Trends World wide - Graduation Academic Dress - 2006 Graduation Announcements and Graduation Accessories

Graduation accessories

As well as deriving from British academic dress, academic dress in the United States has been influenced by the academic dress traditions of continental Europe. There is an Inter-Collegiate code which sets out a detailed uniform scheme of academic dress, but not all colleges follow it.

Bachelors' and masters' gowns in the United States are similar to their counterparts in the United Kingdom, but the bachelors' gown is only worn closed.

Doctoral robes are typically black, although some schools use robes in the school's colors. In general, doctoral gowns are similar to the gowns worn by master's graduates, with the addition of velvet stripes across the sleeves and running down the front of the gown, tinted with the disciplinary color for the degree received. The robes have full sleeves trimmed with bands of velvet instead of the bell sleeves of the master's gown. Some gowns open more at the front to display a tie or cravat, while others take an almost cape-like form.

In the US, academic dress is rarely worn outside commencement ceremonies. In many American schools, the color of the hood represents the school or department that the wearer is graduating from. A number of other items, cords or sashes, may be also seen worn, representing various academic achievements.

The tassel worn on the mortarboard may indicate the university's colors, or the colors of the specific college or discipline from which the student is graduating. There is in some universities a practice of moving the tassel from one side to the other on graduating, but this is a modern innovation which would be impractical out of doors due to the vagaries of the wind. However, this mark of transition to graduate status has the benefit of taking less time than more traditional indicators such as the conferring of the hood (which is done at some Scottish universities), or a complete change of dress partway through the ceremony (as at Oxford).

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