Academic Apparel at Duke

The complete academic costume for all graduates includes a tassel, cap, hood, and gown. You should wear the full academic apparel to commencement, but should not wear the hood at the baccalaureate service. The style and color of your academic apparel depend on the degree you will receive at commencement (refer to Hood and Tassel Colors). For example, if you will graduate with a Bachelor of Arts degree, you would wear a navy bachelor’s gown, hood with white trim, mortarboard, and black tassel.


The apparel order deadline for students is March 1, 2024. If you are a doctoral student that intends to purchase your apparel, the deadline to purchase is February 16, 2024 and can be done so by contacting Jeffrey Kahlmeyer in Duke Stores at 919-684-0060. Complete this form to register for the university-wide commencement ceremony and order your academic regalia.


Bachelor’s, Trinity Bachelor’s, Pratt
Rent or Purchase Option? Purchase Only Purchase Only
Tam or Mortarboard? Mortarboard Mortarboard
Tassel Color Black Orange
Gown Navy Bachelor’s Gown Navy Bachelor’s Gown
Hood Color Depends on degree Orange
Cost of Complete Apparel $65 + tax $65 + tax


Master’s Doctoral PhD All Law Degrees
Rent or Purchase Option? Purchase Only Rental or Purchase Rental or Purchase Rental or Purchase
Tam or Mortarboard? Mortarboard Velvet Tam Velvet Tam Tam
Tassel Color Depends on Degree Depends on Degree Gold Purple
Gown Navy Master’s Gown Black Doctoral Gown with Colored Velvet Trim Custom Duke Blue Black Doctoral with Purple Velvet Trim
Hood Color Depends on Degree Depends on Degree Dark Blue Purple Trim
Cost of Complete Apparel $70 + Tax $75 + Tax for Rental $75 + Tax for Rental, Approximately $850 for Purchase $75+ Tax for Rental

Apparel Pickup

You may pick up your apparel during the following dates and times. Please note, that apparel pickup will be closed on Sunday, May 5.

Apparel pickup
(located in the Bryan Center, Brown Gallery)
Monday, April 29 – Saturday, May 4 9 AM – 5 PM
Sunday, May 5 Closed
Monday, May 6 – Saturday, May 11 9 AM – 5 PM

Graduate Rental Returns

 Apparel Returns
(located in the Bryan Center, Brown Gallery)
 Sunday, May 12  9 AM – 5 PM
Monday, May 13  9 AM – 5 PM
 Tuesday, May 14  9 AM – 5 PM

Protocol and Fit


The graduation gown should fall midway between the knee and ankle.


There are different styles and colors of hoods. At the commencement ceremony, you should wear the hood that corresponds to the degree you are receiving. If you have earned both a terminal degree and a master’s degree (a Juris Doctor and a Master of Public Policy, for example) during the same semester, march wearing the gown and hood of the highest degree and drape the other hood over your left arm.

Caps, Tams, and Tassels

Traditionally, women wear academic caps at all times, and men remove their caps during the National Anthem and opening invocation and replace them for the conferring of degrees. There is no hard rule for the position of the tassel on a mortarboard. Several institutions have adopted the practice, during commencement exercises, of requiring candidates for degrees to wear the tassels on the right front side before degrees are conferred and to shift them to the left at the moment when degrees are awarded to them.


The university is happy to consider proposals for any adornment to the commencement gown that is related to academic merit. Nonacademic adornments are not approved by the university. All adornments should be in good taste and fitting for a ceremonial occasion. Please email the Office of Special Events & University Ceremonies if you have questions on what is considered appropriate.

Hood and Tassel Colors

Degree Hood and Tassel Color
Doctor of Philosophy Dark Blue
Master of Science Yellow
Master of Arts White
Master of Fine Arts Brown
Doctor of Medicine Green
Doctor of Physical Therapy Teal
Doctor of Occupational Therapy Rhodes Blue
Medicine, Master’s Programs Yellow
Law Purple
Divinity Scarlet
Nursing Apricot
Fuqua Drab
Nicholas Russet
Sanford White
Pratt Orange
Trinity, Bachelor of Arts White and Black
Trinity, Bachelor of Science Yellow and Black