Types of Graduation Gowns

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Types of Graduation Gowns
A cap and gown are trademarks of a graduation ceremony. (Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)

A graduation ceremony recognises and honours students for successfully completing an academic program. Graduation gowns are a key factor in signifying the pomp and circumstance of such a monumental achievement. While all graduation ceremonies end with students being awarded their hard-earned diplomas, the style of gown is determined by the type of degree or academic program a student has just completed.

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High School Gowns

Graduation gowns for a high school ceremony are generally basic. These gowns should be in the high school's main school colour. The finish of the gown can be either shiny or matt. High school graduation gowns do not require any type of hood or collar. Appropriate chords for honour students can be worn with the gown. There are no special requirements for the style of sleeve for a high school graduation gown.

Bachelor's Degree Gowns

Although most colleges require black gowns for students graduating with a bachelor's degree, it is important to check your school's policy before ordering your gown. Bachelor's gowns are similar to the style of a high school gradation gown. These simple gowns have no hoods or collars, and the sleeves end at the wrist. If earned, these gowns can be adorned with honour chords or stoles.

Master's Degree Gowns

Students who are graduating from a master's program have specific requirements for their gowns. These black gowns should come with hoods. Reference your school's policy on their hood design requirements. The gown should have fluting across the front panel of the shoulders that reaches to the back of the gown. The sleeves of a master's graduation gown reach from the wrist, at the front of the sleeve and drop to the mid-thigh.

Doctoral Graduation Gowns

Doctoral robes are the most elaborate among graduation gowns. These gowns have velvet panels that go around the neckline and drape down the gown's front. These panels are highlighted by either single or double rows of piping. The sleeves of a doctoral gown are full bells and also have three stripes of piped black fabric on the velvet panel. Doctoral graduation gowns are also designed with pocket slits for your hands.

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