Academic Regalia

Academic Regalia

This is an academic ceremony, and as such, academic regalia is required to participate in the procession. Only those students in full academic regalia will be permitted to process in the ceremony. The only exception are those graduates in military uniforms.

A Brief History of Academic Dress

Academic dress dates back to the 12th and 13th centuries, when universities were taking form. The ordinary dress of the scholar, whether student or teacher, was the dress of a cleric. With few exceptions, the medieval scholar had taken at least minor orders, made certain vows, and perhaps been tonsured. Long gowns were worn, and may have been necessary for warmth in unheated buildings. Hoods seem to have served to cover the tonsured head until superseded for that purpose by the skull cap.

A statute of the University of Coimbra in 1321 required that all ”doctors, licentiates, and bachelors” wear gowns. In England, in the second half of the 14th century, the statutes of certain colleges forbade ”excess in apparel” and prescribed the wearing of a long gown. In the days of Henry VIII of England, Oxford and Cambridge first began prescribing definite academic dress, and made it a matter of university control.

The assignment of colors to signify certain faculties was to be a much later development, and one which was to be standardized only in the United States in the late 19th century.

University of Pittsburgh Regalia Colors

Discipline Color  
Arts White
Fine Arts Dark Brown
Sciences Yellow
Philosophy Dark Blue
Engineering Orange
Business Drab
Education Light Blue
Law Purple
Social Work Citron
Public Affairs Peacock Blue
Medicine Green
Dentistry Lilac
Pharmacy Olive Green
Nursing Apricot
Public Health Salmon
Rehabilitation Teal