What Does the Graduation Hood Symbolize?

Upon completing their degree program, graduates receive a graduation hood in the color of choice. Some schools use gold, pink, or light blue velvet for Ph.D. holders. The lining of a Ph.D. hood will be satin, with the school’s colors embroidered on the lining. We’ll explore the history and significance of each color.


Graduate students receive a graduation hood during a hooding ceremony. It’s a triangular fold of cloth worn over the back of a graduate’s gown. It reflects the graduate’s field of study and is often decorated with adornments. Graduates in academic honors receive unique adornments, such as a gold ribbon and seal of NDSU.

Penn state caps & gowns and hoods come in many colors and shapes. For example, the hood of a master’s degree will be rounded, and the color will be red or purple, depending on the school. Graduate hoods are generally painted in the color of the graduate’s degree. A Doctorate is the highest level of education. A Bachelor’s degree is the second-highest level of education. An associate’s degree is the lowest level of education. Use the color of the most recent degree.

Graduates in graduate programs will wear a doctoral hood during the hooding ceremony. The hood will be placed on the graduate by a faculty member. This honor signifies the completion of the graduate program. Graduate students will wear different colors of graduation robes depending on their majors and their level of academic achievement. In addition, the hood may have an emblem that represents their school or degree. If you’re attending a graduation ceremony, consider bringing comfortable shoes.


There are a few things to keep in mind when choosing the color of your graduation hood. First, you should use the color that best reflects your degree. This is usually the color of the hood’s trim, which should be two to three inches wide, and about five inches long. In addition, the color should represent the subject or degree that you obtained. For example, if you have a Master of Science in Education, the trim should be light blue, representing both education and science. However, if you have received an Associate’s degree, you can use the trim color of the hood that represents the field of study.

The hood’s edging should match the degree that the student is achieving. For example, graduates of an Associate of Arts degree do not wear a hood, while Master’s degree students wear a white cap and gown with three gold bars across the sleeves. Graduates who earn a doctorate should wear a hood in a color that matches the school’s colors. The Committee on Academic Costumes and Ceremonies offers recommendations on graduation hood colors for different disciplines.


The hood is a traditional part of the academic procession. Its significance dates back to the medieval period when students were often clergy. In addition to its religious symbolism, the hood is also used to distinguish graduates from laypeople. The first universities to start officiating graduation ceremonies were in the English-speaking continent, specifically Oxford and Cambridge. In 1321, these schools banned the wearing of excessive apparel and required all students to wear long gowns during graduation ceremonies.

Graduation robes and hoods are associated with academic dress. They date back to the middle ages when academics began to wear distinctive regalia. Clergy founded the first universities. They required students to wear long gowns and hoods, and professors wore hoods to distinguish their status. In addition, the hoods provided added warmth to unheated buildings. Eventually, the hoods became synonymous with graduation.


The colors of graduation hoods are determined by the degree students receive. Therefore, the color of the hood will be dependent on the type of degree students have obtained. For example, students with associate and bachelor’s degrees should wear a gray hood with blue trim, while those with doctorate degrees should wear a purple hood with gold trim. To determine the appropriate color for their hood, they should consult the college or university’s guidelines.

The colors used to represent different degrees vary depending on the institution. In America, shades associated with nursing and education are used for graduation. Most colleges and universities have adopted the Academic Costume Code (ACEC) as their standard, though some institutions may have their colors. A list of colors for different degrees can be found here. While the school determines the colors of graduation hoods, you should consult the College or University’s guidelines when choosing a hood for your commencement.

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