The academic costume is a traditional black cap and gown. It is required for your participation in the commencement ceremony. Caps are worn with a colored tassel indicating the degree being awarded. Master’s candidates will also receive a hood, with the color indicating field of study.


Bachelor's and Master's

Bachelor's and master's regalia may be purchased from the WMU Bookstore shops during regular business hours up to the day of commencement. Regalia can also be ordered in advance and picked up in the WMU Bookstore or mailed to your address. In order to ensure on-time delivery for commencement, orders must be received the Friday before the week of commencement.

Bachelor's Regalia

Master's Regalia


To order regalia, please complete the online order form. Doctoral candidate gowns will be available for pickup:

  • April 23 - 26: WMU Bookstore Shops—Textbook Alley location.
  • April 27 until noon:  WMU Bookstore Shop—Textbook Alley location.
  • April 28:  York Arena Theatre

Regalia is returned to the York Arena Theatre.


If you own your own regalia there is no need to RSVP; simply arrive at the York Arena Theatre at least 45 minutes before your college commencement time.

If you require regalia, please complete the online order form. Faculty gowns will be available for pickup an hour before the first ceremony in the York Arena Theatre. Regalia is distributed and returned to the York Arena Theatre.

Commencement is not only an exciting time for the students but also for the faculty as they have the privilege of joining in celebrating their students' achievements. Your participation in commencement is appreciated and does not go unnoticed.

Degree designation

Bachelor’s degree

DegreeColor nameSwatch
Arts White  
Business administration Sapphire blue  
Engineering Orange  
Fine arts Brown  
Music Pink  
Nursing Apricot  
Science Golden yellow  
Social work Citron  

Master’s degree

DegreeColor nameSwatch
Arts and development administration White  
Business administration and accountancy Sapphire blue  
Engineering Orange  
Fine arts Brown  
Medicine Green  
Music Pink  
Nursing Apricot  
Public administration Peacock blue  
Science Golden yellow  
Social work Citron  

Doctoral and specialist degree

DegreeColor nameSwatch
Audiology (doctoral) Gray  
Education (doctoral) Light blue  
Education (specialist) Light blue  
Philosophy Dark blue  
Public administration Peacock blue  

Regalia history

The use of academic dress stems from costumes worn in universities in the 14th and 15th centuries, particularly at Cambridge and Oxford in England. Since colonial times, it has been worn in the United States and was standardized by an Intercollegiate Code in 1895.


The major distinguishing characteristics of the gowns are the sleeves, styled in the following fashions.

  • Bachelor, long pointed
  • Master, oblong
  • Doctor and specialist, bell-shaped

The doctor’s gown has a velvet collar, facing and three bars on the sleeves. The specialist’s gown differs from a doctor’s in that it has no sleeve bars.

Masters, specialists, and doctors wear hoods lined with the official colors of the university from which the degree is granted. They vary in size and shape to indicate the several degrees. The doctor’s hood is the largest and most lavishly decorated. The color of the velvet that circles the opening of the hood shows the degree earned: light blue for doctor of education, dark blue for doctor of philosophy and peacock blue for doctor of public administration.

Caps and tassels

Caps are mortarboards with the tassel worn over the left front quadrant. The tassel’s color indicates the academic program area.