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.


See Pricing, Purchase and Rental Information


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


Law students wearing academic regalia during 2018 Commencement



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.


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


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


Military Dress

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.


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 in military formal wear during 2018 Commencement ceremony


Graduates wearing typical undergraduate academic regalia during 2018 Commencement ceremony



Regalia (Cap and Gown) Pre-order, Purchase and Rental Information

Regalia can be purchased at Grad Fair 2020: March 31-April 2 at the GW Campus Store. Stay tuned for more details. Doctoral candidates can purchase custom regalia at the Doctoral Days 2019: November 13 & 14 and at the Doctoral Days 2020: February 19 & 20. Stay tuned for more details and other opportunities where you will be able to purchase or rent regalia.

Wear your regalia to Commencement on the National Mall, school celebrations and individual recognition ceremonies, such as Phi Beta Kappa Induction Ceremony. You can keep your regalia unless you are a J.D. graduate or have rented it. 

J.D. candidates should visit GW Law for information about regalia.


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.

Watch: We asked the Class of 2018 what song is on your mind at Commencement... And then we made them sing it.