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Regalia (Cap and Gown)


*Please review the University’s Adornment Policy as it relates to regalia (cap and gown) during Commencement.

PICK UP – located at the Barnes & Noble at Vanderbilt (upper level)
Wednesday, May 6th, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Thursday, May 7th, from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

RETURN – located at the Barnes & Noble at Vanderbilt
Friday, May 8th, by 3 p.m.
Bachelors keep or recycle gown, keep tassel and cap for souvenir. Masters keep tassel and cap, return hood and gown. All Doctors return gown, tam with tassel and hood.

Bachelor’s degree candidates wear black mortar boards. With the exception of the bachelor of arts degree, the tassel colors correspond to the degree offered. Traditionally, the bachelor of arts degree tassel color at Vanderbilt is black (not white).

The design of the academic regalia (cap and gown) and the colors worn are significant. The distinguishing mark of the gown is the sleeve:

  • Bachelor — long pointed sleeve
  • Master — an oblong sleeve open at the wrist
  • Doctor — bell-shaped sleeve with three velvet bars

The velvet edging on the doctoral hoods signifies whether the degree is J.D., M.D., Ed.D. or Ph.D. — purple for law, green for medicine, light blue for education and dark blue for the doctor of philosophy, which may be earned in a number of subjects. Vanderbilt doctoral candidates wear eight-sided velvet tams with gold tassels.

Master’s hoods are edged with white for arts, golden yellow for science, peacock blue for public policy, salmon pink for public health, red for theology, light blue for education, orange for engineering, apricot for nursing, and light brown for business. Master’s candidates wear black mortar boards with the appropriate color tassel as listed above.

All hoods are lined in silk, colors signifying the institution granting the degree. Vanderbilt hoods are lined in gold and bear a black chevron.

Vanderbilt Apparel

(Click on the thumbnail images of the apparel to view full size photos)


The Vanderbilt Bachelor gown showcases the traditional characteristics of an academic gown but with the added branding of Vanderbilt University.  The gown uses full front pleats, balanced fluting and an easily accessible zipper.  Your Vanderbilt bachelor gown, mortarboard cap, and degree color tassel is yours to keep or you can recycle it following the ceremony.




The Master gown features traditional tailoring which includes oblong shaped sleeves, closed at the bottom with a wrist opening, and Vanderbilt branding.  Master gowns are worn with degree color tassels and a mortarboard cap.  Master students complement their gown by wearing a master degree hood.  Graduates keep the cap and tassel following the ceremony and the gown and hood are rentals that are to be returned.


Doctor – all other

The Doctor gown features velvet chevrons on each of the bell sleeves and velvet on the front panels with the Vanderbilt logo.  Doctor gowns are to be worn with Doctoral degree hoods.  Tams are worn by Doctoral graduates with a non-removable gold silky tassel.  Doctoral regalia sets are rental and all parts need to be returned following the ceremony.


Doctor – Ph.D.

The Vanderbilt University Ph.D. gown represents academic tailoring at its very best.  Fine pleating frames the velvet panels from the hemline, up over the shoulders, to a point in the center back of yoke, where it is finished with fancy cording.  The Vanderbilt gown features a zipper closure and fully lined bell sleeves, ending in a cuff at the wrist.  A pocket slit is also added to allow access to clothing beneath the robe.  The gown is Antique Gold crepe; a two-way textured polyester with a stain resistant finish and excellent draping and wrinkle resistant qualities.  Black velvet panels and chevrons are outlined in antique gold cording and the front velvet panels are embroidered with the Vanderbilt mark.  PhD gowns are to be worn with degree hoods and tams are worn with a non removable gold silky tassel.  The entire PhD regalia set can be rented or purchased.

Front  PHD

Back  PHD

Degrees Offered and Tassel/Hood Colors

School Degree Offered Degree Abbreviation Tassel Color Hood Color Tam
College of Arts & Science Bachelor of Arts B.A. Black    
Blair School of Music Bachelor of Music B.Mus. Pink    
Divinity School Master of Theological Studies M.T.S. Red Red  
  Master of Divinity M.Div. Red Red  
School of Engineering Bachelor of Engineering B.E. Orange    
  Bachelor of Science B.S. Gold    
  Master of Engineering M.Eng. Orange Orange  
Graduate School Master of Arts M.A. White White  
  Master of Arts in Teaching M.A.T. White White  
  Master of Fine Arts M.F.A. Brown Brown  
  Master of Liberal Arts and Science M.L.A.S. White White  
  Master of Science M.S. Gold Gold  
  Doctor of Philosophy Ph.D. Doctor Gold Dark Blue
Law School Doctor of Jurisprudence J.D. Doctor Gold Purple   
  Master of Laws LL.M. Purple Purple  
School of Medicine Doctor of Medicine M.D. Doctor Gold Green
  Master of Public Health M.P.H. Salmon Salmon  
  Master of Science in Clinical Investigation M.S. Gold Gold  
  Doctor of Audiology AU.D. Doctor Gold Green
  Master of Science (Speech-Language Pathology) M.S.S.L.P. Gold Gold  
  Doctor of Medical Physics M.P.D. Doctor Gold  Green
  Master of Science in Medical Physics M.M.P. Gold Gold  
  Master of Science in Laboratory Investigation M.L.I. Gold Gold  
  Master of Education of the Deaf M.D.E. Gold Gold  
  Master of Health Professions Education M.H.E. Gold Gold  
School of Nursing Master of Science in Nursing M.S.N. Apricot Apricot  
  Doctor of Nursing Practice D.N.P. Doctor Gold Apricot
Owen Graduate School of Management Master of Business Administration M.B.A. Drab Drab  
  Master of Science in Finance M.S.F. Gold Gold  
  Master of Accountancy M.Acct Drab Drab  
  Master of Management in Health Care M.M.H.C Drab Drab  
Peabody College Bachelor of Science B.S. Gold    
  Master of Education M.Ed. Light Blue Light Blue  
  Master of Public Policy M.P.P. Peacock Blue Peacock Blue  
  Doctor of Education Ed.D. Doctor Gold Light Blue

* Degrees are awarded through the Graduate School, but are listed under both the Grad School and specific school.
* All Vanderbilt Doctors wear tams with Gold silk doctoral tassels attached 

Rent your regalia (cap and gown) online »

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Future Commencement Dates

 2016  -  May 11, 12, 13
 2017  -  May 10, 11, 12
 2018  -  May 9, 10, 11
 2019  -  May 8, 9, 10

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