Academic dress

Academic gowns represent a tradition that originates from the Middle Ages.

At that time they were a common form of dress and were retained by the clergy when the laity adopted more modern styles. The early European universities were founded by the church; the students, being clerics, were obliged to wear the prescribed gown at all times. It is often suggested that gowns and hoods were the simplest most effective method of staying warm in the unheated stone buildings which housed medieval scholars.

Caps, originally rounded, are now square mortarboards; hoods, originally cowled, were attached to the gown and could be slipped over the head for warmth. New Zealand universities have a system of academic dress, worn by graduates to indicate their degree.

If you graduate in person, you must wear the appropriate academic dress for your qualification – ie Bachelors, Masters or Doctorate. Academic dress is ceremonial and worn over reasonably formal clothes at your graduation ceremony.

If you are receiving a diploma or certificate, and you already have a degree, you should wear the appropriate academic dress for that degree. If you are not a graduate, you should wear an undergraduate gown without a hood or mortarboard.

 Please note that you will be required to go up on stage to receive your certificate. Appropriate clothing and footwear should therefore be a consideration.

Types of academic dress

If you are attending a graduation ceremony, you are required to wear the academic dress appropriate to your qualification.

  • Bachelors: Black gown; black hood with gold lining; black mortarboard
  • Bachelors with Honours: Black gown; black hood with gold lining and gold border 5cm in width; black mortarboard
  • Masters: Black gown; gold hood with gold lining, black mortarboard
  • MPhil: Black gown; crimson hood with crimson lining; black mortarboard
  • PhD, EdD, SJD: Maroon gown; crimson hood with crimson lining; black Tudor bonnet with gold cord and tassel
  • Diploma or Certificate: Various. See Academic Dress hire for details

Academic Dress Hire

You will need to order your academic dress online in advance of your ceremony. You'll be able to collect your regalia from 8.30am on the day of your ceremony, from the Tauranga CBD campus, and you'll need to return it by the end of the day.

Order your academic dress online at

Phone: +64 7 858-5628

Academic Dress Hire
Waikato Graduate Women Charitable Trust
534 Anglesea Street
Hamilton, New Zealand

Opening hours: Mon-Fri between 9am-12pm.