What colour is PhD graduation gown?

In Australia, the colour of the PhD graduation gown typically depends on the university and the faculty you are graduating from, but it is typically a black stuff gown with colourful facings and sometimes colourful satin trim around the sleeves. Universities such as Deakin University, Federation University and Flinders University wear gowns of blue fabric with red facings. Charles Darwin University has a Doctoral gown that is claret coloured and faced with cream satin, with sleeves that are also lined with the same cream satin. Because of this variation, we recommend that you check with your university to confirm the exact color of the PhD gown required. Some universities may have a specific color that corresponds to the faculty or discipline, so again, it's best to contact your institution to make sure you wear the appropriate gown on graduation day.

What do you wear to a PhD graduation?

A doctoral PhD gown is usually worn together with a PhD hat (bonnet) and a PhD hood. When wearing a PhD gown, formal dress is typically worn underneath. Traditionally, this would include:

  • A white dress shirt or blouse
  • Black dress pants or skirt for women
  • Black dress shoes and socks
  • For men, a black suit jacket, blazer or formal jacket may be worn under the gown if desired. For women, a black suit jacket, cardigan, or blazer is usually worn.
  • To preserve the drape of the fabric we recommend not wearing bulky clothing under your gown

It is important to note that some universities may have a dress code for graduation ceremonies, so it is always best to check with your university for their specific guidelines on attire well in advance of your graduation.

Difference between American and Australian Doctoral gowns

American Doctoral robes are generally zippered at the front (the same as for bachelor and master’s gowns) and feature velvet facings, and usually three velvet bands on the sleeves. They tend to be made of black fabric, although some universities use their school colours. They also have shorter sleeved that feature an elastic around the cuff and they may also have embroidery on the facings of the gown. Many US universities have now done away with the hood that accompanies the gown, however, graduates are still entitled to wear a hood once the degree is conferred.

Australian PhD gowns follow the UK gowning tradition and as such often resemble a masters gown (with it’s long, closed crescent sleeves) with colourful facings running gown the front of the gown. These facings can be either made from the same fabric as the gown itself or are made from satin. Some universities, such as Edith Cowan University and Victoria University, have gowns that are closer in style to a bachelor gown but with colourful satin trim along the bottom of the sleeves.