There are several crucial principles for academic dress:
1. If you already have a Cambridge degree, you wear its gown and hood. If you have more than one Cambridge degree, you wear gown and hood of the senior degree.
2. If you do not already have a Cambridge degree, you wear:
(a) the gown to which you are presently entitled. This depends on your status:
(b) the hood of the degree being conferred. If you are receiving more than one degree, you wear the hood of the senior degree.
1. Gowns and hoods may be hired from several Cambridge suppliers (Ede and Ravenscroft, Ryder & Amies, A.E. Clothier), and collected directly from them. (Despite statements on some websites, they are not delivered to Hughes Hall.)
2. This policy is based on traditional Cambridge values. Although it is complex, you must be correctly attired, otherwise you will not be allowed to graduate. If in doubt, consult the Praelector. Unfortunately the advice given by staff in robe hire shops is not always accurate, since they are less knowledgeable about the degrees taken in the graduate colleges.
3. The policy can have consequences which seem odd but are correct, e.g. a non-Cambridge graduate receiving a PhD comes resplendent in scarlet hood, whereas a fellow-student who first took an MPhil wears the modest blue hood of the latter.
Essentially, you must wear a combination of Black and White. The rules may seem fussy, but they have their own logic, and are intended to make the day memorable for all concerned. Whatever the temperature you must be correctly attired as below, or you will not be allowed to graduate.
If you are wrongly attired the Praelector has absolute authority to withdraw you from the ceremony, and will use this power to protect the college’s reputation. It will make no difference if you and your family have flown half way across the world for the occasion: you must be properly dressed!
Click here to see examples of how you should dress.