How To Wear Your Graduation GownApril 20, 2023

1. Your graduation gown may be a bachelor or masters gown. The graduation gown is simply worn like a coat.

2. Your academic hood or stole are also known as graduation colours. These are worn over your shoulders.

3. Your headwear is a mortar board, also known as a trencher or graduation cap. Basically, this is your graduation hat.

Bachelor and Master Graduation Gowns

Depending on your level of award, you may be wearing either a bachelor style gown, or a master style gown.

The bachelor gown has bell-shape sleeves that are about the length of your arms. You simply put your hands through the open end of the sleeves. Sometimes there may be an upper opening in the sleeve seam where you put your arms through. A bachelor gown is worn by graduates of bachelor degrees, diploma and certificate recipients.

The master graduation gown has full length sleeves that extend the length of your robe. These sleeves are closed at the end, but have an opening midway for your arms. You can see in our photograph above where this sleeve opening is on a master gown.

Most Australian universities prescribe black graduation gowns, though some universities have other coloured robes.

Purchase your bachelor graduation gown

Purchase your masters graduation gown

Graduation Colors? Academic Hoods and Stoles

The design and colour of these academic garments are specific to your university or school, your level of award and area of study.

So the academic hood, graduation stole or sash signifies where you studied and what you have achieved.

Therefore, there are many, many variations to the colour and design of academic hoods and graduation stoles, not only across Australia but throughout the world.

An academic hood is like a present-day ‘hoodie’. It is worn over your shoulders and drapes down your back.

A graduation stole is also worn over your shoulders, but the lengths of colour drape down your front and sit either side of your chest.

A graduation sash is simply another term people will use to describe either an academic hood or graduation stole.

See our variety of Australian made academic hoods and graduation stoles

How Do I Wear My Academic Hood?

Step 1

Simply hold the hood out flat in front of you like in our images below to find out.

With either style of hood, there will be a v-shape opening with a button loop at one end.

Step 2

Open the hood out so that the internal lining shows and have this v-shape and button loop pointing downwards as in images below. This is the opening that will sit around your neck.

Step 3

Then simply place this opening over your head. Again, keep the v-shape pointing downward.

Step 4

Pull the v-shape down your chest.

Step 5

Now fix the button loop to your clothing. Sometimes fixing the button loop to your clothing can be tricky, so you may need to ask for a little help!

Step 6

If you are not wearing a buttoned shirt or blouse, be careful to not damage your clothing if pinning. Avoid pinning the hood to the gown. Wear the gown open at front.

For gents, wearing a tie is ideal as it can cover the fixing. Ladies, try wearing a button shirt or blouse or clothing that will not be damaged with pins. A brooch or similar can help conceal the fixing.

Step 7

Now let’s check out the back-side of the hood. Just some of the colour needs to be showing. The hood should naturally drape down your back.


How To Wear A Graduation Cap - A Mortar Board or Trencher Hat

The crown or cap part of the mortar board needs to fit snug over your head.


Find the longer or deeper part of the cap. The long end goes to the back of your head, and the short part goes to the front of your head.

There should be a centre back part of the cap, which goes to the centre back of your head.



Once you have placed the cap over your head, typically you would wear the square part flat.

The side of your head that the tassel should drape is determined by your university.

All done – you’re set to go enjoy your graduation!


It’s worth noting that every university will have variations to the wearing of academic dress.
Check with your graduations department to confirm!