University of Minnesota, Crookston
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Academic Costume

UMC Commencement Academic Costume Main Photo

The caps and gowns worn by graduates and faculty are based on costumes used in universities of the 14th and 15th centuries, particularly at Oxford and Cambridge universities in England. This academic dress has been used in the United States from colonial times and was standardized by an 1895 Intercollegiate Code. Like the military of medieval times with its pages, squires, and knights, the academic world has long had three basic grades of dignity and achievement. These are undergraduates, bachelors, and masters (or doctors). The distinction between masters and doctors is comparatively recent; both imply the right to teach. Black is the most common color for academic gowns. There is no trimming on the gowns for the bachelor’s or master’s degrees. For the doctoral degree, the gown is faced down the front with black or colored velvet and with three bars of the same color across the sleeves. The color in the master’s costume is restricted to the hood worn around the neck and down the back. This is edged with velvet or a color which indicates the subject area of the degree received, and is lined with silk in the colors of the institution which granted the degree. Doctors have a larger and more open hood lined, like the master’s hood, with the colors of the degree-granting institution and trimmed with the color of the subject area of the degree received. Gowns have black or colored velvet on the sleeves and the front.

Adapted in part from American Universities and Colleges, 11th edition, Washington, American Council on Education, 1971.

UMC Commencement Academic Costume Students

Academic apparel is a commencement tradition at the University of Minnesota. The UMC Bookstore is your official campus graduation source; visit. All candidates for graduation are responsible for securing the following items:

Candidates for bachelor degrees wear:

  • the black bachelor gown
  • the traditional mortarboard cap
  • the appropriate tassel color


In keeping with the guidelines outlined in the internationally accepted Academic Costume Code, nothing else should be worn on the academic gown.



Undergraduate candidates wear the tassel on the right side of the cap. 

Bachelor degree tassel colors:

Agriculture & Natural Resources Maize
Business Drab
Liberal Arts & Education White
Math, Science & Technology Yellow Gold



Honor Cords

UMC Commencement Academic Costume Honors MedalOfficial University of Minnesota honor cords denoting graduation with Distinction and High Distinction, distributed through the Registrar's Office, are the only enhancements to the traditional regalia that have been approved by the University for commencement ceremonies.  



2016 Commencement  

Saturday, May 7, 2016
11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Pre-Commencement Reception
Northern Lights Lounge, Sargeant Student Center

All friends and family are invited to both the reception
and ceremony.

2:00 p.m.
Lysaker Gymnasium, Sports Center

The doors to Lysaker Gymnasium
will open at approximately 1:00 p.m.

More about
2016 Commencement >>>




Commencement Instructions For:

StudentsUMC Notes Icon PDF Icon

Faculty & Staff PDF Icon




Grad Fest

This is a "one stop" event where you can purchase your cap and gown, graduation announcements, diploma frames, check your graduation status, receive financial aid loan exit information, register for job placement services, and learn about the Alumni Association graduation events.

April 6, 2016
8:30 am - 2:30 pm
International Lounge, Sargeant Student Center

Learn more >>>

 Almost Alumni 2016