Caps, Gowns & Announcements

Academic regalia is required in order to participate in the commencement ceremonies. Regalia can be purchased at the UNM Bookstore (either Main Campus or Medical/Legal) and may not be altered, modified, or decorated in any way.

Bachelor's degree graduates wear red caps and gowns and master's and doctoral degree graduates wear black caps and gowns. Master's and doctoral graduates must purchase hoods as part of their academic regalia. UNM regalia descriptions may be viewed here.

Caps and gowns may or may not be required at individual convocations, so check with your school or college convocation coordinator.

The University Bookstores are the places to find essential items for graduation, including caps, gowns, hoods, announcements, and diploma frames. The Graduation Fair, with special discounts, is scheduled for Tuesday, October 18 from 10 am to 4 pm at Medical/Legal Bookstore, and Wednesday, October 19-20 from 10 am to 5 pm at the Main Campus Bookstore . These items will be available through graduation week. Purchase your cap and gown early to insure proper size.

Announcements can be ordered online at Jostens.


For further information and prices, please contact the UNM Bookstore at 277-7469.

Cap and Gown - History and Guidelines

Academic dress has its beginnings in the Middle Ages. When the English universities were taking form in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, the scholars were also clerics and adopted robes similar to those of their monastic orders. Caps were a necessity in the drafty buildings, and copes or capes with hoods attached were needed for warmth. The hood was selected by these early scholars as the article to be made distinctive for the various degrees by its color, trimming, and binding. As the universities gradually passed from the control of the ecclesiastics, regalia took on brighter hues, and even today the robes of Oxford and Cambridge remain among the most colorful of all.

The use of academic regalia in the United States has been continuous since Colonial times. The idea of a well-defined system, however, did not arise until about 1893 when an intercollegiate commission was formed which prepared a uniform code for caps, gowns and hoods designed to show not only the various degrees but the sources of the degrees as well. The commission offered its code to all institutions of higher learning and it was soon adopted.

The cap, originally round, is now a square mortarboard and is the same for all degrees. Gowns and hoods, however, are markedly different for the respective degrees. The hood not only varies in length and design for the various degrees, but the color of the velvet binding or edging of the hood indicate the degree it represents. However, the velvet binding for PhD graduates is royal blue and for EdD graduates, it is powder blue. Otherwise, the colors provided below apply.

Apricot Nursing
Blue Philosophy
Light Blue Education
Brown Fine Arts
Blue Violet Architecture
Drab Business Administration
Salmon Masters of Public Health
Green Medicine
Sage Green Physical Education
Sage Green Health
Sage Green Recreation
Sage Green Nutrition
Olive Pharmacy
Orange Engineering
Pink Music
Purple Law
White Arts, Letter, Humanities
Golden Yellow Science
Lemon Yellow Libraries
Peacock Blue Public Administration

The hood not only indicates the type of degree but is lined with the official color or colors of the university conferring the degree, this to be charged with a chevron or chevrons when the institution uses more than one color. For example, the official University of New Mexico colors are cherry and silver, so the hood is lined with silver gray with a chevron of cherry red. In the case of today's candidates for Bachelor's degrees, hoods are not worn, but the color of the cap tassel serves the same purpose in identifying the wearer's degree.

Anderson Schools of Management Dusk
Bachelor of Arts White
Bachelor of Science Gold Yellow
Bachelor of Arts or Science (Education) Light Blue
Bachelor of Science in Health & PE Sage Green
Bachelor of Arts in Recreation Sage Green
Bachelor of Fine Arts Brown
Bachelor of Music Pink
College of Nursing Apricot
College of Pharmacy Olive
School of Architecture & Planning Blue Violet
School of Engineering Orange
University Libraries and Learning Sciences Lemon Yellow
Bachelor of Science in Medical Technology Green
Bachelor of University Studies Silver
Associate Degrees Black

Candidates for master's degrees wear hoods and have black cap tassels. Doctoral degree candidates also wear their hoods and have gold cap tassels. Honors graduates are identified by a silver and cherry honor cords worn over the academic robe.