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How to wear a Masters graduation gown and hood

Graduation ceremonies are recognised worldwide as the day a student proudly takes to the stage, adorned in the well-known and respected academic dress to collect the long anticipated degree.

The iconic graduation gowns and long draping hoods, all in different colours and designs, are a truly magnificent sight as thousands of students parade through the university with their hopes and dreams finally realised.

When did academic dress originate?

Academic dress has gone through some minor practical changes over the years, since it originated in the mediaeval times.

The ancient universities of Europe began as communities of scholars and teachers who were associated with religious institutions, such as monasteries and cathedrals.

The robes that the students at these universities wore were a distinctive mark of the rank and profession of the wearer.

Inevitably, over time, as rules and fashions changed, universities retained the iconic gown as part of the academic dress we see today, and rather than being limited to certain professions, which had historically been deemed as the most worthy, the gown has now become a garment that all students have the right to wear on completion of their degree.

Are all the gowns and hoods the same?

Each gown and hood represents the type of degree collected and the level of the award; each one is distinctive for its style and colouring. The 3 different gowns are the Bachelors, Masters, or Doctorate and are available to hire from Shepherd and Woodward in our standard fit, or to purchase in bespoke sizing if required. A student may also choose between a square cap or soft cap to complete the graduation outfit.

What does a Masters gown and hood look like?

All Masters gowns are a full style, black design, with long draping hoods, which differ in colour or trim according to the level of degree awarded.

The MA (Master of Arts) gown differs slightly from the others in that it has a full gathered yoke behind, closed sleeves, with a crescent-shaped cut at the bottom and an opening at the elbow.

The MA hood, available in art-silk or polyester, is lined with crimson satin or shot crimson art-silk. It comes in two shapes, either the larger Dean Burgon (named after the 19th century academic and divine at Oxford) or the smaller Oxford simple shape.

All other Masters gowns are black art-silk or polyester, trimmed with black Oxford lace around the collar, lower part of the back and down the sleeves. The sleeves are closed and cut straight with an opening just above the elbow.

The hoods are all unique, and, listed below, is a brief description of each hood and its distinctive colours.

Please feel free to visit our store to find the correct gown, hood and cap in readiness for the celebration of your tremendous achievements, and our team of experienced staff will be eager to assist you.

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