About the ceremonies

We hold graduation ceremonies twice a year, in May and December. Learn about the ceremonies, inviting guests and how to view the official graduation photos.

Which graduation ceremony do I take part in?

Ceremonies are held twice a year, in May and December, at the Michael Fowler Centre in central Wellington. There is also a graduation ceremony for graduands of Toihuarewa held at Te Herenga Waka Marae in December.

If you complete your qualification at the end of the year, you would normally graduate in the May ceremonies of the following year; if you complete mid-year, you would normally graduate in the December ceremonies. If you complete in Trimester Three you must apply for advance graduation if you wish to graduate in May. You can apply to graduate at a subsequent ceremony as long as it is within 12 months of completing your qualification.

Check the May graduation dates and times.

The ceremony

The graduation ceremony begins with the official procession of University staff and a welcome with karanga and haka pōwhiri. After the national anthem and a graduation address by the chancellor, graduands will stand and be ‘capped’ as a group by the Chancellor.

Graduates will then be called across stage to be congratulated and presented with their certificates. PhD graduates are called onto the stage first (alphabetically by surname), then other graduates are ordered by their faculty and qualification—this begins with Masters degrees and then alphabetically by surname.

The guest speaker will give an address after the PhD graduates have been presented with their qualifications. There will also be a musical interlude during the ceremony.

The ceremony ends with an address by the graduate speaker, singing of Gaudeamus (a traditional university song) and the official staff procession from the stage, which graduates follow. The ceremony will be followed by the Alumni Reception in the Renouf Foyer.

Friends and family

The number of friends and family you can invite to your graduation ceremony is limited due to space restrictions at the Michael Fowler Centre. You will be informed about the number of guests you can invite in the material sent by the Graduation Office six weeks before your ceremony.


Children are welcome as guests at the Graduation ceremonies, but need to be with an adult that isn't graduating. We don't allow any children in the graduands’ marshalling area or on stage.

Any child over the age of two requires a ticket or if they're under two, they will need to sit on an adult’s knee for the full ceremony.

Te Hui Whakapūmau—a marae celebration for graduands

Te Hui Whakapūmau is an opportunity for graduands and their whānau to celebrate their achievement in a Māori dimension through tikanga Māori. The marae celebration is in addition to the main graduation ceremonies held at the Michael Fowler Centre where the actual conferring/granting of degrees takes place.

Academic dress

When taking part in any Victoria graduation ceremony you must wear academic dress.

Ceremony videos and photos

Offical photos of the graduation ceremonies and roaming pictures from the parade will be available to view after graduation. Each of our ceremonies will be live streamed—you can then watch these online once the videos have been uploaded.

Check out the ceremony videos and photos from the latest graduation.

Photography by Woolf also offers a range of graduation photograph options.