Purpose and Use of an Academic Hood

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The event that most students look forward to would have to be the day of their graduation. It’s an event that universally evokes a sense of joy and happiness among the graduates themselves along with loved ones, family and friends. It’s but proper for these graduates to prepare all of the things necessary to perfectly celebrate a momentous occasion like this. Aside from being mentally ready for it, candidates need to prepare the academic regalia they will be wearing on that day. One of the steps that these need to undertake is preparing their academic hood.

The incorporation of an academic hood in the academic regalia indicates special meaning to the wearer and to the institution giving the degree to him. It’s more than just piece of apparel that is added to boost the aesthetic appeal of the regalia. It holds more purpose than this.

Description and Purpose

An academic hood is commonly used during college undergraduate and graduate commencement exercises. It is a component of the academic regalia that is placed on top of the gown, along the shoulder and around the base of the wearer’s neck. The colour of the linings represents the field of study that the wearer received a degree from. It is ideally three feet long for bachelor’s degree candidates, three and half feet long or master’s degree holders and four feet in length for doctoral degree graduates.


The use of the academic hoods can be traced back to the early medieval years in Europe. Mostly members of the clergy specifically Catholic and Anglican priests wore pieces of clothing that are very similar to the present day academic hoods. For most part, the hood like apparel was worn for distinction and identification. In addition, it kept the wearers warm and comfortable during cold days of the early medieval years.

Modern Use

As mentioned above, the academic hoods are used only during academic rites and ceremonies such as graduation ceremonies and commencement exercises. It’s already part of the tradition for many year to include the wearing it to complete the academic regalia. The wearing of such apparel has already standardized as set and established by the American Council on Education. It must be closely followed by all academic institutions such as colleges and universities.

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