winners of the Vice-Chancellor's Award for Outstanding Teaching, Award for Excellence in Research Higher Degree Supervision, Award for Support of the Student Experience, and Award for Systems that Achieve Collective Excellence in Teaching and Learning receive citations from the Academic Board at their respective Faculty graduation ceremonies. The citation is read out.

The presentation of graduands
The Registrar:  Would all candidates for admission to a degree or the award of a diploma please stand. I certify that all candidates whose names appear in the printed programme have satisfactorily completed the requirements for the degree or diploma which they are to receive. 
The Chancellor:  In the name of the Senate and by my authority as Chair of the Academic Board, I admit each of you present to the degree, or award you the diploma, to which you are entitled. Some are unable to be present today; I admit them to the degree, or award them the diploma, to which they are entitled, ‘in absentia’. 
The relevant Dean: I present candidates from the Faculty of ... whom you have admitted to degrees ...

Each graduand then moves to the dias to receive their testamur from the Chancellor.

The Dean:      Thank you. That concludes the presentation of graduates at this ceremony.
The Registrar: Would all those who have been admitted today to the degree of ... please stand.  I would now to like to invite members of the academic procession to stand and join me in saluting our newest Doctoral graduates. (applause)

The occasional address

After this, the Chancellor introduces the the guest speaker and invites the person to give the occasional address.

The academic procession leaves the Hall
The Registrar:     The formal part of the proceedings has now been completed. The Chancellor and Fellows of the Senate invite the new graduates and their guests to refreshments which will be served in the Quadrangle. The academic procession is about to leave and the new graduates are invited to join the procession. I would be grateful if visitors would remain in their places until the procession has left. Would you please stand.

The Carillon plays

The Carillon is played by the University Carillonist at the end of each graduation ceremony.


After the ceremony refreshments for graduates and their guests are served in the Quadrangle .