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Faculty and staff in colorful Commencement regalia.


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Graduating students (Undergraduate and Advanced Degrees) traditionally wear a cap and gown during the main Commencement ceremony, though it is optional for virtual celebrations. The Stanford Bookstore offers rental gowns and hoods (caps will be purchased by the graduates), as well as custom regalia and other Commencement items for purchase.



The cap is the "mortarboard" type with black cloth cover. The gold tassel may be worn by holders of a doctor's degree.

There is no general rule for the position of the tassel. Some academic institutions require undergraduate candidates to wear the tassel on the right front side before degrees are conferred and to shift them to the left at the moment degrees are awarded. In some respects, this custom is a substitute for individual hooding.



The bachelor's, master's, and doctor's gowns differ slightly in pattern.

Only the doctor's gown bears trimmings. These are a velvet facing down the front and three velvet bars across each sleeve; the velvet may be black, or it may be the color appropriate to the subject in which the wearer holds a degree.

A number of universities now have doctoral robes. Stanford doctoral robes are red and black with particolored sleeves lined with a color indicating the scholarly discipline of the wearer. This robe is worn with a specially designed hood and velvet academic bonnet.


The colors in the lining are those of the academic institution which granted the degree (cardinal for Stanford). The binding or edging is the color of the faculty or subject in which the degree was granted.


Arts, Letters, Humanities - White
Business, Commerce, Accountancy - Drab
Communication, Journalism - Crimson
Economics - Copper
Education - Light Blue
Engineering - Orange
Fine Arts, including Architecture - Brown
Law - Purple
Medicine - Kelly Green
Music - Pink
Philosophy - Dark Blue
Science - Golden Yellow
Speech - Silver Grey
Theology - Scarlet