Wednesday 10th July 2024

Emergency contact on the day: 07808 315302

QEII Conference Centre (registration, gowning and photography and celebration reception) SW1P 3EE
Central Hall Westminster (ceremonies) SW1H 9NH. 

Graduation is the most important day in the RVC calendar. There is a lot for graduands, graduates and guests to do in a short space of time, and this year we are using two venues (very close to each other), so please read this guide carefully in advance and ensure you are familiar with timings and locations.






Registration, gowning and photography 


Ceremony One

11.45 - 13.30

Celebration Reception for Ceremony one QEII 3rd floor

Graduating year




Masters Degrees

Graduate Certificates and Diplomas


BSc BioSciences

MSci  BioSciences




Registration, gowning and photography 


Ceremony Two


Celebration Reception for Ceremony one QEII 3rd floor

Graduating year





FdSc Veterinary Nursing

BSc Veterinary Nursing

Venue Locations

Venue Locations

The QE II Conference Centre is less than a 1-minute walk from Central Hall, Westminster

Your support in keeping to timings and being in the correct location is vital to the success of the day.  The celebration receptions must end at the designated times.

Arrival, Registration, Gowning and Photography

Arrival, Registration, Gowning and Photography

On arrival head straight to the QEII Conference Centre venue for registration on the ground floor

  • Graduands will need to collect wristbands at registration for their guests before proceeding to gowning and photography. Please give your guests their wristbands and they may then either wait outside the venue if you do not have photography booked, near the photography studios for you or go straight to Central Hall and wait in the café in the basement or Library/Lecture Hall until you are called to seat for the ceremony.

    Note: Each guest must be in possession of a wristband to gain access to the ceremony in Central Hall and to gain entry to the celebration reception after the ceremony at the QEII conference Centre (Level 3).

  • Guests, graduates and graduands may leave items in the cloakroom at QEII which is past the registration desk to the left of the Churchill Suite on the ground floor.

  • Once registered, go to the Pickwick Room on the first floor of QEII to collect your gown.

  • If you have photography booked, then head to the Churchill Suite located on the ground floor of QEII.

  • We have found, over the years, that pre-booked times for gowning and photography do not work and normally lead to disappointment and longer waiting times.
    Therefore, slots will not be allocated, but available on a first-come-first-served basis so please do allow time for this process. If you do not manage to get your photograph taken before your ceremony you can return afterwards.

  • When you have had your photograph taken, head to Central Hall and wait in the café in the basement or in the Library/Lecture Hall on the first floor. Announcements will be made when you can make your way to your seats for the ceremony (no earlier than 45 mins prior to ceremony).

  • If you have guests with you who are not attending the ceremony and reception they are welcome to wait on the lawns of the QEII Centre –or in the café at the QEII. They are not permitted into Central Hall or the celebration reception at the QEII.

The Ceremony

The Ceremony

Guest seating will begin approximately 45 minutes before the ceremony commences. This will be allocated on a first-come-first-served basis.  Accessible seating is on Level 3.

Prior to the ceremony commencing, announcements (ringing of a bell) will be made to let graduands, and guests know when to leave the waiting areas and proceed to seating.   Guests must be seated 15 minutes before the ceremony commences.

Graduands, when called, will need to go to Level 3 where you will be shown to allocated (named) seats by our marshals.

Some graduands/graduates will be given specific instructions on where to walk when they go to the stage and will be guided by marshals. Everyone else simply follows the person in front. Please take your time walking, particularly up the stairs as you make your way to the stage.

During the Ceremony

As a rough guide the ceremony will last around an hour to an hour and a half.

As the President & Principal and ceremonial staff enter the room everyone who can, should stand.

Take your seat when the President & Principal does and remain seated until instructed.

The Chairman will open the ceremony.

Honorary Degrees and Fellowships are conferred (if being awarded)

The presentation of graduands/graduates.
You should walk onto the stage with your hood in your left hand, and when instructed stand before the President & Principal to receive your hood and shake hands. You will be guided by marshals in purple gowns. If you have hired a hat, please leave this under your seat.

Graduates in Veterinary Nursing and Veterinary Medicine may also shake hands with the representative from the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons

The President & Principal will then present any graduate prizes. 

During the afternoon ceremony, Nursing graduands and Veterinary Medicine graduands will then be admitted to the RCVS by standing and when called upon, making the declaration:

 “I promise and solemnly declare that I will pursue the work of my profession with integrity and accept my responsibilities to the public, my clients, the profession and the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, and that, above all, my constant endeavour will be to ensure the health and welfare of animals committed to my care”.

Staff prizes will be awarded.

The President & Principal will give an address.

The ceremony will close and the ceremonial staff will leave the Hall.

After the Ceremony

At the end of the ceremony, the ceremonial procession leads out of Central Hall, followed by the graduates, to the celebration reception which takes place on Level 3 of the QEII Conference Centre.  Guests attending the reception will need to make their way to the QEII and follow the marshals to lifts and stairs.   Due to the volume of guests the venue will be busy so guests are advised to meet ‘their’ graduate at the reception where they should be waiting for them.

There is an accessible route for anyone with access and mobility requirements. 

Ceremony ONE reception will end at 13.30 hrs and the Ceremony TWO reception will end at 18.30hrs. All gowns must be returned to the gowning collection area before you leave to the QEII Conference Centre.

Please collect all personal items from the cloakroom in the QEII Conference Centre before departure. Bear in mind that there may be queues if left too late as the next ceremony’s guests will be arriving.

The lawns outside the QEII Conference Centre are available as a social space.  It’s a perfect place for informal photographs or meeting friends/guests.

Guidance on Graduand/Graduate Dress Code

  1. Gowns are obligatory and must be hired or purchased via our approved supplier when booking.
  1. Graduation is a formal ceremony and as such we require guests and graduands/graduates to dress accordingly. Suits/jackets, shirts and ties, dresses, skirts or similar should be worn. No casual wear or denim please. There will be a number of stairs to negotiate and lots of walking, so please wear comfortable footwear.

Facilities at the venues

Facilities at the venues

Central Hall

There will be water coolers around the building.

There are toilets on every level and a baby changing facility on the basement level in Central Hall.

The entire building is accessible via lifts, but these should only be used by people with access and mobility requirements and those with babies and young children.

There is a café on the basement level (open from 9.00am until 4.00pm) and the Library and Lecture Hall area on the first floor for guests to use whilst waiting to be seated prior to the ceremony commencing.

If guests or graduands/graduates have access and mobility requirements, or small babies and young children, it is essential that you provide details of this when booking tickets so appropriate seating can be allocated. Note that children over two years of age will require their own ticket.

Toilets are located on every level of Central Hall. 

First Aid will be available – ask any member of RVC staff (wearing a purple sash) for directions.


There are toilets on all levels of the venue.

The entire building is accessible via banks of lifts.

There is a café on the ground floor accessible to all.

The first aid room is based on the ground floor and first aiders are on site at all times.

There is a small prayer room available.

Other information


Please allow plenty of time for travelling to the venue. Whilst efforts will be made to help late arrivals access the ceremony, this may not be possible.

Public transport is the best way to get to Graduation. There is no parking at the venues and central London driving can be subject to long delays.

Transport for London is a useful resource to help plan your journey

Food and drink

Alcohol and soft drinks will be provided at the celebration receptions.   If you have any specific allergens, please speak to a member of the catering team at QEII to ask any questions.

There are numerous cafes, bars and restaurants in the area if you wish to continue the celebration after the reception.  It would be advisable to book a table in advance if you require a restaurant.

Health and Safety

We are not expecting a fire alarm. If you hear a continuous, electronic, very loud ringing, it is the fire alarm and you will need to leave through the nearest exit to the lawn outside the QEII complex. Please do not use lifts and please leave belongings in the building. We will follow the procedures set by the venue.

The RVC Graduation bell sounds like a school playground bell and is very different to the fire evacuation sound.

The venues are both public, but if you do see anyone acting suspiciously, please inform security immediately as you would in normal circumstances.

Information Point

There will be information desks just inside the main entrance both venues with RVC staff available to answer any questions you may have about Graduation on the day.



You are and always will be a member of the RVC alumni community. Please remember to register for RVC4Life online before Graduation day (the link will be sent to you by email). You will receive news and information from the RVC, be invited along to class reunions, receive an annual magazine, keep your RVC email address for life and much more!

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