Why Do Master’s Robes Have Long Sleeves?

In the academic world, there are so many milestones that you can challenge yourself into attaining. At the successful completion of each and every milestone, a graduation ceremony is organized to celebrate you and your peers.

Master’s robes are easily identified because of the obvious difference in design. One striking difference that sets the master’s robe apart from the bachelor’s degree graduation gown is the presence of long sleeves; full-length sleeves that goes through the length of the robe. So, it is safe to say that these sleeves are made long so as to differentiate them from other academic robes.

Differences between a bachelor’s degree graduation robe and a master’s degree robe

As earlier said, there are a lot of milestones to be crossed in the academic world. Attaining these milestones is a gradual process as you must first accomplish one before venturing into another. 

In this vein, you, first of all, have to successfully wrap up your bachelor’s degree program before attempting to go for your master’s.

The graduation robes of the bachelor’s and master’s are quite similar but, there exist some striking features that distinguish one from the other.

Even though both are usually black in color, the difference can be spotted in the color of the tassel and of course, the sleeves. Find below the few subtle differences between both of them:

A bachelor’s degree graduation gown spots a red tassel on the cap while the master’s tassel is black.

The bachelor’s degree graduation gown comes with a bell sleeve while that of the master’s has long, oblong-looking, squarely shaped sleeves.

These sleeves are closed with an arc, however, the opening through which you can put your hands through can be spotted midway down the sleeve.

The graduation gown of bachelor’s degree holders has no hood that, that of master’s do although, the hood color might differ depending on the institution or area of study.

The full regalia of the master’s graduation robe

The full regalia of the master’s graduation gown comprise the academic hood, then we have what is known as the ‘stole’, the mortar board or basically put; graduation hat, and the graduation robe itself.

Academic hood

Like the name implies, it is just like the hoodies we see around today. It stays over your shoulders and falls down your back.


This refers to the graduation cap. These caps have a tassel on them, for master’s graduating students, the tassels are colored black.

Graduation stole

Like the hoods, they are a long thin fabric also worn over your shoulders, once in place, the length of the color drapes down to rest at both sides of your chest.

Are the colors of graduation gowns one and the same?

When it comes to academic gowns, the style, and color might vary from one educational institution to another or from one area of study to another.

This is to say that, each educational institute has a particular color that is peculiar to them. This makes it easy to identify where an individual studied and the educational achievement obtained.

Therefore, you might see these graduation gowns produced in a particular color in one school and a different color in another.

DIY – How to wear an academic hood

Wearing every component of your academic ensemble the right way is very important. The aim is to appear as radiant as you feel inside. If you want to come out looking sharp and neat, make sure you have every item worn as it should be. 

The hood is one item most people have a lot of difficulty wearing but, with the following easy tips, you will be able to wear it yourself, seamlessly.

Step 1

The opening of the hood is usually shaped like the alphabet ‘V’ and has a buttonhole at the end.  To begin, all you have to do is to hold it flat in front of you.

Step 2

Open the hood in such a way that the interior becomes visible. Next, have the V shape turned to point downwards. What you will see next is the opening that would be worn around your neck.

Step 3

Now that you have your opening, and you know where exactly it should rest on – your neck, go ahead and have it placed there. Remember to wear it in such a way that the V shape stays pointing downwards.

Step 4

Once worn, have the V shape drawn down your chest.

Step 5

At the completion of the previous stage, your hood is already in place. What you have to do now is to attach the button loop to your cloth.

If you are wearing a shirt or gown with buttons, you can easily connect a button to the loop on the hood. Alternatively, you can make use of a safety pin to keep it in place.

If you are to use a safety pin, there is a need to take extra care lest you damage your clothing with the needle.  If the fixing seems obvious, you can use a broach to have it covered, for the men; a tie will cover it well enough.

Step 6

Now, with the help of a mirror, check out the back to see if it is resting as it should.  Remember to see that the color in the interior of the hood shows.

You can do this by inverting inwards even before wearing it over your neck. Take note not to inwardly invert it totally but, just a little so some of the colors in the interior show.

Step 7

You should know though that academic hoods are not the most comfortable of things to wear. You might need to keep adjusting it every now and then as it keeps shifting away from its natural position. 

Therefore, just before ascending the stage or as you are posing for pictures, ensure to do one more sweep across the attire to see if everything is sitting where it should and make quick adjustments where necessary.

The Significance of the Master’s hood

During the course of the master’s graduation ceremony, there is a special segment called the hooding ceremony. 

The hooding ceremony is done to specially recognize individuals who have undergone and successfully completed their master’s or doctorate degree as it is no easy feat.

This recognition process sees a member of the faculty fix the hood over the head of the recipient signifying their grand achievement of completing the educational program.


What is the difference between a doctorate hood and a master’s hood?

The difference lies in the length and material used. The hoods worn by people graduating from a doctorate program are way much longer plus, they spot a velvet edge and when worn, more of the silk lining is revealed.

What is a stole?

Graduation stole forms part of the items worn alongside the graduation gown. If not present, you cannot say you are wearing complete regalia.

The stole is in the form of a long, thin scarf, draped along the neck and made to fall down on both sides of the chest down to the level of your waist.

These stoles are usually made with good-quality satin materials and they add a bit of glitz to the overall uniform. If your institution allows customization of the stole, you can go ahead and have yours customized whichever way you want.

You can put an inscription that reads the name of your academic institution or field of study or, it could simply be one cool popular slogan that people in your area of study are identified by.

There is also what we call a ‘Stole of gratitude.”  These stoles are worn just like the normal ones but, towards the end of the graduation ceremony, the wearer presents them in gratitude to someone whose impact he considers important.

These are people the graduating student acknowledges as part of his educational success story. The stole of gratitude is usually a very emotional moment for both the giver and the recipient. 

What do the three stripes on a graduation gown mean?

Any graduation gown bearing three stripes is a doctorate degree graduation gown. This is one of the key features used to distinguish the doctorate degree graduation gown from every other one.  It is also possible to find the color of the gown change from one field of study to another.


The long sleeve of the master’s degree graduation robe is simply put; a signature or identification mark. When you see an individual in a graduating robe with long sleeves, you immediately know without having to clarify from anyone, the particular educational achievement they are celebrating.

These sleeves have been touched and retouched over the years with different adjustments made to the opening area but, its length remains the same. 

The discussions above will make you easily distinguish between a bachelor’s degree robe from a master’s and doctorate degree robe.

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