Frequently Asked Questions

Find out the answers to your queries on the College's Diploma Ceremony.

You are eligible for the Diploma Ceremony as a Higher Qualification recipient if you meet the below criteria: 

  • You are a current College member at the time of the Diploma Ceremony, and
  • The College has received notification from a course provider that you have passed one or more of the below since July 2023 and before 31 August 2024:
    • OSCE
    • Independent Prescribing final assessment
    • Diploma in Contact Lens Practice
    • Diploma in Glaucoma
    • Professional Higher Certificate in Contact Lens Practice
    • Professional Higher Certificate in Glaucoma
    • Professional Higher Certificate in Low vision
    • Professional Higher Certificate in Medical Retina
    • Professional Higher Certificate in Paediatric Eye Care.

Invitations are sent over the summer will be completed by September 2024. If you have not received your invitation email by then, please contact our events team at

If you passed your qualification between September 2023 and now, you will receive your invitation by September 2024. If you have passed your qualification earlier than that or have not received the invitation by end of September 2024, please contact our events team at

The booking form allows you to add these details when you provide your guest information. You can also contact our events team at with details of your guest requirements.  

You will receive a confirmation email once you book and a final event details email the week before. We will not send any information by post. 

There is a limit of a maximum of two guests per member.

We strongly recommend that you do not bring children less than twelve years of age to the Ceremony. As well as the possible disruption small children can cause at a formal event, it can be a long and arduous occasion for young children. If you have exceptional circumstances and need to bring a small child, please contact the College at

Photographers will be available at Central Hall to take formal portraits of diplomates and their families.  The studio will be well sign posted and located on the lower ground floor of Central Hall.  Diplomates are advised to pre-order their photographs, but you will still be able to order photos on the day. You can pre-order photography packages during the booking process.

Membership and higher qualification certificates are not given out at the Ceremony. They are posted to you directly.

Fellowship and research award certificates only, are presented at the Ceremony.

If you have not received your certificate by the date of the Ceremony, please contact the College Membership Team.

Due to the large number of members completing Professional Certificates, we are only able to invite those who have achieved Professional Higher Certificates and Diplomas to the Ceremony, as we have a limited capacity. 

Please find the schedule for the Diploma Ceremony here. You will also receive these in the final email, closer to the date. Please read the information carefully and contact us if you have any questions or concerns.  

All guests and diplomates will be seated in the hall at the start of the Ceremony. After the Council procession has entered, the College President will address the assembly. 

Awards are given out according to the schedule for the day. Diplomates are directed by marshals to leave their seats and queue along the far right wall - they will be seated and queued in alphabetical order. 

Each diplomate will ascend a short flight of steps to the platform as the Chief Executive calls their name. Diplomates will then be greeted by the President by a nod of the head and have their photograph taken with him before descending the steps at the opposite side of the platform where they will be directed to go back to their seat for the remainder of the Ceremony. Quite a long walk, with some standing is involved in the procession. Diplomates with special needs or mobility problems should contact the College by email on

You will need to order your gown, which will be ready for collection after you have registered when you arrive. Clothes worn underneath your gown should be suitable for the occasion. Smart but comfortable shoes are important. 

The address is:

Central Hall Westminster 
Storey’s Gate 

You can get there by London Underground, Rail services and London bus services. If driving, please be aware that the venue is within the London Congestion Charge Zone and that ULEZ and LEZ operate 24 hours a day every day. Public car parks nearby are located in Abingdon Street, Horseferry Road, Rochester Row, Semley Place, Tothill Street and Matthew Parker Street. There are also electric vehicle charging point nearby. Please visit the Central Hall Westminster page for more details.  

Accommodation arrangements are made independently from the College. The venue has a list of recommended accommodation options available

You should contact the College as soon as possible at

Please arrive at Central Hall at 11am to allow sufficient time to register, collect your gown, and have your official photograph/s taken.

The ceremony starts at 2pm.

The Ceremony will last two hours and is followed by a reception, during which there is the opportunity to meet senior representatives from the profession and the College.  Guests can enjoy soft drinks or a glass of wine at the reception. 

You MUST ensure that you arrive at Central Hall by 1.15pm, 45 minutes before the ceremony commences. Anyone arriving later than the specified time will not be permitted into the ceremonial hall.

There is no charge for the Ceremony and the reception for you or your two guests.

Unfortunately not. We have limited the number of attendees at the ceremony for ease of movement through the building and building capacities.

You will receive the details for accessing the live stream with the final email.

Further information

If you have any queries, please contact Maya Sapir, Events Manager, at the College of Optometrists on 020 7766 4397 or email