Applying to graduate

What you need to do before you can graduate, how to apply to graduate at a ceremony or in absentia, and information about advance or deferred graduation.

When and how to apply

When you’ve met the qualification requirements of your degree, you’re eligible to graduate. Your faculty will assess that you’ve met all your degree requirements and update the status of your qualification.

You’ll then be sent an email that outlines how to apply for graduation—so ensure your contact details are current. You can update your contact details through Student Records.

You’ll receive a confirmation email once you’ve successfully submitted your application. Contact the Graduation Office if you do not receive your confirmation email.

There are two options for graduation, graduating in person or graduating in absentia (in your absence). Read about the different options below.

There are more steps to graduation for PhD graduands attending a ceremony.

Your name

Your full legal name will be printed on your certificate and published on the online roll of graduates. It will also be published in the graduation programme if you choose to graduate in person at a ceremony. Where applicable, levels of merit, distinction and class of honours will also be published.

Graduating in person

You can apply to graduate at one of our ceremonies in May or December.

Ceremonies are held twice a year, in May and December, at the Michael Fowler Centre in central Wellington and at Te Herenga Waka Marae.

If you are attending a ceremony, the Graduation Office will email you with your ceremony date and time approximately 10 weeks prior to this event. Any other dates provided are provisional and subject to change.

December graduation date change

The Michael Fowler Centre will be undergoing important maintenance in December so we have had to move the graduation dates forward.

The ceremonies will now take place on Monday 29 and Tuesday 30 November at the Michael Fowler Centre, and Te Hui Whakapūmau will take place on 1 December at Kelburn campus.

Applications to attend are due by 1 October.

Multiple qualifications

If you’re graduating in person with more than one qualification, then you’ll need to choose which qualification you want to process across the stage with. You'll wear the hood or stole for that qualification. Your other qualifications will be announced as you cross the stage.

Ceremony application deadlines

Apply to graduate by these dates:

  • 1 March for ceremonies in May
  • 1 October for ceremonies in December.

Advance graduation

Some students who complete a qualification in Trimester 2 can graduate at the December ceremonies of the same year. Students completing a qualification in Trimester 3 can apply for advance graduation to graduate at the May ceremonies. Make sure you are logged in your student mail account to access the application form.

Who can apply for advance graduation

  • International students returning home.
  • Students leaving the country to take up a scholarship overseas—supporting documentation must be provided.
  • PhD and Master’s by thesis students who expect to complete their qualification shortly after the deadline to apply for graduation.
  • Students completing a qualification in Trimester 3 who want to graduate in May.
  • Students facing exceptional circumstances—a written application outlining your circumstances must be made to the manager of your faculty office.

Your application for advance graduation must reach the appropriate faculty office by the ceremony application deadline.

If your application for advance graduation is approved you will be notified by email. Once you have approval you need to apply to graduate in your chosen ceremony. The email will contain instructions for this.

Contact your faculty office for more information.

Withdrawing from a ceremony

If you are not able to attend your graduation ceremony, you will need to contact the Graduation Office to withdraw.

Provided notice is received before the cut-off date, you can choose to either receive your qualification in absentia or graduate at a later ceremony within the 12 month period allowed.

Graduating in absentia

You can apply to graduate in absentia (in your absence) if you do not want to attend a ceremony.

When you graduate in absentia, your qualification is conferred at a meeting of the University Council. You can arrange to pick up your qualification certificate from the Graduation Office or have it posted to you after the meeting.

Changing your graduation application

Contact the Graduation Office if you want to change your graduation application once it has been submitted from graduating in person to graduating in absentia, or if you need to update your full legal name.

Deferring receiving your qualification

All students must apply to have their qualification granted within 12 months of completing that qualification. If you would like to defer your graduation beyond 12 months you must contact the Graduation Office.

You need to provide a valid reason why a deferral should be approved.

Deferring attendance at a ceremony

If your graduation ceremony has been cancelled or postponed due to COVID-19 restrictions, or if you are currently overseas and can't yet return to attend, and you want to be considered for a ceremony in 2021, please email the Graduation Office.

Speak to someone

Graduation Office

Phone: +64 4 463 5389