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Apparel and Regalia

Commencement Traditions

The colorful attire worn by the graduates, faculty and administrators of the university has been an integral feature of American commencement pageantry since the end of the nineteenth century. The tradition of wearing the academic gowns, the mortarboard caps, tassels and hoods and the carrying of the mace originated in Europe during the Middle Ages. The gown is held to be an adaptation of the robe of the friar or priest; the hood, the monk's cowl; and the mortarboard cap recalls the skull cap. All of the regalia recalls the days when teachers needed protection against the drafts of unheated medieval classrooms.

Today's commencement exercises maintain much of the tradition and pageantry of the early times, when the occasion of commencement included debates and orations given by candidates to demonstrate their knowledge.

The Academic Regalia

The distinctive academic regalia being worn in today's ceremony denotes the wearer's institution, field of study, and degree held.

In observance of tradition, all participants in commencement ceremonies will wear full academic regalia, consisting of a traditional gown and mortarboard with tassel. All bachelor's degree candidates will wear blue gowns.  All master’s degree candidates and Doctoral candidates will wear black gowns. All candidates wear gold tassels. 

Postgraduate Candidates

Postgraduate candidates will also wear hoods lined with the appropriate color of their field of study. The hood is worn with the long point of the shell to the rear. CSUB bachelor’s degree candidates do not wear hoods.

The color of the velvet border on any hood indicates the field of study in which the candidates have taken their degree, as outlined below.

Arts, Letters and Humanities — White
Business Administration — Tan
Economics — Copper
 — Light Blue
Fine Arts - Brown
Music - Pink
Nursing - Apricot
Physical Education
 — Sage Green
Philosophy - 
Dark Blue or Black
Public Administration — 
Peacock Blue
 — Yellow Gold

Purchasing Information

Caps, gowns, tassels, hoods and stoles will be available for purchase only at CSUB Grad Fair in May 2015 (dates to be announced).

Master's and doctoral caps, gowns and hoods also will be available at Grad Fair.

For pricing information, please visit the Runner Bookstore website.