Commencement Attire

Undergraduate students who participate in the Commencement exercise MUST wear a green cap and gown.

Graduate students who participate in the Commencement exercise MUST wear a black cap and gown.

There are sizes available for all graduates. If you are receiving an honors medallion, the medallion can be picked up at the Sanford Center prior to the ceremony on May 3rd.

Purchasing Commencement Caps, Gowns and Regalia

Regalia options:

  • Ship to store – the Bookstore website will close for ship to store on March 3, 2024. Orders will be available for Bookstore pick up around April 22, 2024.
  • Ship to home – the Bookstore website will close for ship to home on April 3, 2024

Click the link above to purchase regalia.

The Bemidji State University Bookstore will open early on commencement day for the convenience of graduates still needing to pick up caps and gowns.

Master Hood Colors by Degree

  • White/Green: Arts graduate students
    • ENGM – Master of Arts in English
  • Drab/Green: Business graduate students
    • MBA – Master of Business Administration
    • MPA – Master of Professional Accounting
  • Blue/Green hood: Education graduate students
    • ENEM – Master of Science in English Education
    • MAT – Master of Arts in Teaching
    • MATM – Master of Science in Mathematics Education
    • MMAT – Master of Science in Elementary/Middle Level Mathematics Education
    • MSED – Master of Science in Education
    • MED – Master of Education
    • MSPED – Master of Special Education
    • SPED – Master of Science in Special Education
    • TCTE – Master of Science in Technology and Career Technical Education
  • Gold/Green: Science graduate students
    • BIMS – Master of Science in Biology
    • EVSS – Master of Science in Environmental Studies
    • MSIT – Master of Science in Industrial Technology
    • MSCP – Master of Science in Counseling Psychology
    • SSPE – Master of Science in Sport Studies

Commencement Group 2022

History of Academic Regalia

The academic regalia – gown, hood and hat – are adapted from the habits and gowns worn by medieval monks and priests, founders of the university and collegiate practices in Europe.


Usually black, with a few exceptions representing certain school’s colors, gowns reflect the three levels of academic degrees granted by universities and colleges.

  • Bachelor: moderately pointed sleeves.
  • Master: full-length oblong sleeves hanging down from the wrists.
  • Doctor: tailored with full, bell-shaped sleeves; three velvet bars (signifying the third level of degree) on each sleeve; and two velvet panels on either side of the front closure. The bars and panels are either black or in the color of the given degree.


The three-degree levels are represented in different hoods of increasing length. Not worn by graduating seniors, a hood is worn by faculty and staff whose terminal degree is the baccalaureate; the hood is short and hangs to about the middle of the wearer’s back. The master’s hood is moderate in length, and the doctoral hood is fuller and longer.

The colors of the external velvet panels represent the particular degree field. Colors most commonly seen at commencement exercises:

  • Arts
  • Business Administration
  • Education
  • Law
  • Philosophy
  • Science


Internal colors of the hood opened outward on the lower end, representing the institution that granted the degree. The colors for Bemidji State University are green and white.


The academic hat can be either the traditional flat-top variety, known as a mortar-board or the tam variety.

  • Mortar-boards: The mortar-boards are so named from the similarity to the top portion of the mortar-board used by a mason. At the University of Paris, teachers placed square, stiff caps on graduates to signify promotion. This type of headgear was adopted later by the masters at Oxford.
  • Tassels: The doctoral degree is represented by the gold bullion tassel on the academic hat. At Bemidji State University, all other degrees are indicated by black tassels.