Student wearing academic dress during 2018 Commencement ceremony

Academic Dress (Regalia)

Academic dress at GW varies by the degree type but there are several key pieces that you will see throughout Commencement Week.

Graduates earning a bachelor's or master's degree wear custom navy caps with blue tassels. Doctoral graduates wear caps that are often made of soft material like velvet and are not usually the conventional mortarboard shape.


Student with a decorated cap during 2018 Commencement

Decorated academic cap with words saying I feel like such a B A with this degree

All graduates earning bachelor's or master's degrees wear custom navy gowns with the GW logo embroidered on the right sleeve. The bachelor's and master's gowns are two different styles that by tradition are easily recognized. The bachelor's gowns have pointed sleeves and the master's gown have oblong shaped sleeves with wrist openings. The back of the sleeve extensions is cut square, while the front edges have a curved finish for a more refined look. Doctoral graduates from GW wear a custom navy gown with black velvet panels and chevrons. Faculty will usually wear a black gown but may wear theirs from the university where their degree was conferred. Usually, it is also black, but sometimes it may be the color of that school.

Academic fields may be indicated with their traditional color through the velvet of doctoral gowns: three two-inch bars on the sleeves and a five-inch border extending from the back of the neck down both sides on the front of the gown. These colors are consistent with those in the hood.

Law students wearing academic regalia during 2018 Commencement

The most significant piece of the academic costume is the hood, which includes a velvet border and a satin lining. The velvet border indicates the field of study that the graduates earned their degree in and the color of the satin lining represents GW colors. Master's and doctoral graduates' hoods differ in size and shape, with the doctoral hood being the largest, followed by the master's hood.


Group of graduates in different examples of regalia during the 2018 Commencement ceremony

Military students or veterans can wear their military uniforms in lieu of academic regalia at Commencement on the National Mall, their school or other ceremonies.

Graduates in military formal wear during 2018 Commencement ceremony

Traditionally, academic fields are represented by specific colors at universities across the country and the world, including at GW.

  • Arts, letters and humanities - white
  • Commerce, accountancy & business - drab
  • Education - light blue
  • Engineering - orange
  • Fine arts, including architecture - brown
  • Health administration - kelly green
  • Law (JD, LLD, LLB) - purple
  • Medicine - green
  • Nursing - apricot
  • Philosophy - dark blue
  • Physical education - sage green
  • Public administration, including foreign service - peacock blue
  • Public health - salmon
  • Science - golden yellow

Graduates wearing typical undergraduate academic regalia during 2018 Commencement ceremony

Ordering Regalia

Bachelor's or Master's Regalia

Remember, rentals are not available for bachelor's or master's candidates. Herff Jones has waived all shipping charges. 

  • Order regalia online until September 1, 2020.

Doctoral Regalia Custom Purchase

Custom doctoral regalia purchases take approximately six weeks from the time of purchase for manufacturing and shipping. Alternatively, standard doctoral regalia can be rented without this lead time.

  • Order regalia online (direct ship to home)

Doctoral Regalia Rental

Rental includes SMHS-Health Sciences and M.D.

  • Order regalia online (direct ship to home) until July 1st, 2020. Herff Jones has waived all shipping charges.

J.D. Regalia
GW Law students may rent regalia at no cost to them. If you are interested in receiving regalia, email [email protected] with your name, height, weight (less than 200 lbs or more than 200 lbs), hat size, degree whether J.D., L.L.M., M.S.L., S.J.D., and your address where regalia should be sent. The regalia will be shipped to the address you provide and a shipping label will be provided for you to return the regalia. 

Regalia Reimbursement 
Herff Jones will refund your purchase up until the original ceremony date. If you choose to return your cap and gown (including tassel, stole, hood or cords), you can do so by visiting the College Regalia Returns page. If you ordered a Herff Jones Personalized Graduation Package,  which included a diploma frame, Herff Jones will contact you for your shipping address and ship it to you at no additional cost.

For additional information, please contact the Herff Jones customer service team at 1-800-837-4235. 

Regalia Purchase and Rental Costs*

Bachelor's Gown & Cap with Tassel
Master's Gown, Hood & Cap with Tassel
Doctoral Gown & Tam without Hood - Rental 
Doctoral Gown, Tam & Hood - Rental  $154.00
Doctoral Gown - Custom Purchase $850.70
Doctoral Hood - Custom Purchase $157.00
Doctoral Tam - Custom Purchase $136.00
GW Custom Stole $29.00
Souvenir Tassel $10.00
SMHS - M.D. (Gown, Hood & Tam with Gold Tassel) - Rental
Law - Rental
Contact Law School directly 202-994-6288
* Prices are subject to change.