Lily Lewis at Graduation 2018 by Joe Cotton

Graduation Attire

The correct academical dress to wear for Congregation is a somewhat complicated affair.

Lily Lewis at Graduation 2018 by Joe Cotton

Graduation Attire

You will hire academical dress to receive your Degree, which can be hired hired from any robemaker in Cambridge. The robemakers are normally quite helpful in helping you select the correct dress (but they do sometimes get it wrong), so we have created a flow chart to assist you. Three robe makers are listed here and there are others: you must collect your items personally, despite websites indicating that academical dress will be delivered to the College!

Cambridge Robemakers

Ryder & Amies
22 Kings Parade
Cambridge CB2 1SP
Tel: 01223 350371

Ede & Ravenscroft
71-72 Trumpington Street
Cambridge CB2 1RJ
Tel: 01223 350048

A E Clothier
Unit 5 Convent Drive
Waterbeach, Cambridge, CB25 9QT
Tel: 01223 441710

Rules for Academical Dress

A person who already holds a Degree of the University of Cambridge wears the gown and hood of the highest Degree he or she has already received from the University. Candidates for the PhD who already have an MPhil must wear the MPhil gown and blue MPhil hood.

For any person who does not already hold a Degree from Cambridge University, the following regulations apply:

  • all those proceeding to an undergraduate degree wear the undergraduate gown for graduate Colleges (it has a blue button and string on each sleeve).
  • those proceeding to a postgraduate degree (LLM, MCL, MPhil, MASt, MFin, MRes, MEd, MSt, MBA, PhD) wear an MA status gown with the hood of the Degree (or the higher of the Degrees, if taking two at the same time), which he or she is to receive.
  • a person being admitted to a Degree by Incorporation or to the MA Degree under Statute B II 2 wears the gown and hood of the Degree he or she is to receive.
  • Under no circumstances should the academical dress of another university be worn by a graduand.

Academical dress flow chart

More information on academical dress is available on Wikipedia and from the Graduate Union Gown Guide.

Medical & Veterinary Graduands

  • Vet students being admitted VetMB must wear the BA gown and hood in the Senate House, unless they already have the MA. However, when being admitted MA after graduating VetMB, the VetMB gown and hood must be worn (often the robemakers get this point wrong: do not be misled).
  • Medical students, after passing their Final MB examination have the degree of BChir automatically conferred upon them. During the calendar year following, they may supplicate (apply) to take the MB degree at any Congregation except at General Admission, but, if they do not, at the expiry of the year, the MB is automatically conferred upon them in exactly the same way as the BChir.

What to Wear

As graduation is a formal occasion, an appropriate standard of dress is expected. The dress code below is strictly enforced at ceremonies, and if you do not observe it, you may not be permitted to graduate on a particular occasion. Your Praelector or Presenter is able to offer further advice on dress.

Dress Option One

A dinner jacket or black, very dark charcoal lounge suit. These must be dark enough not to contrast obviously with a black gown.
A plain, long-sleeved, collared, white shirt.
Formal black shoes. Sandals are not permitted.
Unpatterned black or very dark grey socks.
White bow-tie and bands must be worn.

Dress Option Two

A black or very dark skirt suit or trouser suit, with or without a jacket, or a dark, long-sleeved dress. These must be dark enough not to contrast obviously with a black gown.
A plain, long-sleeved, white shirt or blouse (unless a long-sleeved dress is worn).
Formal black shoes. Sandals are not permitted.
Unpatterned black, nearly-black, or natural coloured hosiery.
A white bow-tie and bands may be worn (optional) but only with a properly collared white shirt.
A black cassock may be substituted for a dark suit, skirt or dress in either Dress One or Two, but it must be worn with either a white bow-tie and bands or a clerical collar and bands.


The square cap, or 'mortarboard', is optional for graduands at Cambridge. If you do decide to wear one on the day, you should take it off and carry it in your left hand inside the Senate-House.


Conspicuous jewellery and hair accessories are not permitted.

National Dress

The Praelector must request of the Proctors special dispensation if you wish to wear national dress. It must be of a formal nature.

If making a request, please email your request with a photograph (jpg) of the proposed costume to the Praelector.