Bedel - Ceremonial official attending the Vice-Chancellor at events such as degree ceremonies and Encaenia, and at meetings of Congregation and Convocation. There are four Bedels: of Divinity, Law, Medicine and Arts.

Commoner’s gown - The gown that an undergraduate who does not have a scholarship or exhibition usually wears. The majority of people graduating with a BA/Integrated Masters wear this gown to graduation before changing into their new degree gown and hood. 

Congregation - a synonym for the day of a graduation

Dean of Degrees / Deputy Dean of Degrees - The Senior Fellow (or Fellows) responsible for presenting the College’s students to the Vice Chancellor during the graduation ceremony. 

Degree conferral - The act of having your degree approved by the Vice Chancellor during the degree ceremony.

Degree Day – a synonym for the day of a graduation

Development - the name of the office at Jesus College that administrates the graduation ceremonies - you can contact them by emailing  

Doctorate of Philosophy - The PhD is known as the DPhil in Oxford

Graduate gown - The gown worn by student taking postgraduate taught or research courses, as part of sub fusc attire. Graduates typically wear this gown to the ceremony before chaning into the gown and hood of their new degree.

Historic Graduand - A person that has not had their degree conferred despite having completed their course at least 9 months ago. This could be due to a variety of reasons. As current final year students are given preference for the limited number of ceremony spaces each year, historic graduands will often go on a waiting list for their choice of ceremony, being offered a space if one becomes available.

Hood – Each degree carries with it the right to wear a different academic hood. These are usually made of different coloured silks or trimmed with fur and will be presented to you to wear after your degree has been conferred. They are usually only hired for the graduation day, however, those who will be partaking in academic ceremonies regularly may choose to buy a hood. 

In Absentia – The act of taking your degree in absence, not being physically present at the ceremony. Your name will still read out at the ceremony and your degree conferred, with the certificate then being posted to you. Most MA’s and historic degrees are taken in absence and some international graduands also choose this option. 

Leave to Supplicate - Usually used in reference to research students, this is the official notification from your department that your work has been submitted, assessed and permission has been granted for you to have your degree conferred.

MA – MA is abbreviation of the Master of Arts degree. This is a mark of seniority within the University which may be conferred 21 terms after matriculation. The Oxford MA is represents someone having achieved a new status within the University and is not an upgrade of a BA or similar qualification. MA conferral is only available to BA/BFA graduates.

Matriculation Year – the year that you officially enrolled in the University, the start of your course.

PGCE- Post-Graduate Certificate in Education.

PGR - A student taking a postgraduate research degree.

PGT - A student taking a postgraduate degree that is taught and assessed through examinations and essays rather than a research thesis.

Scholar’s gown - The gown that an undergraduate that holds a scholarship or exhibition usually wears. Some people graduating with a BA/Integrated Masters choose to wear this gown to the ceremony before changing in to their new degree gown and hood. 

Sheldonian Theatre - The location of all degree ceremonies. 

Sub fusc - Formal attire worn by students and academics on formal academic occasions, including graduation. It is made up of:

  • a dark suit, skirt or trousers
  • a white shirt or blouse
  • a white or black bow tie, black full-length tie or black ribbon
  • worn with a black Commoner's, Scholar's or Graduate gown as appropriate, and a mortar-board or soft cap.

Please read the University's guidance on Academic dress for more information.