Graduation ceremony etiquette

General guidelines


Please arrive at least one hour before the start of the ceremony. If you arrive late, you will not be admitted to the graduation hall. Your travel arrangements should allow for rush hour traffic, road conditions and distance. Also, please ensure that your guests are informed of the appropriate arrival time or they may be refused admission and will not be able to share in your graduation experience.

Proof of identification

Ensure that you have proof of identification - your identity document, valid passport, birth certificate or South African driver's licence - on your person. Graduands or diplomands arriving without any proof of identification may be refused entry.


The graduation ceremony is a formal occasion. Graduands, diplomands and guests must dress formally or in traditional dress. Denims, t-shirts and sport shoes are not permitted. Graduands must wear their academic dress. Borrowing academic dress from other candidates is not permitted. Unisa reserves the right to refuse entry to a person not adhering to the dress code. Likewise, the university may also refuse to formally confer or award a qualification to a candidate not wearing academic attire in the prescribed fashion. Click here for more information. 


A maximum of two guests per graduand/diploma candidate will be allowed. Extra tickets are not available. Your guest tickets will be available for collection at the graduation venue. Guests should be seated at least 30 minutes before the ceremony starts. Guest seats are not reserved and latecomers will not be admitted, even if they are in possession of a ticket. Please inform your guests accordingly. 


Since a graduation ceremony is a formal occasion, babies and toddlers are not permitted into the hall. Children aged 7 and older may attend the graduation ceremony, but will be required to obtain a guest ticket; they are thus included in the maximum number of guests allowed per graduand/diplomand. 


Graduands, diploma candidates and guests should not leave the hall during the proceedings, and should remain seated until the end of the ceremony.


Graduation venues are non-smoking venues. Also, please do not smoke while wearing hired academic attire, even if you are in a designated smoking area. 

Mobile phones

Please switch off your mobile phone when entering the graduation hall.


Food and beverages are not allowed inside the graduation hall.


Handbags and bags may not be taken to the stage. These should be left under your seat or with one of your guests.

Candidates with disabilities

The Division: Graduations will gladly facilitate appropriate arrangements, such as wheelchair access and seating. Inform the Division: Graduations via or Mr C Jacobs ( Please use the Goldfields entrance, from where officials will assist you. 

Last modified: 2023/07/28