Regalia Wear: The Code of Academic Costume

An 1894 conference of representatives of leading American institutions
adopted a uniform code of academic dress. The code was revised by the
American Council on Education in 1932 and again in 1959.


Black gowns recommended for use have certain characteristics. The
bachelor’s degree gown has pointed sleeves, the master’s degree oblong
sleeves and the doctor’s degree gown has bell-shaped sleeves. The
bachelor and master gowns have no trimmings. The doctor’s degree gown
is faced down the front with black velvet with three bars of the same across
the sleeves. The velvet may be the color distinction of the subject to which
the degree pertains, agreeing in color with the edging of the hood.
For all academic purposes, including trimmings of doctor’s gowns, edging
of hoods and tassels of caps, colors associated with different subjects are:
Agriculture, Maize; Arts, Letters, Humanities, White; Commerce, Accountancy,
Business, Drab; Economics, Copper; Education, Light Blue; Fine
Arts, Brown; Journalism, Crimson; Law, Purple; Library Science, Lemon;
Music, Pink; Nursing, Apricot; Speech, Silver Gray; Philosophy, Dark Blue;
Physical Education, Sage Green; Public Administration, Peacock Blue;
Public Health, Salmon Pink; Science, Golden Yellow; Social Work, Citron;
Theology, Scarlet.

The bachelor’s degree hood length is three feet, the master’s degree is
three and one-half feet; and the doctor’s degree is four feet. The hood for
the latter has panels at the side. The hoods are lined with the official color
or colors of the college or university which conferred the degree; more
than one color is shown by the division of the field color.

The hood binding or edging is velvet or velveteen, in widths of two,
three and five inches for the bachelor’s, master’s, and doctor’s degree
respectively. The color of the edging should be distinctive of the subject to
which the degree pertains. The black academic cap is usually shaped like
a mortar board. The tassel is black or the color appropriate to the subject
to which the degree pertains. The only exception is the doctor’s cap which
may have its tassel of gold thread.
(Prepared by Louis E. Schmier, Professor of History)