Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic

It will clearly be impossible to have graduation ceremonies in the normal way, as this would involve several hundreds of people gathered together in one graduation hall. We have calculated that in order to observe social distancing requirements and to keep everyone safe, we would need to hold at least 60 graduation ceremonies. This would clearly be unviable. The emergence of the COVID-19 Delta variant would make it even more irresponsible for us to invite your families to travel from throughout the UK and abroad, which would increase the risk of your graduation becoming a COVID-19 ‘super-spreader’ event. We know you value the safety and wellbeing of your families and friends back home too much to want to put them at any kind of risk.

However, we have made arrangements for your graduation that we believe are unique to the University of Bolton and are a more imaginative and creative response to this problem than is offered by any other university. We sincerely hope you will agree.

In these unprecedented circumstances, your Alternative Graduation will be a streamlined, safe, and memorable occasion to honour and celebrate your achievements.

We will hold Alternative Graduations over the course of six days, very much following the usual pattern. But in contrast to previous years, each event will be a special ceremony for each individual School, with no guests invited and none of the large ceremonial processions that characterise typical graduations. Better yet, you won’t have to listen to all the long speeches before you receive your award!

You will receive your award as usual, presented to you personally by your Head of School. Everyone will be wearing gowns and full academic dress as usual. You will have the opportunity to have your photograph taken by our official graduation photographer and will have your picture taken again as your degree is presented to you. If you want a few extra mementos, you will be able to request more photos from our University photographer, if you’re not already sick of being snapped! So, while your family and friends will not be able to share the occasion with you in person, they will have a variety of photographs, including that special moment when you are presented with your commemorative scroll to acknowledge your degree. Your official degree certificate will be posted to your home, to keep it safe.

The Alternative Graduation arrangements apply to those graduating this time and those that had their graduation ceremony cancelled last year due to the pandemic. 

The University of Bolton has been continuously and carefully monitoring the developments in relation to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Whilst the national situation is improving and the vaccination programme is well underway, the pandemic is by no means over.  The University will, therefore, continue to prioritise the health and safety of its staff, students and other stakeholders for as long as it feels necessary to do so.

The University of Bolton has been continuously and carefully monitoring the developments in relation to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.   Whilst the national situation is improving and the vaccination programme is well underway, the pandemic is by no means over.  The University will, therefore, continue to prioritise the health and safety of its staff, students and other stakeholders for as long as it feels necessary to do so.

The University is offering the Alternative Graduation as the only option under the current circumstances.

Registration

To register as a participant, please log in to your student record – evision.bolton.ac.uk – and click “register for graduation – eligible students only” by Thursday 1 July 2021. Please note it will not be possible for us to process any late applications.

If you have any difficulties logging in, please contact the help desk on +44 (0)1204 903 444 or email itsupport@bolton.ac.uk. If you cannot see the link to register your attendance, please email graduation@bolton.ac.uk quoting your student number.

Once you have registered to participate, you can then pre-order your academic dress via the William Northam website.

Once registration has closed, graduands who have opted to attend the Alternative Graduation will be sent a confirmation email which will include a time slot decided by The Chase Films. You must bring this to the University on your filming day, along with proof of a negative COVID-19 test (no more than 48 hours old) and arrive promptly with your student card or student number. 

Graduands who are unable to attend their Alternative Graduation (whether UK based or overseas) who wish to be included in the Graduation Documentary Film can send a photograph of themselves in smart clothes to the director’s specifications before the date of their Alternative Graduation. Further information on this will follow. Please remember to register via your student record when invited prior to Thursday 1 July 2021.

If our records indicate that you have an outstanding University debt, you will be allowed to take part in the Alternative Graduation, but it is essential that you clear your debt before the deadline of midnight on 19 July 2021 if you wish to be included in the edited footage of the Graduation Documentary Film. Failure to clear your debt will mean that you will not be included in the Graduation Documentary.

You must clear your debt by the deadline above in order for your name to be included in the online Graduation Brochure that will be released alongside the premiere of the Graduation Documentary Film.

Arrangements for payment can be made by contacting Financial Services by email to creditcontrol@bolton.ac.uk or by telephone on +44 (0)1204 903 180. Unfortunately, the Graduation Team cannot get involved in discussions regarding student debt.

You may have withdrawn and since received an interim award such as a Certificate of Higher Education or a Diploma of Higher Education. Therefore, you are eligible to participate in an Alternative Graduation. Please log in to your student record to view your results transcript.

Academic Dress & Photography

For those wishing to attend their Graduation Documentary at the University, you must first register your attendance via your student record. Academic dress can then be ordered and photography booked online at www.williamnortham.com by Thursday 1 July 2021. There will be no charge for hiring academic dress for the Alternative Graduation ceremonies on campus which will be edited into the Graduation Documentary Films.

Official photography is a paid service whereby students will deal directly with William Northam.

When ordering academic dress, you need to order a gown, hood and hat. Queries regarding academic dress should be made directly to William Northam.

Graduands who are unable to attend their Alternative Graduation (whether UK based or overseas) who wish to be included in the Graduation Documentary Film can send a photograph of themselves in smart clothes to the director’s specifications before the date of their Alternative Graduation. Further information on this is to follow. Please remember to register via your student record when invited prior to Thursday 1 July 2021. 

Graduands wishing to celebrate graduation from home with their loved ones but in accordance with the latest Government guidelines can order their full academic dress via the William Northam Ship to Home service. This service will be available after the Alternative Graduation ceremonies have taken place at the University. Please complete the enquiry form to check availability, the service and the price by visiting www.williamnortham.com This is a service directly provided by William Northam at a cost to you.

Cap sizes can be obtained by measuring the circumference of your head one inch above the eyebrows, level round, and state measurement in inches or centimetres.

The correct form of dress to accompany an academic gown is:

Men: a dark suit, collar and tie: Click here for image

Women: a dark suit with a white blouse or dark dress: Click here for image

Alternatively, national dress may be worn. Safety pins and hair grips can be useful to attach your hood and cap.

Please bring your William Northam robe acknowledgement with you to the University filming sessions.

After you’ve been presented at your Alternative Graduation, robes will need to be returned immediately to the William Northam Collection pavilion outside Senate House at the University of Bolton.

If you wish to pre-order your photographs, please visit the William Northam website - www.williamnortham.com

The University’s official photographers, Northam’s Photography, will be present at Senate House prior to your Alternative Graduation. The University photographer can take additional photos in the William Northam Collection pavilion outside Senate House prior to the return of your academic dress.

There will be three occasions where you will be photographed: 

  1. Studio photography wearing your cap, gown and hood taken by William Northam.
  2. When you receive your commemorative scroll on stage.

These photographs are chargeable from William Northam.

  1. Additional photographs (at the designated area outside Senate House) taken by the University photographer

Digital copies of these photographs are free of charge.

Should you wish to cancel your academic dress and photography order, you can do so without any financial penalty within 14 days of your order being placed. Should you wish to cancel after the 14 day ‘cooling off period’ you may still do so; however, a £1.50 administration charge will be deducted (from photography orders). All refund requests must be received at least seven days before your graduation ceremony date. Please note that the cost of gowns for those that attend the Alternative Graduation on campus will be covered by the University this July. However, if you do not complete your studies, we would appreciate it if you cancelled your order formally with William Northam as described above. 

To cancel please visit www.williamnortham.com and log in to ‘My Account’ or email student@williamnortham.com.

Alternative Graduation Ceremonies

The Alternative Graduation ceremonies are physical. Please keep in mind that the process of arriving at the University, showing your negative COVID test result, temperature scanning, registration, robing, photography, filming receiving your award, exit, additional outdoor photograph, gown hire return and then leaving campus will be similar to the vaccination process that we may have experienced at vaccination centres.  We anticipate that your time on campus from arrival to departure will take no longer than approximately 30 minutes.

Footage will be recorded as you cross the stage. In August/September a Graduation Documentary will be released for each school for you to watch from home with your loved ones.

Changing the date poses a complication for the film company as you would be presented by another Head of School and the filming of students would not be consistent. A photograph could be submitted instead to be edited into your school’s Graduation Documentary Film.

Or you can submit a request to graduation@bolton.ac.uk with a significant reason to attend on another day between the 9-16 July which will be considered case by case.

Graduands will be required to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test (which must be less than 48 hours old) before being allowed access to the campus to attend their Alternative Graduation. Graduands may wish to order test kits to be delivered to their homes; free home testing kits are also available from most local pharmacies.

Yes, every student must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test (which must be less than 48 hours old) before being allowed access to the campus.

We know you value the safety and well-being of your families and friends back home too much to want to put them at any kind of risk. It will clearly be impossible to have graduation ceremonies in the normal way, as this would involve several hundreds of people gathered together in one graduation hall. Therefore, guests are not permitted on campus for your Alternative Graduation, but once it is premiered, they will be able to enjoy watching the Graduation Documentary Film from the comfort of their own home.

Please keep in mind that the process of arriving at the University, showing your negative COVID test result, temperature scanning, registration, robing, photography, filming receiving your award, exit, additional outdoor photograph, gown hire return and then leaving campus will be similar to the vaccination process that we may have experienced at vaccination centres.  We anticipate that your time on campus from arrival to departure will take no longer than approximately 30 minutes.

It will be necessary for everyone to wear face coverings inside the building unless there is a clear instruction to remove them (e.g. for photography) or there are proven medical reasons why someone may not wear one.

Ensure that you can confirm that you do not display any of the following symptoms before leaving your home for your Alternative Graduation:

  • A High Temperature (fever)
    • This means that you feel hot to the touch on your chest or back – you don’t need to measure your temperature with a thermometer.
  • A new continuous cough
    • This means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or three or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual).
  • A change to your sense of smell or taste
    • This means you have noticed that you cannot smell or taste anything, or that things smell or taste different to normal.
  • DO NOT come to campus if you test positive, are self-isolating or experiencing any of the COVID-19 symptoms.

The Chase Films will issue a time slot once registration has closed, this will depend on student numbers. Unfortunately, we cannot provide an exact time slot at this time.

However, we estimate that AM sessions will be between 9am-12pm and PM between 12pm and 5pm (however on 13 July we believe the PM session will be shortened).

Please keep in mind that the process of arriving at the University, showing your negative COVID test result, temperature scanning, registration, robing, photography, filming receiving your award, exit, additional outdoor photograph, gown hire return and then leaving campus will be similar to the vaccination process that we may have experienced at vaccination centres.  We anticipate that your time on campus from arrival to departure will take no longer than approximately 30 minutes.

Alternative Graduation ceremonies will be held at Senate House, University of Bolton. Please keep in mind that the process of arriving at the University, showing your negative COVID test result, temperature scanning, registration, robing, photography, filming receiving your award, exit, additional outdoor photograph, gown hire return and then leaving campus will be similar to the vaccination process that we may have experienced at vaccination centres.  We anticipate that your time on campus from arrival to departure will take no longer than approximately 30 minutes.

Graduands can park in the student car park next to the i-zone or behind the University NCME and walk to the main entrance of Senate House (BL3 5AB - what3words location: ///ears.garden.pinks) Appropriate signage will be in place to show the direction you will need to take. Student Ambassadors will be on duty and will confirm the direction. Pay and display parking close to the University can be found at NCP Car Park Bolton Deane Road (Wellington Street, Bolton BL3 5DX).

Upon arrival at Senate House and at the time allocated by The Chase Films, graduands will provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test (which must be less than 48 hours old) before being allowed access. On entering Senate House, graduands will be prompted to scan the NHS track and trace QR code.

Graduands will go through the temperature checking area for clearance to proceed and will be prompted to scan their student card. It will be necessary for everyone to wear face masks inside the building unless there is a clear instruction to remove them (e.g. for photography) or there are proven medical reasons why someone may not wear one. Hand sanitisation will also be required.

In summary, to enter Senate House, graduands must provide a COVID-19 negative (lateral flow) test result, scan the NHS track and trace QR code, pass the temperature check, wear a suitable face covering and sanitise hands.

Following the completion of the COVID-19 safety checks, graduands will be ushered to the Atrium where they will be greeted by the Registration Desk Team. The Registration Desk Team will scan your student card to retrieve your ceremony record. A quick check will be made to ensure the registration process has been completed and graduands have agreed to the graduation privacy policy. Graduands will be handed a ticket with their ceremony number and call order and will be ushered to the D Corridor of Senate House.

On D Corridor, graduands will be admitted to room D1-046 where they will be issued with the academic dress they have pre-ordered with William Northam.

If graduands are eligible for a gold tassel on their mortar boards (i.e. achieving a 1st class bachelor’s degree or distinction at master’s level) they will be given a ticket at the Registration Desk for William Northam to facilitate this change.

From the robing room (D1-046) graduands will then proceed to the next room (D1-042) where graduands will be photographed individually by William Northam. There will be another opportunity for you to have photographs taken prior to handing in your academic dress at the Gown Drop-Off Point in the pavilion located outside and adjacent to the exit.

After robing and photography, graduands taking part in an Alternative Graduation will be directed to the filming studio in the Deane Suite Lecture Theatre. Access is by stairs (or by lift for those unable to use the stairs). Graduands will line up along the corridor, their call order number will be checked and they will be ushered into the correct order. When a group of graduands are present, four will be led into the Deane Suite Lecture Theatre where they will present their student information card to the narrator. Graduands will cross the floor, be handed a commemorative scroll by the Head of School, pause for the camera and exit. After the ceremony, graduands will leave the building following the one-way system and return their academic dress to the Gown Drop-Off Point in the pavilion located outside and adjacent to the exit. In addition, informal background filming will be taking place at various locations around Senate House for the Graduation Documentary Film.

For those declining to attend their School’s Alternative Graduation and not wishing to take part in the Graduation Documentary Film, it will still be possible for them to have official photographs taken in academic dress by William Northam in Bolton. Appointments for this will be on the day of their Alternative Graduation when filming is complete. A link will also be sent to graduands to view their Graduation Documentary Film, despite not participating in the film themselves.

The Chase Films will issue a time slot once registration has closed. This will depend on student numbers unfortunately we cannot provide an exact time slot at this time.

However, we estimate that AM sessions will be between 9am-12pm and PM between 12pm and 5pm (however on 13 July we believe the PM session will be shortened).

It is very important that you arrive on time, as graduands will be presented in the same order as a traditional ceremony. If you arrive too early you will be politely asked to wait until your appointment time outside Senate House. If you are running late, a telephone number will be published for you to telephone and wait for further instruction.

Please keep in mind that the process of arriving at the University, showing your negative COVID test result, temperature scanning, registration, robing, photography, filming receiving your award, exit, additional outdoor photograph, gown hire return and then leaving campus will be similar to the vaccination process that we may have experienced at vaccination centres.  We anticipate that your time on campus from arrival to departure will take no longer than approximately 30 minutes.

Please keep in mind that the process of arriving at the University, showing your negative COVID test result, temperature scanning, registration, robing, photography, filming receiving your award, exit, additional outdoor photograph, gown hire return and then leaving campus will be similar to the vaccination process that we may have experienced at vaccination centres.  We anticipate that your time on campus from arrival to departure will take no longer than approximately 30 minutes.

As you will be presented in the same order as in a traditional ceremony it is crucial that you arrive at the time issued to you by The Chase Films. It is naturally your decision to meet friends off campus to celebrate your Alternative Graduation, while of course adhering to the latest Government COVID-19 restrictions.

Graduands are respectfully requested to leave the University Campus promptly and not congregate in the area due to COVID-19 guidance.

This option is not available on the day of your Alternative Graduation. However, once the Alternative Graduations have taken place, graduands can order their full academic dress using the William Northam ship to home service. Please complete the enquiry form to check availability, the service and the price by visiting the Ship to Home page on the William Northam website. This is a service directly provided by William Northam at a cost to you.

Please keep in mind that on the day of your Alternative Graduation ceremony the process of arriving at the University, showing your negative COVID test result, temperature scanning, registration, robing, photography, filming receiving your award, exit, additional outdoor photograph, gown hire return and then leaving campus will be similar to the vaccination process that we may have experienced at vaccination centres.  We anticipate that your time on campus from arrival to departure will take no longer than approximately 30 minutes.

Providing you adhere to social distancing rules and abide by the ambassador’s guidance you could very quickly take a few photographs of your own before handing back your gown. There will be a designated area with social distancing measures in place to do this.

Graduands who are unable to attend their Alternative Graduation (whether UK based or overseas) who wish to be included in the Graduation Documentary Film can send a photograph to the director’s specifications before the date of their Alternative Graduation. Further information on this will follow.

Award Information

Results for the majority of students will be published within your Student Record after 10:00am on Tuesday 22 June 2021. If you do not successfully complete your studies following the June boards, you will not be eligible to participate in an Alternative Graduation. Once you have successfully completed your studies you will be invited to attend a July 2022 graduation ceremony.

Certificates for successful graduates will be posted out (where possible) up to eight weeks after the board meets. This is standard University process. It is essential that you advise the University of any change of address by the end of June 2021. You can update your home address online by logging in to your student record. Changes from July 2021 need to be emailed to SDM@bolton.ac.uk.

Your certificate name appears in the personal details section within your student record. If this information is incorrect, you must inform us immediately. Changes to your name must be accompanied by appropriate official documentation. Names cannot be changed after the final examination boards have confirmed your award.

Graduands achieving a first-class honours classification for their first degree and postgraduate graduands achieving a distinction will be announced during the Alternative Graduation and Graduation Documentary Film.

If you have not completed the course, you will be invited again to a future ceremony when you have achieved an award.

Information for Students with Special Requirements

If you intend to participate in your Alternative Graduation and have any special requirements that we should be aware of, please email graduation@bolton.ac.uk.

International Students & Visitor Visas

Graduands who are unable to attend their Alternative Graduation (whether UK based or overseas) who wish to be included in the Graduation Documentary Film can send a photograph of themselves in smart clothes to the director’s specifications before the date of their Alternative Graduation. Further information on this is to follow. Please remember to register via your student record when invited prior to Thursday 1 July 2021. 

The premiere of the Graduation Documentary Film will be available for you to watch and enjoy from anywhere in the world.

If you have a question regarding your visa, then please contact our International Student Journey Officer for the latest information – email: studentimmigration@bolton.ac.uk

During these uncertain times we encourage overseas graduands to participate by sending in a photograph of themselves in smart clothes to the director’s specifications before the date of their Alternative Graduation. However, should you wish to travel to the UK you must check the current UK Government restrictions on travel and also follow your own Government’s travel advice, and arrange suitable travel insurance.

Please keep in mind that the process of arriving at the University, showing your negative COVID test result, temperature scanning, registration, robing, photography, filming receiving your award, exit, additional outdoor photograph, gown hire return and then leaving campus will be similar to the vaccination process that we may have experienced at vaccination centres.  We anticipate that your time on campus from arrival to departure will take no longer than approximately 30 minutes.

Please note, if the alternative graduation ceremonies or official photography/filming cannot take place or are delayed due to circumstances beyond the control of the University, including (without limitation) fire, explosion, terrorist act (or threat of terrorist act), ‘act of God’, pandemic, or as a result of any industrial action or dispute involving the University, or at the venue where filming is due to be held, the University will not be liable for any losses direct, or otherwise, incurred by graduates. The University will, where at all possible, make alternative arrangements for any students affected.

Unfortunately, there is not sufficient time to arrange ‘To Whom it May Concern’ letters to aid visa applications as these applications can take months to process. Guests are not permitted on campus for your Alternative Graduation, but once premiered, family and friends will be able to enjoy watching the Graduation Documentary Film from the comfort of their own home.

Graduation Documentary Film

We will be making a Graduation Documentary Film in the run-up to the Alternative Graduations to give a snapshot of the brilliant ways in which students and staff have responded to the challenges of the last 15 months. We will also be filming throughout the entire six days of the small individual on-campus ceremonies. The film will be made by The Chase Films, a Manchester-based, Oscar-nominated film company and directed by our own Professor David Thacker who, as some of you may know, is an Olivier Award-winning theatre director and BAFTA-nominated film director.

We do not expect you to speak to camera during the filming of the Alternative Graduation. Filming will take place as they announce your name and you cross the stage.  Of course, you will be able to celebrate in your own way when you receive your award on stage as many graduands do at a traditional ceremony.

Filming will also be taking place “behind the scenes” to capture footage at the registration desk, robing rooms etc and you may appear in these shots. 

Once complete, a link to the premiere of the Graduation Documentary Film will be emailed to you.

Further information on receiving your copy of the Graduation Documentary Film will follow.

Contact Us

If you haven’t found the answer to your question please contact us by email – graduation@bolton.ac.uk, quoting your student number.

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Help Centre

We have the answers to your questions, find all the advice and support in one place.

Part of the University of Bolton Group

Bolton college
Alliance learning
Anderton centre2
Scheme Participant
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TEF Silver QQA