Degree Congregations

Degree Congregations are held at the Senate House on various dates throughout the year. The Congregation of the Regent House is one of the oldest traditions in the University and its origins can be traced back some 800 years.

Your degree will not be officially awarded to you until you have participated in a Congregation of the Regent House, either in person or in absence. Your degree certificate will only be issued once your degree has been conferred.

You may take your degree in person or in absence. The ‘in absence’ procedure is automatic on application, and your degree certificate is sent to you after the Congregation. Please ensure that we have the correct address for you on our Old Members’ Register.

For those graduating in person, a maximum of three guests will be admitted at the Senate House to watch the ceremony; tickets will be handed to you at the rehearsal, and no visitors without tickets will be admitted.

If you choose to receive your degree in person, you will be invited to attend a College Drinks Reception and Graduation Lunch. You will be a guest of the College at these events; you are also welcome to bring up to four additional guests at a cost of £32.50 per person. (In January and February the number to lunch will be limited to 2 guests per graduand, in order to accommodate all the MA graduands and their guests. It may be possible to invite extra guests nearer the time if we are not at capacity – please ask). You will need to book your lunch places and any dietary requirements when you register to receive your degree.

The number of guest rooms available at Leckhampton is very limited, and requests are dealt with on a first-come-first-served basis. If you wish to book accommodation, please contact the Development Office and pay before graduation. Please note that children under the age of 15 are not permitted in College guest rooms. Currently a room is £45.00 per night.

Cheques for accommodation and/or lunch for guests should be made payable to Corpus Christi College, Cambridge and must be paid prior to the Congregation. You can also pay by card or bank transfer by contacting the Finance Office (01223 338005).  Please ask Finance to let the Graduate Office know you have paid.

It is a College rule that no member can be entered for their degree if they have an outstanding account with the College. This must be settled before we can enter you for your degree. Contact the Finance Office (01223 338005) to check that your account is clear.

The Praelector’s Secretary will contact all graduands by email approximately five days before the ceremony to tell them what time to be in College for the dress rehearsal, lunch and procession to Senate House. Depending on the time Corpus has to be at Senate House, lunch might be before or after graduation.

If you have any queries which are not answered here, please contact the Praelector’s Secretary. There is also useful information on the University website

Congregation dates

Please note Degree Congregations are opened up for registration about two months prior to the date, and deadline to register is generally 14 days before the congregation.


26 November 2016 (in absentia only)

28 January 2017 (MA congregation plus other degrees)

25 February 2017 (MA congregation plus other degrees)

1 April 2017 (in absentia only)

29 April 2017

20 May 2017 (in absentia only)

21 July 2017 (please note this is a Friday)

21 October 2017

25 November 2017 (in absentia only)

* ‘In absentia only’ means that Corpus Christi College will not be attending this particular Congregation. You may, however, still receive your degree ‘in absence’ and your certificate will be posted to you a few days after the ceremony.

Please note that you may need to be in Cambridge up to 2 hours before the ceremony begins, perhaps as early as 10.30 a.m., for a rehearsal with the Praelector. One week before the Congregation we are told at what time Corpus Christi must be present in Senate House to present graduands. It is not possible to set the timetable for rehearsal, lunch and procession to Senate House before then but it will be sent to you at least five days before graduation.

Registering for a Degree Congregation

Please contact the Praelector’s Secretary who will send you information and a College application form. When you return the form we will enter your name on the supplicat and acknowledge your application.


If graduating in person, you must dress as follows:
• Gown and hood: either the gown and hood of your highest existing Cambridge degree or, if not already a Cambridge graduate, a BA or MA status gown and the hood of the highest degree you are about to take.
• Square (mortarboard) is optional
• Conspicuous jewellery and hair accessories are not permitted.

Dress Option 1:
• A dinner jacket or black lounge suit.
• A plain, long-sleeved, collared, white shirt.
• Formal black shoes. Sandals are not permitted.
• Unpatterned black or very dark grey socks.
• White bow-tie and bands must be worn.

Dress Option 2:
• A black skirt suit or trouser suit, or a black skirt without a jacket, or a black, long-sleeved dress.
• A plain, long-sleeved, white shirt or blouse (unless a long-sleeved dress is worn).
• Formal black shoes. Sandals are not permitted.
• Unpatterned black, nearly-black, or natural coloured hosiery.
• A white bow-tie and bands may be worn (optional) but only with a properly collared white shirt.

Anyone wishing to graduate in clerical, military or national costume (which is in no way discouraged) should contact the Praelector well in advance, as special permission has to be given by the Proctors. Squares (optional) are worn in procession to Senate House under University Ordinances but carried inside Senate House. This is not strictly enforced but is encouraged at Corpus.

Guests who are members of the University are required by Ordinance to wear the (black) gown of their highest Cambridge degree. They can carry a square but do not wear a hood.

Gown, hood, square and bands can be hired from academic outfitters in Cambridge. You should dress before the rehearsal. The following contact details may be of use:

Ede and Ravenscroft Ltd., 71 Trumpington St. Cambridge 01223 861854
A E Clothier, 7 Pembroke Street, Cambridge 01223 354339
Ryder & Amies, 22 Kings Parade, Cambridge 01223 350371

Unfortunately, these companies do not always give graduands the correct gowns, so please double-check and ask again if you are in doubt.

Other Dress regulations:

Clerical dress (a black cassock) may be worn instead of a suit by those suitably qualified. A male graduand wearing a cassock must also wear bands. If in doubt about a particular costume, please enquire with the Praelector’s Secretary well before the date of the Congregation.


• Pin-stripes are not permitted.
• Heavy jewellery may not be worn, either by men or women. No coloured or pendant earrings or bracelets. Facial jewellery through piercings (other than earrings) should be removed.
• Obtrusively unconventional hair styles are not permitted, either for men or women.
• No head-dress other than a square (academic cap) is permitted, except for religious reasons. The square is entirely optional, and most graduands dispense with it.

More information is available from the University website at this address:

MA Degree

If you hold a Cambridge BA, you are entitled to proceed to the MA not less than six years from the end of your first term of residence, providing that you have held your BA degree for at least two years.

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