How to Buy a Cap, Gown & Hood for a PhD

Written by amanda courtney
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How to Buy a Cap, Gown & Hood for a PhD
PhD caps and gowns come in a variety of styles, depending on the university you attend. (university graduate in robes image by Gina Smith from

A PhD commencement ceremony can be a sentimental and jubilant time. With a bit of research and attention to detail--from the materials used to the colours of your degree program--you can buy the cap, gown and hood that are right for you.

Dress Code Policies

Research your university's policies and dress codes regarding commencement exercises. Some schools may encourage degree candidates to wear full commencement dress, while others may encourage their students to renounce formal academic wear. This can also let you know the university's individual policies regarding commencement exercises and academic wear.

Standards and Traditions

Research the standards and traditions associated with doctoral gowns, hoods and caps. Look at the materials used, colours assigned to subject or degree matter and other pertinent details. This ensures that you will not purchase inaccurate or incorrect academic wear. Identify the colours and materials you will need based on your college and degree program.

Finding a Vendor

Find the graduation and commencement supplier that your school uses. Often, a college or university will channel all cap and gown purchases, as well as other commencement-related purchases, through one supplier. Your school may or may not allow you to use a different supplier.

Paperwork and Fees

Ask your adviser or a school employee when you need to purchase your cap and gown. Suppliers sanctioned by the school will usually meet all school deadlines, but a third party chosen by you might not be able to make that guarantee. Be sure to ask about any fees you may need to pay or paperwork you might have to submit.

Purchasing the Cap, Gown and Hood

Order the cap, gown and hood that represent your degree program. The bars of velvet on each sleeve of the gown, as well as the majority of the hood, will be a colour that corresponds to your program. Use the supplier and forms provided by your college, or use a reputable supplier with a history of positive selling experiences. Research the suppliers through the Better Business Bureau or ask the graduate coordinator at your college to recommend a vendor.

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