Graduation ceremonies

We hold graduation ceremonies twice a year, in May and December. You can learn more about them, and what you need to do to participate, here.

May graduation

Applications for May graduation close on 1 March 2015. There will be six graduation ceremonies held 12-14 May, the times of ceremonies and parades are to be confirmed.

Tuesday 12 May 2015

Wednesday 13 May 2015

  • Ceremony 3: Faculties of Engineering and Science
  • Ceremony 4: Faculties of Architecture and Design and Law

Thursday 14 May 2015

Humanities and Social Sciences and Victoria Business School ceremonies

The Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences and Victoria Business School are each split across two ceremonies. Graduands of these faculties are allocated based on their school, and will be advised of their allocation in early March.

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.

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.

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 two musical interludes 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 Deans’ Reception in the Renouf Foyer.

Academic dress

When taking part in any Victoria graduation ceremony you must wear academic dress. Graduands are reminded to apply for academic dress by 1 March for May ceremonies or 1 October for December ceremonies. More information is available at our Academic Dress page.


These processions are a highlight of graduation celebrations and graduating students from all ceremonies are encouraged to take part. During graduation week staff and students parade in full academic dress through Wellington city, proceeding from the Law School, Old Government Buildings on Lambton Quay through to the Civic Centre.

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

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

Graduation photos

Photos from the December ceremonies and parade can be viewed online.