Frenquently asked questions for 2020 and 2021 graduates

Graduation involves 3,000+ people per day attending ceremonies and so holding graduation on our campuses this summer would involve the mixing of tens of thousands of people over a two-week period in Devon and Cornwall.

Our priority must be the health and safety of everyone attending, whilst providing the best possible experience. With this in mind, we have had to take the difficult decision to postpone our ceremonies on campus because of the ongoing public health risk caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. We know this is disappointing news, but our priority is to give you the safe and celebratory ceremony you deserve.

Whilst there is cause for optimism with the roll out of the UK’s vaccination programme and the roadmap out of lockdown, there are still many barriers to overcome. It is not possible to plan any large-scale in-person events with any certainty because while COVID-19 restrictions are beginning to lift in the UK, the government’s roadmap is cautious and there can be no guarantees that further restrictions will have been lifted by the summer.

In addition, the pandemic is still a significant threat in many parts of the world and quarantine arrangements for entry into the UK and subsequent return to other countries, will make it impossible for some international students and their loved ones to attend this summer.

We know how much graduation means and that it is an important moment to recognise your achievements. Because we know a physical event is preferable for a lot of our students, as is the importance of celebrating with loved ones, we are rescheduling the in-person ceremonies to summer 2022. This will apply to graduates from 2020 and 2021. It will provide the opportunity to come together next year for what will be a high quality, full Graduation experience to celebrate your success, should the pandemic permit.

The postponement will include the Winter 2020 graduates. You will be invited to attend your graduation ceremony in 2022, COVID-19 guidelines permitting.

This currently does not include the Winter 2021 Graduates. COVID-19 guidelines permitting, we hope to go ahead with Winter Graduation in December 2021.

An online conferment is due to take place this year and will be streamed live. You will also have the opportunity to watch in your own time should you be unable to attend. The date for this is yet to be confirmed. 

The Festival of Discovery is an educational experience, designed in a COVID-secure way to support students to undertake additional learning and to replace some of the hands-on experiences lost due to the pandemic. It will consist of small groups with social distancing in place, in consultation with public health experts. It is not a large-scale event involving the mass movement of people nationally/internationally like graduation.

We have created the ‌attached letter (.pdf) for use in these circumstances. However, if there is something specific which the letter does not address, please email our Graduation Team direct for further support and guidance: graduationsuoe@exeter.ac.uk.

These will be confirmed in due course. We will notify graduating cohorts directly through the personal email addresses recorded on the Student Record System - we advise you ensure your email address is up-to-date. Please also keep an eye on our Graduation webpages.

All postponed graduates will be invited to an in-person graduation ceremony in 2022, COVID-19 restrictions permitting. Further information on the 2022 graduation ceremonies will be communicated in due course.  

We will be posting these out once they have been printed but they will be posted no later than 3 August. Please ensure that the address you want us to use is up to date on the Student Record System by 14 June 2021; your stated home address is where the documentation will be sent.

We have experienced delays outside of the University’s control with both Royal Mail and courier delivery services such as DHL during 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We would recommend that you be patient and allow extra time for your documentation to arrive.

Following confirmation that you’ve attained your degree, you will have access to your HEAR transcript as evidence of your academic record and award. Further information regarding your HEAR transcript can be found here: www.exeter.ac.uk/careers/hear/.

We cannot comment on the arrangements of other universities, but we have given considerable time to our decision and reached this position after careful consideration and consultation with students and staff.

The graduation “Open Event” in late June/July is an opportunity for 2021 graduates to come onto campus to celebrate with fellow students, be gowned and have photographs taken. This will take place in a COVID-19 secure way. There will be light refreshments and the opportunity to take part in art and culture walks. You will be able to book a morning or afternoon slot in the week of your choice, subject to availability. This is a free event.

Government guidance states that social distancing is still very important and that we should continue to minimise the amount we travel, avoiding making unnecessary trips as far as possible. The University feels it would be inappropriate to encourage graduates not already in situ to attend.

Government guidance states that social distancing is still very important and that we should continue to minimise the amount we travel, avoiding making unnecessary trips as far as possible. The University therefore does not feel it would be appropriate to encourage additional people and/or those not already in situ to attend.

We will be opening a booking system for the graduation “Open Event” in due course. Please watch out for further emails from the University on this topic or please check the graduation website. Note, it is only available for attendance by 2021 graduates.

The “Open Event” will be designed in a COVID-secure way and will consist of small groupings with social distancing in place, in consultation with public health experts. It will not be a large-scale in-person event like our graduation ceremonies.

If you would like to make recommendations for arrangements for the “Open Event” please convey these via the links below by the 31 May 2021.

Students at Exeter Campuses/Students’ Guild, please use this link:

Students at Cornwall Campuses/Students’ Union, please use this link:

Your feedback will be captured by the Students’ Guild and Students’ Union. Following the closing date of 31st May, the Graduation Team will then work together with both the Students' Guild and Students’ Union to consider feedback received.

Please find the link below to the recording of the Graduation Q&A which took place 22nd April 202: