Caps & Gowns

All graduates must wear a cap and gown to participate in the ceremony. Ensure your academic regalia reflects your intended degree by reserving through the University Book Store.

How do I order a cap and gown?

For Spring 2024 Commencement, orders can be placed through the University Book Store starting on February 1 until March 31 for an early Badger pricing. After March 31, you can place your order up until the day of commencement.

Reserve your cap and gown

Regalia Scholarship

The scholarship deadline closed April 1. If you have questions or concerns please email

View from above of showing group of graduates seated wearing red and black academic attire.
Small group of graduates standing side-by-side looking onstage.

Where do I pick up and return my cap and gown?

Cap and gown rentals can be picked up at the University Book Store (711 State Street). Academic attire (cap and gown) is required to participate in the ceremony.

Academic attire returns may be done during regular store hours at any University Book Store location. All returns must be completed by 7 p.m. Thursday, May 16.

Questions about cap and gown rental should be directed to the University Book Store at 608-257-3784, extension 5924.

Learn more about the UW’s academic attire

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Caps and tassels

Candidates for the bachelor’s degree wear black mortarboard caps with tassels of their course color (see Academic Colors below). Candidates for first degrees wear the tassel on the right side of the cap until the degree has been conferred. All Master degree candidates wear black mortarboard caps with a black tassel on the left side. Candidates for all Doctoral degrees wear an 8-sided black tam with a gold tassel on the left side.


Gowns represent the three principal levels of academic achievement. The bachelor’s gown, symbolizing the first degree, is made of black material and has a closed front and long, pointed, open sleeves. Master’s candidates wear a black gown with a closed front and long, closed sleeves. The gown worn by doctoral candidates has an open front with bell-shaped sleeves. Doctoral gowns are further embellished with velvet trim in the form of crossbars on the sleeves. In spring 2017, the gown designs were updated to include the University of Wisconsin-Madison colors and crest logo, providing both a pop of red among the traditional sea of black and an additional display of UW spirit that’s recognizable to all. Marshals wear cardinal gowns with white bars.

Honors and distinctive scholastic achievement

Bachelor’s candidates graduating with honors or distinctive scholastic achievement wear stoles, which are worn over the fronts of their gowns. Bachelor’s candidates from an honors program wear white stoles with three cardinal bars. Candidates that have distinguished themselves scholastically by ranking in the top 20% of their school or college wear solid cardinal red stoles.

Deans’ offices will notify students who are selected for Distinctive Scholastic Achievement and Honors. Stoles may be obtained at the University Book Store. Candidates will receive an indication of their achievement with a symbol next to their name in the commencement program.


The hood, which has a velvet edging whose color is determined by the degree to be conferred (see Academic Colors below) and a lining in the color or colors of the institution (cardinal at Wisconsin), hangs to the back from the neck. A cord on the hood is fastened to a button on the front of the candidate’s clothing. To avoid wearing the hood inside out, make sure that the velvet facing of the hood is visible under the chin and lies flat over the shoulders.

The bachelor’s hood is rather short with a narrow velvet edging and is worn only by candidates who previously received the baccalaureate degree. The master’s hood is considerably longer, has a wider velvet edging, and exposes more of the lining. The doctor’s hood has a still wider velvet edging, wide panels at either side, greater length, and a fully exposed lining. There is no hooding ceremony; candidates wear the hood throughout the commencement ceremony.

Academic colors

Undergraduate tassel colors

College of Letters and Science

  • Bachelor of Science: Lemon
  • Bachelor of Arts: White
  • Journalism: Cardinal
  • Music: Pink
  • Landscape Architecture: Blue/Violet
  • Social Welfare: Citron
  • Social Work: Citron

College of Engineering

  • Orange

College of Agricultural and Life Sciences

  • Maize

School of Education

  • Art: Brown
  • Art Education: Brown
  • Dance: Sage Green
  • Education: Light Blue
  • Educational Studies: Light Blue
  • Fine Arts: Brown
  • Health Promotion & Health Equity: Light Blue
  • Kinesiology: Sage Green
  • Physical Education: Sage Green
  • Rehabilitation Psychology: Light Blue
  • Special Education: Light Blue

School of Business

  • Yale

School of Pharmacy

  • Olive Green

School of Nursing

  • Apricot

School of Human Ecology

  • Maroon

School of Medicine and Public Health

  • Forest Green

Graduate and professional hoods

  • Doctor of Audiology: Sage Green
  • Doctor of Juridical Science: Purple
  • Juris Doctor: Purple
  • Doctor of Medicine: Kelly Green
  • Doctor of Musical Arts: Pink
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice: Apricot
  • Doctor of Occupational Therapy: Sage Green
  • Doctor of Pharmacy: Olive Green
  • Doctor of Philosophy: Blue
  • Doctor of Physical Therapy: Sage Green
  • Doctor of Veterinary Medicine: Gray
  • Master of Fine Arts: Brown
  • Educational Specialist: Sage Green
  • Master of Accountancy: Yale
  • Master of Arts: White
  • Master of Business Administration: Yale
  • Master of Engineering: Orange
  • Master of Genetic Counselor Studies: Kelly Green
  • Master of International Public Affairs: Teal
  • Master of Laws: Purple
  • Master of Medicine: Kelly Green
  • Master of Music: Pink
  • Master of Physicians Assistant: Kelly Green
  • Master of Professional French Studies: White
  • Master of Public Affairs: Teal
  • Master of Public Health: Salmon
  • Master of Social Work: Citron
  • Master of Science (any discipline unless noted): Golden
  • Master of Science Business: Yale
  • Master of Science Comparative Biomedical Sciences: Golden
  • Master of Science Education: Golden
  • Master of Science Medicine (Biotechnology): Golden
  • Master of Science Medical Physics: Golden
  • Master of Science Pharmacy: Golden
  • Master of Science Pharmaceutical Science: Golden