COVID-19 and Graduation
Graduation ceremonies in 2021 are subject to COVID-19 Government Alert Levels and public health considerations. For this reason we recommend that you make flexible travel arrangements in case of a change in this status which requires cancellation.
Graduation - Te Tari Whakapōtaetaka
When you become eligible to apply to graduate, an email inviting you to submit an application will be sent to your student email address during the week prior to applications opening. Once applications open you will then be able to see the “Your graduation application” link within your eVision student portal.
You can choose whether to graduate in person or in absentia. If you choose to graduate in person then you will attend the ceremony, and your degree or diploma will be presented to you on stage during the ceremony.
If you choose to graduate in absentia, you will not attend the ceremony. Your name will be listed in the ceremony booklet but it will not be read out during the ceremony. Your diploma certificate will be sent to you by courier following the ceremony.
You are not able to graduate in absentia outside of an official graduation ceremony.
Graduation marks your admission to the full and permanent membership of the University. It is also an opportunity for you to mark the completion of your studies and to celebrate your success with your family, friends, and the University community.
Applying to graduate
To ensure that you receive your emailed invitation, please either check your student email address regularly, or else set up email forwarding to your preferred email address.
If your student email address is forwarded to a Hotmail or other Microsoft email account, please ensure that you have followed the instructions contained in the link below to add the University of Otago to your Safe senders or white list. This is vital to ensure that you receive emails about your graduation. If you are unsure if your email address is a Microsoft account, please click on the link below to check the list of affected email providers.
While we endeavour to contact everyone who is eligible to apply to graduate, it is vital that you monitor the Opening and Closing Dates for Applications section of our webpages. If your invitation has not been received by the time that applications open, contact the Graduation Office immediately.
Each round of graduation ceremonies has a specific time-frame during which applications can be made. The onus is on you to submit an application during this time-frame.
You must submit an application even if you do not wish to attend a graduation ceremony.
May 2021 Graduation Ceremony Guides
For information about the deadlines you need to meet, collecting your guest tickets, collecting your regalia, the graduation celebration ceremony and associated events, visit the appropriate Graduation Ceremony Guide:
Graduation ceremony dates, and application dates
The University currently holds graduation ceremonies in May, August and December each year. You may choose when to graduate, but this must be at the ceremony allocated to your particular qualification.
To view the graduation ceremony dates, the application opening and closing dates, read information on booking flights, and choosing your graduation date:
Deferring, making changes to your graduation application
The Degrees and Other Awards Statue of the University of Otago states that you must normally graduate within twelve months of completing your qualification.
This means that if, for example, you complete your qualification at the end of semester two (ie. in November), you must graduate either in December of the same year or in May or August of the following year.
For information about deferring your graduation beyond this time-frame, or if you need to either withdraw your application, or change your application status from in person to in absentia:
Academic Dress (Regalia)
For information on the academic dress (regalia) that you need to wear at the ceremony, or hiring or purchasing regalia:
Guest tickets, and information for guests
For information about how to order tickets for your guests, seating at the Dunedin Town Hall, on-campus accommodation, and other information for your guests:
Other graduation activities
Other activities are also held on the day of each graduation ceremony. These include a Graduation Brunch, a Thanksgiving Service, and the Graduation procession along the main street of Dunedin.
All of our graduation ceremonies are live-streamed.
An official photograph will be taken of you at the ceremony as you receive your degree or diploma.
You can watch past graduation ceremonies online.
At a Graduation Ceremony
For information about what you need to bring with you, and an overview of a ceremony:
Staff participation at Graduation
The academic procession is an important part of our graduation ceremonies, which is greatly appreciated by graduands and their families. While it is not compulsory for academics to participate, it is very much a time to celebrate the success of your students with their families.
While graduation may mark the end of your life in Dunedin, it is not the end of your links with Otago.
For information about Distance Learning, the Development and Alumni Relations Office, the Court of Convocation, and the Federation of Graduate Women:
Digital copy of degree or diploma certificate
A verified digital version of your qualification certificate can be made available via My eQuals, a secure online academic document verification system.
A replacement hard-copy of your qualification certificate can only be issued under certain circumstances.
Verification of qualifications
The University of Otago Graduate Search database allows the identification of those who have graduated from the University (including those who have been awarded diplomas or certificates) since 1977.
To find out what information is available, and to search the database: