Caps and gowns (regalia) must be worn by all graduating students/candidates participating in Convocation and Commencement ceremonies.

Regalia will be distributed from the Online Order Pickup window on the 2nd floor of the bookstore, Barnes & Noble @ RIT, during store hours.  See specific dates below for your degree type.

Please bring any form of photo ID to make the process faster & easier (RIT ID preferred).



Store hours:
Monday - Friday: 9 a.m.-7 p.m.
Saturday: 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. (Except Saturday, May 9, 2020 open 9:00 a.m.-7:00 p.m.)
Sunday - 11 a.m.-5 p.m.

Download your RIT Guide to Cap & Gowns PDF (8.5x14"):

Undergraduate (certificate, associate, bachelor's) and Graduate (advanced certificate, master's) Degree Candidates

Important Dates

  • Monday, April 20, 2020: Regalia distribution begins.
  • Saturday, May 9, 2020: Regalia distribution ends at 6:30 p.m.
  • RIT's regalia is made in the USA of 100% post-consumer recycled plastic bottles.
  • There is no charge for the regalia and it is yours to keep or recycle (undergraduate and master's level students only).  Your gown (but not the cap or hood) can be recycled at any Goodbye, Goodbuy! dropoff location on campus.
  • You do not need to place an order or be measured.  Gowns will be available for you to try on at the store. You can also check out the size chart.
  • If you cannot pick up your regalia, a friend or relative may do so for you -- be sure that person knows your:
    • First and Last Name
    • Height
    • Approximate weight
    • College(s) you are graduating from (i.e. CET, CLA, GCCIS, etc.)
    • If you are participating in all of your college ceremonies (for those graduating from more than one college).
    • If you are not participating in all of your college ceremonies, please let a member of the bookstore's regalia team know which ceremony you will be participating in (so they can better inform the colleges on how many chairs they will need for their respective ceremonies).
    • Type of degree you are receiving (i.e. associate, bachelor's, or master's)
    • Associate/Certificate/Bachelor's recipients ONLY*:
      • If you are graduating with academic honors (based on your cumulative GPA at the end of fall semester in accordance with University policy, you will receive 2 cords tied together with your gown:
        • Cum laude: 3.40 - 3.59
        • Magna cum laude: 3.60 - 3.79
        • Summa cum laude: 3.80 +
      • Note: this is different from being in the RIT Honors Program
      • Study Abroad, Honors Program and other RIT organizations and departments provide or sell stoles, cords, sashes, etc. to their participants. These items are not available at the bookstore. 
      • *Students/candidates graduating with only a graduate level degree do not receive honor cords per Policy D05.1 Academic  Actions & Recognitions. However, if you are also eligible to walk for an undergraduate level degree during the same year's ceremonies as your graduate level degree AND your undergraduate GPA meets the requirements for graduating with honors, you may wear Honor Cords in addition to your graduate regalia.
  • Questions about how to wear your regalia? A bookstore staff member will be at every line up to assist graduating students. You can also watch these videos: bachelor's degree or master's.


Ph.D. Candidates ONLY

RIT has its own, university specific doctoral regalia. These are available for all eligible Ph.D. candidates to rent for their ceremonies. RIT pays for your rental, however you are responsible for any damages and/or replacement costs. An Academic Regalia Rental Agreement must be filled out and signed before your rented regalia will be released to you (or whomever you designate to pick up your regalia for you), so please plan your time accordingly.

  • Order regalia online (RIT login required). This will take you to the Faculty & Staff Academic Regalia page. Questions? Email
    • Saturday, February 15, 2020:  Cut-off date for ordering gown and tam for Academic Convocation and Commencement. Any orders placed after this date are considered Late Orders.
    • Saturday, March 7, 2020: Cut-off date for Late Orders.
      • RIT's Ph.D. regalia is a custom design and we cannot guarantee any orders placed after this date.
  • Saturday, March 8, 2020: If you are trying to rent your RIT Ph.D. gown and tam after the Late Order cut-off date (March 7), you will need to contact your advisor,
  • Monday, April 27, 2020: Regalia distribution begins from the Online Order Pickup window on the 2nd floor of the bookstore, Barnes and Noble @ RIT, during store hours.
  • Saturday, May 9, 2020: Regalia distribution ends at 6:30 p.m.
  • Wednesday, May 13, 2020: Last day to return your rented gown and tam to the bookstore - no later than 6:30 p.m. The special RIT Ph.D. hood is a gift to you from the university and is yours to keep.
  • Ph.D. candidates may keep their hood, however Ph.D. gowns and tams are on loan.
    • Options for returning your rented regalia:
      • Easiest: Return your regalia after your last ceremony at the following locations (look for the Faculty Cap & Gown Drop-off signs):
        • Gordon Field House: Return regalia to the Student Life Center (adjacent to the Field House), room 1320.
        • Gene Polisseni Center: Return regalia to the tables in the east hallway (near the SpiRIT Store, across from the concessions).
      • Alternate: If you want to have professional portraits taken in your regalia, you may also return your regalia to Barnes & Noble @ RIT, Onine Order Pickup window on the 2nd floor, any time during store hours through 6:30pm on May 13, 2020.
  • If you are unable to return your regalia in person, a friend or relative may do so for you.  However, keep in mind that you will be financially responsible for all rented regalia that is returned damaged, or not returned at all.
  • Do not iron your regalia as this will damage the velvet. We recommend using a steamer.
  • We do not ship the Ph.D. gowns and tams.
  • If you will be working in academia after graduation and will need regalia in the future, you can purchase your regalia. Please contact the bookstore's regalia team at to request information on purchasing your own regalia.
  • Questions about how to wear your regalia? A bookstore staff member will be at every line up to assist all participants. You can also watch this video for Ph.D. regalia.


Academic Dress

The colorful ceremonies of Rochester Institute of Technology’s Commencement derive from practices originating in the Middle Ages. The academic dress and the processional reflect the costume and influence of the Church when the first universities were organized in Bologna, Paris, and Oxford, and the first convocations of faculty, clergy, and students were held. Old prints and engravings reveal an astonishing similarity between academic costume worn at the early universities and the gowns, hoods, and caps worn today. Civilian dress, as well as clerical garb, has affected the development of academic costume, and in recent years colleges and universities have instituted a code governing collegiate dress in order to ensure a reasonable conformity.

Gowns and caps, or “mortarboards,” are worn by those being awarded or holding the associate and bachelor’s degrees; gowns, caps, and hoods are worn by those holding master’s and doctoral degrees. The usual color is black, and the fashion of the gown designates the degree held by the wearer: the associate and bachelor’s have long, pointed sleeves; the master’s has an oblong sleeve, open at the wrist; and the doctoral has bell-shaped sleeves. There are no trimmings for the bachelor’s or master’s gowns; the doctoral has a facing of black velvet down the front and three bars of the same material across the sleeves. The tassel on the doctoral cap may be gold, while the usual color for the associate, bachelor’s and master’s is black. 

Hoods are faced with velvet in the color of the degree to be awarded: blue-violet for architecture, orange for engineering, brown for fine arts, golden yellow for science, tan for business, and light blue for education. The color lining the hood is that of the institution granting the degree; in the case of RIT, it is brown and orange. Customarily, bachelor’s degree candidates do not wear a hood at the academic ceremonies; the holders of master’s and doctoral degrees wear hoods, and that of the doctoral is longer. Various colored cords, stoles and sashes denote student honor societies.

The dress of the university students who are candidates for the associate and bachelor’s degrees is relatively similar. Candidates for the master’s degree wear hoods with the distinguishing colors of the academic discipline pursued as trimming. The faculty dress reflects the variety of degrees held and the diversity of educational institutions from which they have received their degrees.

The Academic Mace

The academic mace symbolizes the authority of the university to award degrees. It leads processions of academic importance and typically is carried by a representative from the Academic Senate, the governance body for faculty. Ceremonial maces have been used for centuries in academic and civic processions.

Presidential Collar of Authority

The sterling silver collar of authority, representing the office of the president, was created in 1983 by the late Hans Christensen, the first Charlotte Fredericks Mowris Professor of Contemporary Crafts in the School for American Crafts, College of Imaging Arts and Sciences. Each link represents a helping hand, symbolizing all the people of have worked to benefit the university since its founding. The collar is inscribed with RIT’s motto, “The making of a living and the living of a life.”