Skip to main content
Corpus Christi College University of Cambridge

Dress Code for Graduation

If graduating in person, you must dress as follows:

  • Gown and hood: either the gown and hood of your highest existing Cambridge degree or, if not already a Cambridge graduate, a BA or MA status gown and the hood of the highest degree you are about to take.
  • Square (mortarboard) is optional
  • Conspicuous jewellery and hair accessories are not permitted

Dress Option 1:

  • A dinner jacket or black lounge suit.
  • 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 2:

  • A black skirt suit or trouser suit, or a black skirt without a jacket, or a black, long-sleeved dress.
  • 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.

Hiring Gowns and Hoods

These can be hired or bought from one of the academic outfitters around town. You're advised to make your order as early as you can as they do tend to run out of some items. Be sure also to tell the outfitter which degree you are receiving as to ensure you are given the correct hood. The following links may be useful:

Clerical, Military or National Costume

Anyone wishing to graduate in clerical, military or national costume (which is in no way discouraged) should contact the Praelector's Secretary well in advance, as special permission has to be given by the Proctors. Squares (optional) may be worn in procession to Senate House but carried inside Senate House.

Other Dress Regulations

Clerical dress (a black cassock) may be worn instead of a suit by those suitably qualified. A male graduand wearing a cassock must also wear bands. If in doubt about a particular costume, please ask the Praelector's Secretary well before the date of the Congregation.

Notes

The following are not permitted:

  • Pin-stripes
  • Heavy jewellery, coloured or pendant earrings or bracelets; facial jewellery through piercings (other than earrings) should be removed.
  • Obtrusively unconventional hair styles (for men or women)
  • Any head-dress other than a square (academic cap), except for religious reasons; the square is entirely optional, and most graduands dispense with it.
  • Sandals, slingbacks or boots, very shiny patent leather shoes, or shoes with very high heels, fancy buckles, coloured stitching or punching
  • Coloured nail varnish, bright lipstick, or heavy eye make-up
  • Handbags

Guests

Guests who are members of the University are required by Ordinance to wear the (black) gown of their highest Cambridge degree. They can carry a square but do not wear a hood.

Further information

More information is available from the University web pages on Graduation Dress.

If in doubt, Undergraduates should contact the Tutorial Office, and Postgraduates should contact the Graduate Administrator.