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Gowns and Hoods

Academic dress — also known as academic costume or regalia — are the distinctive gowns and hoods worn by all participants (including faculty members and university officials who sit onstage) during a Convocation ceremony.

The tradition of graduates wearing gowns and hoods dates back to the 12th and 13th centuries. This tradition continues today at Dalhousie University to signify a graduate’s academic accomplishment.

Potential graduates attending Convocation must wear the academic dress appropriate for the degree they will receive during the ceremony. The combination of gown, hood and/or mortarboard/birretum indicates the potential graduate’s field of study.

  • Diplomas - black gown and stole
  • Bachelor’s degree - black gown and hood
  • Master’s degree - black gown, hood and mortarboard
  • PhD recipients - PhD gown, hood and birretum

Indigenous students are welcome to wear traditional dress in a manner that celebrates their heritage with or instead of the gown. In those instances, potential graduates must still wear their ceremonial hood.  

Please consult the Gowns Room Hours for information specific to your convocation ceremony.

Graduate Recognition by Elders

The Elders in Residence will be present on stage during Convocation to show their support and pride in the accomplishment of Indigenous graduates. The Elders will gift each Indigenous graduate with a traditional medicine pouch hand made by the Elders themselves. If you would like to be recognized by the Elders, please identify yourself so we may celebrate your accomplishment by contacting Christina.coakley@dal.ca

Graduate Recognition by Black Student Advising Centre

The Black Student Advising Centre celebrates the achievements of all graduating black students of African descent and is pleased to announce that Kente sashes will be available at the Centre for graduates to borrow and wear during their ceremonies. Contact the Black Student Advising Centre at bsac2@dal.ca or 494-6648 to borrow a sash.