Meaning and History of Academic Regalia

Academic regalia has its origins in the early universities of medieval Europe. Graduates often dressed in modified ecclesiastical attire, which consisted of the mortarboard, the hood, and the robe. Today, American colleges and universities use similar attire; however, the length of the gown, the color of the tassel, and the color of the outer binding of hood will vary according to the degree conferred, the field of study, and the colors of the university. For more on this history, visit the ACE website.

Ordering Regalia

Regalia is required for participation in the Doctoral Hooding Ceremony. If you do not have your own regalia (cap, gown, tassel, and hood) you should arrange to purchase, rent or borrow the items you need.

  • Student participants from the Lawrence campus can purchase their regalia at the KU Bookstore in the Kansas Union. Order no later than March 27, as delivery takes approximately five weeks.
  • Student participants from the Medical Center should work with the KUMC Bookstore (913-588-2548).
  • Faculty hooders and faculty participants who don't already own regalia, can rent from the KU Bookstore or purchase from Jostens. The deadline for renting faculty regalia is March 27.

KU Lawrence/Edwards students and faculty should contact the KU Bookstore at or 785-864-4639 with any questions about regalia.  

Grad Fair

The KU Bookstore is hosting a Grad Fair on March 20 & 21 in the Kansas Union Ballroom from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day. Students can purchase all of the items they will need for the ceremony. 

Veterans Honor Cords

The Veteran's Honor Cord is a red, white and blue cord worn on top of regalia. The cores are available to honorably discharged veterans and those currently serving in the United States military who are graduating from KU with a 3.0 GPA or higher. To receive a Veteran's Honor Cord, indicate your veteran or active duty status on the Hooding Registration Form, or contact Graduate Military Programs. For more information about Veteran's Honor Cords, visit the Military-Affiliated Student Center website.

Hooding Process & Instructions

Ceremony participants and faculty hooders — Be ready for the big moment! Watch this video demonstration of the hooding ceremony and instructions.