University Registrar's Office

Commencement Central

Academic Regalia

Academic costumes seem to have originated at the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge over 650 years ago, and to this date, the most colorful gowns in the world are those worn at Oxford functions. Williams College in the United States standardized academic regalia in the 1880s. In 1932, a revised Intercollegiate Code on Academic Regalia was presented by a committee appointed by the American Council on Education and only a few minor changes have been made since that date.


The Bachelor's gown is worn closed and is distinguished by its long, pointed sleeves. The Master's gown has a long sleeve, oblong in shape with an arc cut out at the bottom and the forearm protrudes through the slit at the elbow. The Doctor's gown is designed to be worn open but has a velvet panel draped around the neck and extending down the front. Three horizontal bars are stitched on the upper region of the bell shaped sleeves. The velvet trimming may be black or the color distinctive to the faculty to which the degree refers.


In the U.S., the hood is the most noticeable feature of the regalia. Its size and shape mark the degree of the wearer. The hood initially had three functions: as a covering for the head; as a cape; or when hanging from the shoulder, as a bag in which alms were collected. Hoods for American usage were lined with colored silk. The colors of the linings are indicative of the degree-granting institution, and the velvet trim indicates the degree awarded.


The colors of The University of North Carolina at Greensboro are gold, white, and blue, with gold and white used in the hood. The outside of the hood is black and bordered with velvet or velveteen to indicate the discipline. The degree, not the department in which the major work was done, governs the proper color of the border. Each of the colors used in the hood borders has historical association. Below is a list of the department or discipline colors:

Agriculture................................................................................................................... Maize
Arts, Letters, Humanities............................................................................................... White
Business Adm., Commercial Science................................................................................ Drab
Dentistry....................................................................................................................... Lilac
Economics................................................................................................................. Copper
Education, Pedagogy............................................................................................... Light Blue
Engineering............................................................................................................... Orange
Fine Arts, Architecture.................................................................................................. Brown
Forestry..................................................................................................................... Russet
Home Economics........................................................................................................ Maroon
Interior Architecture.............................................................................................. Blue Violet
Journalism........................................................................................................ Dark Crimson
Law............................................................................................................................ Purple
Library Science........................................................................................................... Lemon
Medicine...................................................................................................................... Green
Music............................................................................................................................. Pink
Nursing...................................................................................................................... Apricot
Oratory............................................................................................................... Silver Gray
Pharmacy..................................................................................................................... Olive
Philanthropy.................................................................................................................. Rose
Philosophy.................................................................................................................... Blue
Public Administration.......................................................................................... Peacock Blue
Public Health.............................................................................................................. Salmon
Physical Education............................................................................................... Sage Green
Science............................................................................................................ Golden Yellow
Social Service.............................................................................................................. Citron
Surgical Chiropody................................................................................................. Nile Green
Theology and Divinity.................................................................................................. Scarlet
Veterinary Medicine....................................................................................................... Gray

The cap is worn both indoors and out when gowns are used. The tassel is worn on the right until the first degree is conferred. It is then moved to the left front quarter and may be of color indicating the major field when worn by the undergraduate. The black or gold tassel is appropriate for the doctorate, and black or blue for the masters and undergraduates.