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A complete guide to doctoral graduation

A doctoral degree is the highest academic degree that one person can achieve. Less than 2% of the world's population has a doctoral degree. There are generally 2 types of doctorates, research doctorates and professional doctorates. On average, especially on the research doctorate side, a doctoral degree can take up to 8 years to complete. Needless  to say, it is extremely difficult to obtain a doctoral degree. Every doctoral graduation deserves to be celebrated big time!

To help you best celebrate the long awaited huge achievement of your doctoral graduate, we prepared a quick but informative guide around doctoral graduation below to give you a jumpstart.

Doctoral Graduation Gown/Regalia

A doctoral gown/regalia consists of a more elaborate gown with a distinctive 3 velvet bars on each sleeve and a 5’’ velvet panel/trim down the front. A doctoral gown/regalia has bell-shaped sleeves. 

Even though most universities choose black for their doctoral gown/regalia, other universities choose a color other than black, such as crimson color etc.,  The color of velvet/panel/trim usually stands for the academic discipline. For example, navy blue or black velvet/panel/trim usually means a doctorate of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree. Other colors of the velvet panel/trim indicate other academic disciplines, such as Doctorate of Dental Medicine, Pharmacy Doctorate, or Medical or Osteopathic Doctorate.

Doctoral Graduation Cap/Tam and Hood

The velvet cap/tam is the most traditional headwear for doctoral regalia. Doctoral cap/tam is generally black velvet in 4, 6, 8 corner designs complemented with a gold metallic tassel. Other colors of the cap/tam can be navy blue or white etc., When wearing the doctoral cap/tam, make sure that the cap is level with the ground. 

Both master’s and doctoral students wear an academic hood. And the significance of wearing a hood is very much valued by both the degrees. However, they have distinctive appearances. A doctoral hood is bigger and longer than a master’s hood, signifying the highest academic degree. The hood is a symbol of pride and academic success. Therefore, both master’s and doctoral graduates should wear them properly.

During the hooding ceremony, a faculty member, usually the dean of the school, will place the doctoral hood over the doctoral graduate’s head, so that the hood lays against the front of his/her neck and drapes over the back of shoulders. Please note that to avoid wearing the hood inside out, make sure that the velvet facing of the hood is visible under the chin and lies flat over the shoulders.

Putting on a doctoral graduation gown/hood/regalia can be a little confusing. Here are two Youtube videos created by the experts teaching you how to properly wear a doctoral graduation gown/regalia.

Doctoral gown regalia 101

Regalia 101 for doctoral degree candidates

Doctoral gown regalia

How to Wear Your Cap and Gown - Doctorate

Doctoral Graduation Dress Code

Due to the formality of this occasion and safety concerns regarding walking on the steps and stage while wearing a long graduation gown, please wear appropriate shoes. Flip flops, clogs or loose fitting/ informal shoes are not recommended.

In addition, slacks and a dress shirt with tie for men, slacks with a blouse or a dress for women are usually recommended.

Doctoral Graduation Quotes

If you want to bedazzle your graduation cap, here are some fun ideas! Have fun personalizing your “achievements”.

1. From Fortune 500 CEOs to Grammy-winning performers to lauded philosophers, these quotes are to enlighten, uplift and encourage your master graduates to embark on their next exciting journey.

Graduation quote 1

Source: Woman's day


2. As you read on this list of best graduation quotes, you'll find them filled with profound wisdom and simply legit inspiration. These quotes are from celebrities, athletes, politicians, writers and more, distilled from their extraordinary life experiences. They are words to live by. 

Graduation quote 2

Source: teenvogue


Looking for best doctoral graduation gifts ideas?

Best Doctoral Graduation Gifts Ideas | For Her & For Him (In 2022)

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