Order Apparel/Lottery

Academic apparel is required for both ceremonies (May 12-13). Students can order apparel online; see info below.  DEL students should plan to pick up their apparel from the bookstore while on campus May 10 &11.

Apparel Lottery*

Typically, the Nicholas School Student Council facilitates an apparel lottery where students in need can utilize apparel donated by spring 2017 graduates. Be on the lookout for an email from the NSOE Student Council with instructions on how you can enter the lottery for > a tassel, cap, hood, and/or gown. You must wear the full academic apparel to both the NSOE Recognition Ceremony and the University-wide Ceremony, but should not wear the hood at the baccalaureate service. The style and color of your academic apparel depend on the degree you will receive at commencement.


Click here to order your academic apparel online. The deadline for apparel orders is March 20, 2018. If you are receiving a doctoral degree and prefer to purchase doctoral apparel, please contact Patti Silver at patti.silver@duke.edu no later than Tuesday, February 27. Doctoral purchases are custom fit and orders take a minimum of 6 weeks to process.

Bachelor’s, Trinity Bachelor’s, Pratt Master’s  Doctoral  PhD All Law Degrees
Rent or Purchase Option? Purchase Only Purchase Only Purchase Only Rental or Purchase Rental or Purchase Rental or Purchase
Tam or Mortarboard? Mortarboard Mortarboard Mortarboard Velvet Tam Velvet Tam Tam
Tassel Color Black Orange Depends on Degree Depends on Degree Gold Purple
Gown Black Bachelor’s Gown Black Bachelor’s Gown Black Master’s Gown Black Doctoral Gown with Colored Velvet Trim Custom Duke Blue Black Doctoral with Purple Velvet Trim
Hood Color Depends on degree Orange Depends on Degree Depends on Degree Dark Blue Purple Trim
Cost of Complete Apparel $55 + tax $55 + tax $60 + Tax $65 + Tax for Rental $65 + Tax for Rental, Approximately $700 for Purchase $65 + Tax for Rental

Apparel Pick-up

You may pick up your apparel during the following dates and times. Please note, they will be closed on Sunday, May 6.

Apparel pickup
Bryan Center (Brown Art Gallery)
Monday, April 30 – Saturday, May 5 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Sunday, May 6 CLOSED
Monday, May 7 – Saturday, May 12 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.


Protocol and Fit


  • The graduation gown should fall midway between the knee and ankle.


  • There are different styles and colors of hoods. At the commencement ceremony, you should wear the hood that corresponds to the degree you are receiving. If you have earned both a terminal degree and a master’s degree (a Juris Doctor and a Master of Public Policy, for example) during the same semester, march wearing the gown and hood of the highest degree and drape the other hood over your left arm.

Caps, Tams, and Tassels

  • Traditionally, women wear academic caps at all times, and men remove their caps during the National Anthem and opening invocation and replace them for the conferring of degrees. There is no hard rule for the position of the tassel on a mortarboard. Several institutions have adopted the practice, during commencement exercises, of requiring candidates for degrees to wear the tassels on the right front side before degrees are conferred and to shift them to the left at the moment when degrees are awarded to them.


  • The university is happy to consider proposals for any adornment to the commencement gown that is related to academic merit. Nonacademic adornments are not approved by the university. All adornments should be in good taste and fitting for a ceremonial occasion. Please email the Office of Special Events & University Ceremonies if you have questions on what is considered appropriate.

Hood and Tassel Colors

Degree Hood and Tassel Color
Doctor of Philosophy Dark Blue
Master of Science Yellow
Master of Arts, in Teaching White
Master of Fine Arts Brown
Doctor of Medicine Green
Doctor of Physical Therapy Teal
Medicine, Master’s Programs Yellow
Law Purple
Divinity Scarlet
Nursing Apricot
Fuqua Drab
Nicholas Russet
Sanford White
Pratt Orange
Trinity, Bachelor of Arts White and Black
Trinity, Bachelor of Science Yellow and Black