Ordering caps, gowns and hoods

December academic regalia (caps and gowns)

Graduates must wear a cap and gown (academic regalia) for the commencement ceremony. Oak Hall is the official university vendor for caps and gowns. Caps and gowns may be purchased at the WSU Bookstore, 82. W. Warren Avenue, during Grad Expo.

Bachelor's cap and gown

The cost for the bachelor's cap and gown is $54.98 + tax.

Master's cap, gown and hood

The cost for the master's cap, gown and hood will be announced in late Septemberis $89.98 + tax.

Doctoral candidates

Doctoral degree candidates (PharmD./Aud.D./DPT/DNP) wear doctoral regalia that must be rented through the WSU Bookstore. The regalia includes doctoral black gown, doctoral hood and tam.The graduate will be able to keep the tam and tassel following the ceremony. The rental fee for doctoral regalia is $117.98 + tax. 

Ph.D./Ed.D. candidates

Ph.D. and Ed.D. degree candidates wear regalia that must be rented through the WSU Bookstore The regalia includes a custom, special academic Wayne State University gown, hood and special custom-made tam that may be kept after the ceremony. The rental fee for Ph.D./Ed.D. regalia is $184.00 + tax.

The bookstore will inform doctoral degree candidates of the due date for all rented regalia. Be sure to place orders as soon as possible to ensure a timely delivery of your regalia and to avoid additional shipping charges.

If you are unable to purchase your regalia during Grad Expo, a limited supply of caps and gowns will be available at the bookstore during normal business hours: Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.; Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; closed Sunday. The bookstore accepts cash, check, credit card and OneCard for regalia purchases/rentals.

For additional information or if you have questions regarding regalia, please contact the WSU Bookstore at 313-577-2436.

History of caps and gowns

One of the most colorful features of an academic procession is the appearance of the graduates, faculty, guests and Board of Governors in full academic costume. These caps, gowns and hoods have long histories and their patterns and colors have special significance.

The gown recalls the time when all students in centers of higher learning were members of the clergy and therefore wore garments the church considered proper.

The custom of wearing a cap comes from the Roman practice of giving slaves the right to wear a cap when they were granted their freedom. The Oxford or "mortarboard" cap worn today is thought to be a combination of the close-fitting cap worn indoors by scholars of the Middle Ages and the soft biretta worn outdoors. The tuft on the early cap has been replaced by a colored tassel that signifies the college granting the degree.

In modern universities, the distinctive mark of a degree is the hood, which in its earliest form was simply an article of clothing. Since the churches and lecture halls of European universities were cold, drafty places, scholars wore hoods as head coverings, attached to a cape or worn separately.

American universities, unlike those of England and Europe, have adopted a standard code of academic costume. The design of the gown, the color of the tassel and the pattern, length and colors of the hood have special meaning.

Each graduate wears a gown appropriate to the degree to be granted. The bachelor's gown is closed at the throat and has long, pointed sleeves. The master's gown has oblong sleeves, open at the wrist, and tapers at the back in a square cut. The doctor's gown is faced with velvet and has bell-shaped sleeves. Each sleeve carries three bars of velvet, or chevrons. Wayne State uses a specially designed green gown for its Ph.D./Ed.D. candidates.

The most colorful part of the costume is the hood. The color of the velvet trim indicates the college/school in which the degree was granted; the width corresponds to the level of the degree. At this ceremony, candidates for master's and doctoral degrees wear hoods with lining in the university colors.

Colors of tassels and college standards

Business  Drab
Education Light Blue
Engineering Orange
Fine, Performing and Communication Arts Brown
Law Purple
Liberal Arts and Sciences White
Information Sciences Yellow
Medicine Green
Nursing Apricot
Pharmacy and Health Sciences Olive
Philosophy Dark Blue
Social Work Citron