Ceremony Attire

Commencement conveys the scholarly tradition and formal tone of an academic ceremony. As such, traditional academic regalia must be worn by all ceremony participants.

How do I purchase my cap and gown?

All degree candidates participating in Commencement are required to purchase and wear the official university regalia. Degree candidates may not borrow and wear previously-worn regalia. 

You may purchase your cap and gown online from the University Store to pick up at the TU Grad Fair or have shipped to your home address. You will also have the opportunity to order announcements and diploma frames online when purchasing regalia. The deadline for purchasing regalia is typically one month prior to the ceremonies. Prices are subject to change. Note: only candidates who are approved to graduate by the Graduation Office are authorized to purchase the approved TU regalia and participate in Commencement. 

What can I wear with my cap and gown?

All Commencement participants must strive to maintain a measure of decorum consonant with the occasion.  Degree candidates must abide by all regalia guidelines in order to participate in a Commencement ceremony.  In addition to ensuring ceremony decorum, these guidelines exist:

  • To ensure the safety of degree candidates on stairs and along routes; 
  • To ensure that ceremony participants and guests have unobstructed views

Cap or gown decorations that are motivated by animosity against a person or group because of race, color, religion, sexual orientation, gender, disability, national origin, or homelessness, or which infringe on the rights and freedom of others will not be tolerated. Examples include: profanity, symbols for or references to alcohol or controlled substances, and hate speech.

 what is permitted?

Honor Cords

Braided cords are intended to recognize approved academic honor societies and military service.  Degree candidaties should refer to the list of organizations approved to distribute academic cords for more information.

Caps & Tassels

While the university recognizes that wearing a decorated cap during the ceremony may be an important activity for some, degree candidates who choose to wear a decorated cap during the Commencement ceremony must follow the guidelines below. 

  • Decorations may only be affixed to the flat, top area of the mortarboard.
  • Black and gold souvenir tassels, multi-colored, or adorned tassels may not be word during the ceremony. Master's and baccalaureate candidates must wear all black tassels provided with the purchase of university regalia. 
  • No modification of or decoration of the area under the mortarboard and/or skullcap is permitted (e.g. replacing skullcap with a headband.
  • Decorations may extend no more than a half inch upwards from the top of the mortarboard (i.e. the surface of the cap).
  • Decorations cannot extend beyond the border of the cap or fall below the perimeter.
  • Decorations may not adorn or impede the operation of the tassel or skullcap.
  • Decorations may not include lighted objects, electronic devices or cameras, flower crowns, leis, bows, ribbon, and tulle.

Military & Religious Attire

Members of the military may obtain approval for wearing their military dress uniform by completing the Military Attire Approval Form three weeks prior to the ceremony. Members of religious orders may wear their religious attire in place of the academic regalia.

Stoles & Gown Adornments

Degree candidates may wear a maximum of two stoles representing a personal experience or identity, a Towson University academic honor, or a university-recognized student organization. Stoles or sashes (long bands of cloth worn around the neck) may not be more than four inches wide and/or 65 inches long (32.5 inches on each side).

  • Stoles and cords are the only items degree candidates are permitted to wear during the ceremony. Flags, belts, scarves, stethescopes, corsages and floral embellishments such as leis, and ribbons may not be worn on or over the gown during the ceremony. 
  • Medals or medallions may only be worn by graduates of the Honors College (University Scholars), organizations on the approved academic cord list, and student-athletes. Medallions may not be worn by degree candidates for any other designation. 
  • Organizational pins may not exceed 1.5 square inches. A maximum of three pins representing a registered student organization or academic program may be worn. Ribbons or other items may not be attached to pins.

Wearing Your Cap & Gown


  • Master's and bachelor's candidates wear a black, mid-calf gown with the university seal embroidered on the lapel. The gown may not be altered in any way. 
  • Appropriate business or business casual attire must be worn beneath the regalia. Shorts and tennis shoes are discouraged unless needed for mobility reasons. 

Cap & tassel

  • Master's and baccalaureate candidates wear the black mortar board (cap) designated by the university. The caps are elasticized--one-size fits all.
  • The mortar board should be worn with the front point over the forehead below the front hairline, so the flat board is parallel to the floor. The cap is not worn on the back of the head with the board pointing upward.
  • Baccalaureate candidates traditionally wear the tassel on the right side of the mortar board until the President formally confers the degrees upon the graduates during the ceremony. Master's candidates wear the tassel on the left side prior to degree conferral.

degree Hood

  • Degree hoods are worn only by master's and doctoral candidates.
  • The degree level, as specified by the Academic Costume Code, determines hood dimensions. The gold and white satin lining represents Towson University colors. The velvet band color on the front of the hood signifies the degree earned.