Conferral and Graduation Policy

1. Policy Statement

2. Policy Scope

3. Definitions

4. Principles

5. Conferral of Award

6. Awards to be presented at Graduation Ceremonies

7. The graduation ceremony

8. Fees and charges

9. Recordkeeping

10. Responsibilities


1. Policy Statement

This Policy describes the conferral of awards and graduation at the Australian Catholic University (ACU) in line with Statute 6: Admission to Degrees.

2. Policy Scope

This policy applies to all members of the University including students, staff, office-bearers of the University and members of Senate who participate in University graduation ceremonies in an official capacity.

3. Definitions

Terms used in this policy and the associated procedures are consistent with the ACU Glossary of Terms In addition, the following words and expressions in this Policy have the meanings listed below:

Award: A degree, diploma or certificate, or other qualification, which is approved by the Academic Board of the University, and is conferred upon completion of the relevant course requirements.

Course Completion: Course completion occurs once the requirements to complete have been verified by the authorised officer of the University.

Graduand: A student who has met the requirements for course completion, but is yet to have the award conferred.

Graduate: A student who has successfully completed the requirements for a degree, and that degree has been conferred.

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4. Principles

4.1 A student may elect to have their award conferred in person at a graduation ceremony or in absentia.

4.2 A graduation ceremony will be conducted each year for each ACU campus where there are graduating students.

4.3 All reasonable adjustments will be made to allow students or staff with disabilities, or long-term illness, to fully participate in graduation ceremonies.

5. Conferral of Award

5.1 An award may be conferred after the Executive Dean has certified that a student has fulfilled the conditions prescribed for admission to that degree or granting of that diploma or other award and the approval to proceed to conferral has been ratified by the Chair of Academic Board.

5.2 The Senate is the approving body for the conferral of Honorary degrees.

5.3 There are three ways that an award may be conferred:

  1. by attendance at a graduation ceremony; or
  2. in absentia at a graduation ceremony, and listed in the graduation program; or
  3. in exceptional circumstances via administrative conferral outside a graduation ceremony.

5.4 A student who has been approved for course completion may register to attend one of the designated ceremonies for their Faculty and course to be presented with their award or to graduate in absentia.

5.5 A student who has elected to graduate in absentia may defer their attendance at a graduation ceremony for up to a maximum of 12 months.

5.6 Students who do not advise the University of their intention will be graduated in absentia at the graduation ceremony for their course.

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6. Awards to be presented at Graduation Ceremonies

6.1 Academic awards

6.1.1 Courses that lead to an award approved by Academic Board will be presented at graduation ceremonies.

6.1.2 Non-award courses are not presented at graduation ceremonies with the exception of the Certificate in Liberal Studies (Clemente Australia).

6.2 Honorary Degrees

6.2.1 Consistent with Regulation 6.2, Honorary Degrees will normally be conferred at an official graduation ceremony.

6.2.2 There will be a maximum of one Honorary Doctorate awarded at any one graduation ceremony.

6.3 Special awards and Medals

6.3.1 Special awards
Special awards including: excellence in teaching awards; excellence in research, doctoral studies and research supervision awards; community engagement awards and other Vice-Chancellor’s awards for excellence may be awarded at the relevant graduation ceremony.

6.3.2 University Honours Medal and University Medal
Academic Board may award University Honours Medals and University Medals in recognition of outstanding academic merit. The Medals will be presented to students at the relevant graduation ceremony each year.

6.3.3 Executive Dean’s List
Students included in the Executive Dean’s List will be listed in the graduation program, consistent with the Protocols for Executive Dean’s List and Executive Dean’s Commendations.

6.4 Awards presented under special circumstances

6.4.1 Awards may be presented in the following special circumstances, consistent with the Procedures for Conferral of Awards:

  1. Posthumous awards
    A posthumous award may be made at a graduation ceremony if a student dies before the ceremony at which they would normally have been presented with their award. The award is usually presented to a member of the family or other appropriate person.
  2. Awards where course requirements are not fully satisfied
    In rare and exceptional circumstances, approval may be given by the Vice-Chancellor for the conferral of an award at a graduation ceremony to a student who has died, or has become incapacitated, and has not completed all course requirements.

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7. The graduation ceremony

7.1 For each graduation ceremony there will be standard procedures, protocols and requirements as detailed in the Procedures for Graduation Ceremonies.

7.2 For any graduation ceremony the following University officials must be in attendance:

  1. Presiding Officer;
  2. Presenting Officer and/or Executive Dean (or nominee); and
  3. Academic Registrar (or nominee).

7.3 The main components of each graduation ceremony are:

7.3.1 Academic Procession The Academic Procession will be made up of staff of the University, members of Senate, invited senior members of the Church, the invited speaker and recipients of Doctorates, Honorary or special awards. When senior academics from other universities or former senior academic staff of ACU accept an invitation to attend graduation, they may be invited to join the Academic Procession by the Graduation Office. All members of the Academic Procession must wear full academic dress, with the exception of senior members of Church who may opt to wear ecclesiastical vestments, and the invited speaker for whom academic dress is optional. The Academic Procession includes the Bible and the  ceremonial Mace.

7.3.2 Acknowledgement of Country
The official ACU Acknowledgement of Country will be delivered at each graduation ceremony.

7.3.3 Liturgical Element
A liturgical element consisting of a prayer, a blessing and the processing of the Bible will be standard at each graduation ceremony.

7.3.4 Occasional Address
An occasional address will be delivered at each graduation ceremony.

7.3.5 Conferral and Presentation of Awards
Degrees will be conferred for students in attendance, and for students listed in the program and not in attendance. University Medals and other special awards will also be presented, as appropriate.

7.3.6 Graduate Vote of Thanks
A graduate will present a vote of thanks on behalf of all graduates at the end of each graduation ceremony.

7.3.7 Graduation Program
A graduation program will be compiled for every graduation location.

8. Fees and Charges

8.1 Fees and charges will apply to aspects of a graduand’s attendance at a graduation ceremony. Fees and charges relating to graduation ceremonies are detailed in Schedule 1.

8.2 All fees and charges must be paid in full prior to the graduand participating in their graduation ceremony.

8.3 Cancellation fees will normally apply and are outlined in Schedule 1.

8.4 There are no fees or charges for ACU staff participating in a graduation ceremony.

8.5 The hiring of ACU academic dress for external organisations is at the discretion of the Academic Registrar, is subject to availability and will incur relevant fees, as outlined in Schedule 1. Such hire arrangements are only available where the hire is for graduates of ACU.

8.6 Fees and charges will be determined on an annual basis by the Chief Operating Officer on the advice of the Academic Registrar.

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9. Recordkeeping

9.1 There will be a University register of awards conferred.

9.2 The register will be maintained by the Graduations Office for each graduation period and will be submitted to the Office of Governance, twice per year.

9.3 The Register will comprise:

  1. details of graduands conferred in the reference period; and
  2. details of all administrative conferrals; and
  3. details of all award rescissions and revocations.

10. Responsibilities

10.1 The Academic Registrar is responsible for the implementation of this Policy and associated Procedures and management of the University’s graduation ceremonies.

10.2 The Graduation Office is responsible for setting graduation ceremony dates and determining ceremony venues. This will be done in consultation with the Academic Registrar, Senior Executive Group and external venues. Dates are submitted to Academic Administrative Committee and Ceremonial and Protocols Committee for noting.

10.3 The Graduation Office is responsible for submitting a report on conferrals to Senate, via the Ceremonial and Protocols Committee, and to provide a register of awards to the Secretariat for the official record.

10.4 Other operational responsibilities relating to graduation ceremonies are detailed in the associated procedures.


Graduation Item Comments 2016 Rates
ACU graduation ceremony fee
  • Graduands must wear the prescribed academic regalia for their award – refer to the Academic Dress and Regalia Policy.
  • Continuing or fixed-term ACU staff members who are graduating will be exempted from all fees.
  • Doctoral graduands will be exempted from the graduation ceremony fee, but will be charged for any extra tickets.
  • Regalia hire by ACU staff attending a ceremony as part of the academic procession will be complimentary.
The following cost structures (including GST) apply:
Graduands 2016:
$150 per graduand which includes the cost of hire of academic regalia, three guest tickets and post ceremony refreshments.
Additional guest tickets Graduands are provided with three guest tickets as part of the graduation fee. Additional guest tickets may be requested however, due to venue capacity additional tickets are subject to restrictions. $20 for each additional guest ticket (non-refundable).
Cancellation Fees
  • Fee in respect of cancellations received less than two weeks prior to the allocated graduation ceremony
  • Failure to attend without notification:
100% of fee paid
Fees applying for hire of regalia by  external organisations
(See Section 8.5 of Policy)
Fees will be levied on a per item basis:
  • Hood/Stole
Freight/courier costs will be levied.
$25 plus GST

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Related Policies, Procedures, Guidelines and Local Protocols

Statute 6: Admission to Degrees;
Academic Dress and Regalia Policy;
Procedures for Conferral of Awards;
Procedures for Graduation Ceremonies

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