Rules Governing Graduation

Document Number000593
Date Approved12 December 2003


Alumni” means the graduates or former students of the University;

Confer” means the presentation of a testamur to a graduate;

Convocation” means an assembly of the graduates and friends of the University and consists of: the members and past members of the Council, the graduates of the University, the professors and full-time members of the academic staff of the University and such other members or classes of members of the staff of the University as the by-laws may prescribe, and such graduates of other universities, or other persons, as are, in accordance with the by-laws, admitted as members of Convocation;

Graduate” (noun) means a person who has qualified for one of the University’s awards and has received the testamur for that award;

Graduate” (verb) means to attend a graduation ceremony and receive a testamur;

Graduation Ceremony ” means an official ceremony to confer degrees;

Testamur” means a degree certificate.

1.0.     Who is a graduate of the University?

1.1.     Under The University of Newcastle Act (1989), a reference to a graduate is a reference to a person who is the recipient of a degree or diploma, or of such other award or certificate as may be prescribed by the by-laws, conferred or awarded:

(a) by the University,

(b) by or on behalf of any former institution that has, pursuant to this Act or to the Higher Education (Amalgamation) Act 1989 or otherwise, become a part of the University, or

(c) by any predecessor of any such institution.

2.      Completion of an award

2.1.     When a student successfully completes their last semester of study and has satisfied the requirements for their degree as specified in the:

(a) Rules Governing Undergraduate Academic Awards; or

(b) Rules Governing Postgraduate Coursework Awards; or

(c) Rules Governing Professional Doctorates; or

(d) Rules Governing Research Higher Degrees; and

(e) Schedule for the award,

the Faculty in which the student is enrolled will qualify them for their award at the fully graded date in that term. The fully graded date is the date in a term when final academic results for courses are published and made available to students.

2.2.     The names of all graduates recorded in the Graduation Ceremony Program each semester will be endorsed by the Academic Senate and approved by the Council of the University. The Graduation Ceremony Program will be the official public record of graduates of the University.

2.3.     Where errors and omissions have occurred in the Graduation Ceremony Program, the Vice President – University Services will provide a list of those graduates to the next meeting of the University Council. These graduates will be included in the next Graduation Ceremony Program.

3.      Eligibility to graduate

3.1.     As soon as the Faculty has qualified a student, the student is eligible to graduate, except:

(1) where the student is indebted to the University: or

(2) where the student is under student disciplinary investigation.

Such students are not eligible to graduate until their debts are cleared or the disciplinary action is resolved.

3.2.     Graduates will be sent a letter of invitation to the next graduation ceremony and can choose to attend the ceremony, defer attendance to a future ceremony or receive their testamur if they cannot, or do not wish to, attend a ceremony.

3.3.     When a graduate does not attend a graduation ceremony they must request that their testamur be mailed to them. Testamurs will be posted by registered mail only after all the ceremonies in that graduation period have been conducted.

3.4.     Testamurs will be mailed only to the graduate concerned. Testamurs will not be released to a family member or friend without the graduate’s written permission. The University will not mail testamurs to agents of the University or offshore or onshore partners.

3.5.     Testamurs will not be released to graduates prior to the relevant graduation ceremony unless graduates require the testamur for employment or immigration purposes. In this instance graduates must complete the Request for Early Release Form. A fee will apply unless waived by the

  1. Vice-Chancellor;
  2. relevant Deputy Vice-Chancellor; or
  3. Dean of Graduate Studies (research students only).

3.6.     Graduates who elect to participate in a future Graduation Ceremony will receive a 'Certificate of Participation' as they will have already received their testamur. Dates and locations of future graduation ceremonies will be listed on the University’s graduation page on the Internet.

4.0.     When and where are graduation ceremonies held?

4.1.     Every year The University of Newcastle holds graduation ceremonies on its two main campuses and at an international location. Graduation ceremonies are organised by Student and Alumni Services in the University Services Division. Callaghan Campus Graduation ceremonies are held in both semesters, Ourimbah Campus Graduation is held in first semester only and overseas graduation is held in a country chosen to be accessible to as many international students as possible.

5.0.     Who officiates over graduation ceremonies?

5.1.     The Chancellor is the presiding officer in the role of Chair of the University’s Council.

6.      Replacement of testamurs policy

6.1.     A lost or destroyed testamur can be replaced upon payment of a prescribed fee. The graduate must complete a ‘Request for Replacement of Testamur’ application and a statutory declaration. Any other supporting evidence is to be attached to the request.

7.      Revocation of degrees

7.1.     The University reserves the right to revoke any degree awarded if it is proven through student disciplinary or other action that the student is guilty of cheating, plagiarism, or other fraudulent activity and obtained the degree under false pretences.

8.      Protocols for offshore partners

8.1.     The University’s offshore partners are permitted to hold prize-giving or recognition ceremonies to celebrate the achievements of students based at those institutions.

8.2.     Since prize giving or recognition ceremonies are not official graduation ceremonies, senior officers of the University, including the Chancellor, Vice-Chancellor, Deputy Chancellor or any Pro Vice-Chancellor, do not officiate at such ceremonies but are encouraged to attend as invited guests. Partner institution personnel should officiate at recognition or prize giving ceremonies.

8.3.     As testamurs of the University are only presented at formal graduation ceremonies, Certificates of Participation or Recognition Certificates may be presented at recognition ceremonies.

Related Information

Approval AuthorityCouncil
Date Approved12 December 2003
Date Promulgated15 December 2003
Policy SponsorUniversity Secretary
Policy OwnerAcademic Registrar
Policy ContactDeputy Academic Registrar, Student Administration
Amendment History

Minor Amendments to Clause 3 approved by the President of Academic Senate under delegated authority 8 September 2011 [CTL:45]

Minor Amendments to Clause 2 approved by the President of Academic Senate 24 August 2010 [CTL:45]

Amendment to Clause 3.3 and Clause 3.5, Academic Senate 20 February 2008

Approved: Council, 12 December 2003