Academic Regalia

Academic regalia must be collected from the offices of Graduate Women Canterbury (located on the Dovedale Campus, Wairarapa Building, Block ED15, Ilam) the day before the celebration, and returned there as soon as possible after the celebration.

Do not wear academic regalia in the rain.

On the graduation celebration day, graduates wear the hood and gown appropriate to their degree.

History of academic dress

The various types of academic dress have evolved from the daily dress worn by university students and staff in the Middle Ages, which in turn was based on the attire worn by the medieval clergy. The gown was a medieval topcoat or cloak and the hood was a headcover.

UC's gowns and hoods

The gowns for a University of Canterbury Bachelor’s and Master’s degree are the same as for the Cambridge Bachelor and Master of Arts; the gown for the Doctor of Philosophy degree is as for the Cambridge Master of Arts but with peony red detachable facings for dress occasions.

The hoods are of a standard size and shape, with a slate grey exterior except for the PhD, Bachelor of Teaching & Learning, and Bachelor of Sport Coaching. Honours and Masters degrees (for most faculties) are distinguished by having a border on the exterior (honours is 25mm wide and masters is 75mm) of the same colour as the interior of the hood. The colour of the lining of the hood is strictly controlled and indicates the wearer’s university and degree.

  • PhDs - Peony Red
  • Arts - Pink
  • Science - Ultramarine
  • Education - Brown
  • Sport Coaching - Red
  • Forestry - Chestnut
  • Social Work - Post Office Red
  • Communication Disorders - Magenta
  • Law - Ice Blue
  • Commerce - Yellow
  • Music and Fine Arts - White
  • Teaching and Learning - Gold
  • Engineering - Violet
  • Health Sciences - Emerald
  • Business Management (College of Education) - Blue

The headgear for a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree is a black trencher (mortarboard) with tassel. For all Doctors’ degrees the headgear is a black bonnet as for the University of St Andrews.

Graduation Celebration requirements

You must wear the correct academic dress when participating in a graduation celebration. This is most important. If you are not wearing academic dress you will not be allowed to join the graduation celebration. Your degree will therefore be conferred in absentia.

The graduation celebration is a formal event to mark your achievement and graduates are encouraged to dress appropriately.

Cultural associations

In recent years, Canterbury graduates have embellished their academic regalia with garments of honour from their own tradition such as a sari, kākahu/korowai or ta’ovala over their gown, and we encourage this colourful addition to the celebrations. The hood must be worn over the top of these garments.

Find out more here -

Please note for those not attending a Graduation Celebration casual regalia hire can be arranged. Please contact Graduate Women Canterbury (GWC) at this link: 

If you have an outstanding credit with GWC, you will receive an email directly from GWC wih a credit voucher code.


GWC Regalia Hire

The hiring of academic dress is a voluntary service provided by GWC who own and maintain the regalia for UC ceremonies. The proceeds are used to finance scholarships and awards to graduates and students and for charitable purposes. A fund for the purchase of further academic dress is also maintained.

Graduate Women International is a network of women graduates founded in 1921. There are over 50 countries represented with a membership of around 250,000, and consultative status with UN bodies. The purpose of Graduate Women International is to promote understanding, friendship and cooperation among women graduates; to further the development of education; to encourage research work by women graduates.

For Scholarships, Awards and Grants, Graduate Women Canterbury welcome inquiries from all women graduates. Contact us by email or call in to our rooms on the Dovedale Campus, corner of Dovedale & Solway Avenues any Tuesday between 9.30am and 2pm.