Official Degree Color Chart

A rectangular, black velvet hood with a red field and white chevron worn by a person also wearing a Phd Red Robe with black bars on the sleeves.

This Academic Hood Colors List serves an important function for your set of graduation Academic Regalia (hood, tam, and gown). 

The regalia hood colors typically include four sections: shell fabric, velvet edge, satin field, and satin chevron. The color of the velvet edge is determined using this official degree color chart. That velvet edge hood color, sometimes known as Academic Regalia Inter-Collegiate Colors, represents your specific degree or discipline. The satin field and chevron (the hood lining colors) represent your university or college school colors. The overall size and shape represents the type of degree: bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral (with the narrow end getting progressively longer with the higher ranking degrees). Finally, the fabric shell color simply matches the fabric color of the graduation gown, which is usually black but sometimes is another color depending on the degree-granting institution. Associate degrees use a special cowl instead of a hood.

Below is the official academic regalia hood color list. Your academic hood colors are ultimately the decision of your degree-granting institution and you. However, these are the official academic regalia colors.

*See the footnote for PhD degrees, rules regarding multiple degrees, and determining your field and chevron colors.

* In determining your academic regalia colors, please note the following: All PhD degrees (as opposed to Doctorate degrees) use "PhD Blue", which is dark blue, in the academic colors. For example, a Doctorate in Psychology would include in your academic hood colors the color Gold, however a PhD in Psychology would use dark blue. If you are unsure if your degree is a Doctorate or PhD, please contact your administrative advisor to determine your precise degree title and academic regalia hood colors.

If you have multiple degrees, the rule is that you use only one hood, and only one degree/discipline color. You use the hood and color that represents your highest ranking degree (with Doctoral as highest, Masters as second highest, Bachelors as third highest, and Associate as the lowest). If you have two different degrees at the same highest ranking degree, you generally use the most recently awarded degree as your hood.

If you have an unlisted degree, there is no official color and it is dependant on the individual college or university to determine the color to be used for your hood. Typically, the most similar degree on the official chart is chosen. For example, if your degree is in an advance computer science field, usually the school chooses Science Gold for the degree color.

The above list describes only your velvet colors. There are three additional colors that typically go into your hood. They are the shell fabric (usually black, but sometimes the color of your robe if your robe is a special color that your university uses), and the lining colors.

Hoods are lined with the official color or colors of the college or university conferring the degree. More than one color is shown by division of the field color in a variety of ways. Most schools divide the color by using a single chevron. Occasionally, a school might use more than one chevron, no chevron but instead a single field color, an equal division, a reverse chevron, a straight bar, or other methods. While Academic Apparel can make any variety of hood, please note that the online ordering system assumes a single field and a single standard chevron. For other unusual types of hoods, you will have to use our downloadable fax forms.

The official "Academic Costume Code and Academic Ceremony Guide" includes a sentence that reads as follows: "The various academic costume companies maintain complete files on the approved colors for various institutions."

Once upon a time long ago, that sentence was correct. However, that was before colleges started springing up across the nation at a rapid rate in the last 50 years or so, and before institutions started the practice of changing their hood colors depending on style or taste or the desires of the student body or economics for bulk manufacturing (sometimes even on a yearly basis).

We are the direct manufacturer of academic regalia.  This means one good thing and one bad thing (from your perspective). 

The good thing is our prices are significantly lower than your degree-granting university would charge to sell them to you, yet the quality is the same or better than what they offer.  That's because we are a relatively lean organization, independent, with over 60 years of experience, and we do not pay sales representatives, or have retail stores, or have a large advertising and marketing budget.

The bad thing is we cannot keep up with the changes each university makes to their regalia each year, and therefore require that our customers make their own inquiries to their degree-granting universities to discover what the current regalia colors are supposed to be for that school before placing an order.

We suggest you find out in advance of ordering what your school colors are, and which goes in the field and which goes in the chevron of the hood. You might also ask the following additional information: 1) whether they use 6 or 8 sides for their tam (if you are buying a tam); 2) whether they use a tam or a mortarboard for a Master's degree (if you are inquiring about a master's gown regalia set); 3) whether they use the standard black for the gown and hood shell color or if they have a special color; 4) whether they use an embroidered school emblem or symbol on the gown velvet an dif so what it looks like (these are fairly rare, but a few schools use them); 5) and if there is anything special about the regalia not covered by those questions. 

Generally the best source for this information is the University book store or student store. Someone at most bookstores has all of this information.

You should know that you have the right to purchase your gown from any manufacturer, and not just the company that has a contract with your university. By getting this information on your own and purchasing your regalia from Academic Apparel, you will be saving money, and getting a regalia set that looks at least as good as what your school offers, and often it looks and feels significantly better than the bulk manufactured chinese gowns many colleges are now selling (and ours will last longer than those gowns too).

While we would really like to help you obtain this information, and hope to some day send out surveys each year to each university asking for this data, it is beyond our abilities to do so right now. If you are willing to do the footwork to find this information out, we know you will get a superb robe, hood, and tam from us, at prices that cannot be beat.