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All graduating students (Undergraduate and Advanced Degrees) are required to wear a cap and gown during the main Commencement ceremony. The Stanford Bookstore will offer rental gowns and hoods (caps will be purchased by the graduates) and other Commencement items, which students or families can order online. Beginning in February you may place your orders online at


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 on a mortarboard. Some institutions require undergraduate candidates for degrees 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. 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 his degree. A number of American universities now also have doctoral robes, which are invariably of some color other than black. Stanford doctoral robes are red and black with particolored sleeves lines with a color indicating the scholarly discipline of the wearer. The robe is worn with a specifically designed hood and velvet academic bonnet.


The color or colors in the lining are those of the college or university 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. In order to assist in the identification of academic costume, the colors associated with various subjects are listed below:

  • 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