What is the Difference Between Undergraduate and Graduate Cap and Gown?

The difference between an undergraduate and graduate cap and gown can be confusing. The first thing to know is that academic regalia is different for each degree. In addition, color, trim, and size will vary depending on the degree. Fortunately, you can follow a few guidelines for cap and gown and many more graduation products.

Academic regalia varies according to the degree conferred.

Academic regalia, also known as a cap and gown, differs according to the type of degree conferred and the level of scholarship. Bachelor’s robes are simple, while master’s cloaks are more elaborate, featuring three stripes along the arms and a hood. Each of these robes has its unique color scheme, and some universities offer multiple colors to match each individual’s school’s colors.

Student honor cords may be awarded to academic programs or members of honor societies. However, honor cords are sometimes replaced by sashes, stoles, or medallions. Graduates of bachelor’s degrees do not always wear the hood. Some colleges and universities allow students to wear honor cords with cap and gown.

Level of scholarship

The USC Town and Gown of USC offers a merit-based program that awards scholarships up to $1700,000. The scholarship covers tuition only, but applicants must meet specific criteria. For example, they must be a U.S. citizen and a permanent resident of Southern California (within the border counties of Kern and California/Mexico).

The academic regalia for undergraduates, also called cap and gown, differ depending on the type of degree, and scholarship received. The bachelor’s robe is typically the simplest, while the master’s gown has long sleeves. Doctoral regalia is the most elaborate, usually made of velvet, with three stripes on the arms and a hood. The differences between undergraduate and graduate cap and gowns are most pronounced for higher education graduates.

Color of trim

The color of the hood and tassel on a graduate or undergraduate cap and gown will depend on the graduate’s degree. According to the American Council of Education, specific colors are acceptable for academic apparel. You can refer to the color schemes outlined below for a basic idea. 

Undergraduate and graduate caps and gowns are commonly made of gold, black, or other colors. At the University of Central Oklahoma, students may receive either gold or blue velvet hoods. The color of the hood indicates the field of study of the scholar. Graduates will receive a golden yellow or blue velvet hood, respectively. While the school often determines the hood colors, other criteria are based on the type of degree.

A graduate cap and gown should have a velveteen binding and a three to five inches wide hood. The hood trim is usually the same color or in a color pattern that indicates the subject of study or degree. For example, if you received a Master’s degree in Agriculture, the hood’s trim would be maize and represent agriculture. Consult the program coordinator if the graduate cap and gown have different colors.

Size of hood

In undergraduate and graduate cap and gowns, the size of the hood can be different from that of the graduates. Historically, hoods were made of washable satins, but the fabric has changed significantly over the past few decades. For example, while velveteen hoods were once standard, now they are made of acetate, which must be dry cleaned. Additionally, some hoods are souvenir-quality, meaning that the graduates will keep them after graduation.

Academic hoods are made of a velveteen fabric or velvet edge and should measure about three to five inches in diameter. The hood should also have trim in the same color as the subject or degree the student is obtaining. For example, if the graduate is earning a Master’s degree in agriculture, the trim will be maize, representing the field of study. Doctoral hoods are even more prominent, typically spanning at least four feet.